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.

Each July, the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin convenes a weeklong seminar for doctoral students focused on the connections between statecraft and history. Several 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?

The Clements Center invites applications to participate in this program, which will take place in the beautiful Rocky Mountains at the Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Applicants should be advanced doctoral students in history, political science, or related fields interested in careers in either academia or policymaking. 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.

For a recap of Summer Seminar 2018, please read our website post here.

Summer Seminar 2019 program dates: Sunday, July 14 - Friday, July 19

If you have any questions, please contact Program Manager Elizabeth Doughtie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Note: This program is open to non-UT students only.

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