Recent critics of Barack Obama’s foreign policy have called him to task for lacking a “Grand Strategy.” In a similar vein, Hillary Clinton argues that “‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not a strategy,” while Henry Kissinger’s recent work places the need for strategic vision in a historical context stretching back to the Congress of Vienna.
As the study of Grand Strategy expands beyond traditional assessments of the ends and means of (military) power, we propose to consolidate the state of the field and propel it in new directions through our conference, public forums, and resulting book. The over-arching idea for the volume and project is to have recognized scholars in the field writing on their particular areas of expertise, regardless of commitments for or against “grand strategy” as an organizing concept. We hope to encourage contrasting analyses to spark off of each other as we delve into the historical record to discuss, debate, and rethink the historical development of grand strategy as it has affected the U.S. role in the world.
Conference papers and discussions will take up the topics that Kissinger’s more traditional analysis leaves out, namely: the relationship of authority to legitimacy, the role of human rights, issues relating to women and gender, the importance of transnational actors and ideas, and the domestic and international politics of justice.
The major keynote address of the conference will be a talk on Friday May 13th at 7pm in the Memorial Union, Horizon Room by Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard historian Fredrik Logevall (pictured left). Television and/or radio coverage is likely for this event.
Overall, the participants in the Conference aim to intervene in and to help to construct an historically rich account of how Grand Strategy has developed and operated in American history. It is a project that we believe will help to establish the state of the field, make a significant scholarly intervention, and promote vigorous discussion and debate. The conference, panels, and resulting book is not only likely to make significant inroads in the fields of history and political science but also in public square humanities conversations about the U.S. role in the world, and could become a key educational resource for college level classes on the topic.
Contemporary ideas about the sources and mechanisms of power need to be reconsidered with the lessons of history in mind, particularly the relationship between domestic and international security. This is the very essence of OSU's land grant mission and represents the very best aspirations of the public humanities.
Learn more on the Conference Website!