School of Public Policy Seminar Series on America's Role in a Perilous World
Monday, November 13, 2023
Noon - 1:00 PM
Lessons from the Classics for a Perilous World
The School of Public Policy is honored to host Jakub Grygiel, professor of politics at The Catholic University of America for a lunchtime discussion on his book Classics and Strategy.
Classic texts, whether by Roman historians such as Tacitus or Greek tragedians such as Aeschylus or Florentine diplomats such as Francesco Guicciardini, give us important, and even unusual, insights into strategy. They certainly do not supply a ready-made strategy that could be applied to a specific security problem we face now. But they can open for us new or forgotten ways of thinking about threats and the competitive security environment, offering a perspective that is missing in modern intellectual and educational circles. Free of technical jargon and without abstractions, classics favor simplicity over simplification, privilege practical insights over abstraction, and elevate the role of individuals over impersonal trends and institutions. Finally, they describe the motivations and the drivers behind men's actions, the core of any strategy.
Grygiel’s book brings back some of these classic writers, examining their thoughts on strategy and politics.
This in-person event will be led by Professor Kiron Skinner and Professor Robert Kaufman.
This event qualifies for 1 Professional Development Credit for SPP students.
Jakub Grygiel is a professor of politics at The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC), a senior advisor at The Marathon Initiative, and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. In 2017-2018 he was a senior advisor in the Office of Policy Planning at the Department of State. Previously, he was the George H. W. Bush associate professor at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC and a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis. He is the author of Classics and Strategy (The Marathon Initiative, 2022), Return of the Barbarians (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Great Powers and Geopolitical Change (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), and co-author with Wess Mitchell of The Unquiet Frontier (Princeton University Press, 2016).
His writings have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, National Interest, Claremont Review of Books, Orbis, Commentary, Parameters, as well as several US and foreign newspapers. He earned a Ph.D., M.A. and an MPA from Princeton University, and a BSFS Summa Cum Laude from Georgetown University.