The Dialogue of Disciplines
Edited by Michael Harvey and Ronald E. Riggio
Michael A. Genovese and Lawrence A. Tritle The study of leadership is as old as the study of politics and history. It crosses and covers most academic disciplines. That our academic disciplines have become so balkanized into narrowly self-defined fields makes both the integration of knowledge and the study of leadership difficult. Seemingly only a true renaissance person could master the breadth and scope of so inclusive a field, which explains the present joint effort of this essay: the task of understanding leadership involves a multidisciplinary endeavor in which concepts and historical and political figures are examined from several or more perspectives at once. We hope to contribute but one element to this grand puzzle by examining what the study of the Classics might contribute to the understanding of leadership broadly defined. We approach our topic from the academic disciplines of political science and history/Classics. We have team-taught a course on Leadership and Ethics: Ancient and Modern, as part of a grant from the Keck Foundation and have approached the subject of leadership from the perspective briefly noted above. By “Classics” we mean the study of the cultures and politics of ancient Greece and Rome (a Eurocentric view, perhaps, but one that taps into the core of what has become known as Western civilization). By “leadership” we mean the art and science of directing and mobilizing group efforts to achieve mutually desired goals. Thus, our question is: what can the study of the Classics contribute to our understanding of leadership...
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