Teaching Leadership In/With Ancient Greece and Rome–Looking for Comment and Collaboration

“Men rise up against no one more readily than those they believe are trying to rule them. When we reflected on these facts, we began to conclude that for a human, because of his nature, it is easier to rule all the other animals than [to rule] other people.”

ἄνθρωποι δὲ ἐπ’ οὐδένας μᾶλλον συνίστανται ἢ ἐπὶ τούτους οὓς ἂν αἴσθωνται ἄρχειν αὑτῶν ἐπιχειροῦντας. ὅτε μὲν δὴ ταῦτα ἐνεθυμούμεθα, οὕτως ἐγιγνώσκομεν περὶ αὐτῶν, ὡς ἀνθρώπῳ πεφυκότι πάντων τῶν ἄλλων ῥᾷον εἴη ζῴων ἢ ἀνθρώπων ἄρχειν

-Xenophon, Cyropaedia 1.3

Who Leads the Collective Charge?
Who Leads the Collective Charge?

A year ago, I participated in teaching a course using texts from the ancient world to think about leadership with a former student (Eli Embleton) who had developed a syllabus on the topic as part of his senior thesis before starting a MBA program. The course went well, so we decided to try to write it up in article form (it is coming out this Spring in The Classical Journal, but a draft is available online).

Along the way, we were inspired in part by the work of Norman Sandridge on Xenophon and Leadership.  Norman has been running some pretty amazing courses on Leadership in the Ancient World for some time at Howard University. Near the end of running the course, we got in touch with Norman and, before we knew it, our common interest had become a common cause—developing ideas about teaching leadership in and through the ancient world further.

We are running a round table discussion at this year’s SCS/AIA annual meeting in San Francisco with the following goals:

This discussion will focus on the development of materials and multiform syllabi on leadership in the ancient world, a course similar in scope to introductory courses in myth, etymology, or sex and gender. Participants would provide perspectives on all aspects of syllabus-creation, including: pitching the course to students, departments, and administrators; guiding questions and subjects; effective assignments and assessments; and curricula-integration. Though focused on course-creation, the discussion may also address how the humanities already trains leaders and how we can do this more effectively. We hope to use this opportunity to develop a network of collaborators for future projects.

We are also running a collaborative course on Leadership in the Ancient World through Synoikisis in the Fall of 2016. We are excited to hear more ideas and concerns about developing and offering similar courses; we are even more psyched to find people who want to help design and create material for the cooperative Synoikisis course.

So, check out the article on the course, take a glance at Norman’s syllabus, and consider dropping in during the discussion in San Francisco or asking to hear more about the course next fall.

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