Summer Seminar in History and Statecraft

Policymakers frequently attempt to draw on historical knowledge to gain perspective on contemporary national security issues. Meanwhile, historians and other scholars frequently comment on present-day decision-making problems and sometimes aspire to influence policy debates. Yet policymakers and scholars generally occupy separate intellectual and institutional universes. Especially in recent years, they have had little to say to one another. The result, arguably, has been the impoverishment of both communities.

2024 Summer Seminar Dates: July 14 - 19

Application Deadline: February 19, 2024


Each July, the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin convenes a weeklong seminar for current doctoral students focused on the connections between statecraft and history. The seminar will feature in-depth discussions with top scholars and senior policymakers and intelligence officials, as well as sessions devoted to academic publishing and strategies for approaching the academic and policy job markets. Each day will also have recreational time for participants to enjoy the mountain surroundings.


Sessions will examine the ways in which policymakers have used or misused historical knowledge in the past, and how different scholarly disciplines approach history. Sessions will also ask how policymakers should use history and what methods might be available for refining the use of the past in decision-making. The seminar will also examine the problem from the other direction, examining how scholars might be more productive and influential voices in deliberations on foreign and defense policy. When have historians and other social scientists played a useful role in the past? What insights might be drawn from those cases?


Applicants should be advanced doctoral students in history, political science, or related fields interested in careers in either academia or policymaking. Students are required to submit a Curriculum Vitae, a 500 word statement explaining how the seminar relates to your academic pursuits and career ambitions, and the contact information for three references. This program is open to non-UT students only. The Clements Center will cover all travel and related expenses for participants.

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Doughtie at [email protected].