Yale for Life programs are more than classroom sessions, but the classes are certainly at their heart.  Read about our 2016 courses, with Yale’s top faculty, intriguing topics, innovative approaches, supremely curated reading, and more, below.  Click through the short descriptions to see the full course pages.  Then, from our menus above, learn more about our faculty – lead and guest professors; see some of the readings they have selected, and then visit “The Best of Yale” to learn about the special events.  See “Community” to see how the courses continue past their week’s end.

World Order and the Meaning of History

June 4-10, 2017

Professors: Charles Hill and Norma Thompson

Is the modern world order permanent, or in question?  Is the state still the basic unit of international affairs, or are empires coming back? What are the prospects for the historical categories of war, revolution, diplomacy, and peace? What will become of “statecraft” in the 21st century?

Yale for Life now harnesses the strengths of two of Yale’s great programs: Directed Studies, and Grand Strategies, to seek in foundational texts, artworks, and more, the tools to understand statesmanship, the relationships among political entities, and – ultimately – what history itself means.  The legendary Charles Hill will be joined by Yale Humanities Director of Undergraduate Studies, Norma Thompson, as our guides – but also as our fellow questioners, for this is an innovative course that will break new ground.  You can be part of it!  Click here for much more…

The Enlightenment and Its Critics

June 18-24, 2017

Professors: Steven Smith and Isaac Nakhimovsky

No period of modern history has come under more intense scrutiny than has the Enlightenment. Is the Enlightenment at the forefront of our ideas about science, democracy, and toleration or is the source of a new form of political repression and social engineering?  Has it fostered a conception of the free and responsible individual or is it the source of our modern concerns with rootlessness, anomie, and alienation? Our purpose will be to get a rounded picture of what the Enlightenment meant and how it has shaped our civilization.  In doing so, we will use Yale for Life’s trademark interdisciplinary approach; how appropriate, then, that our lead professors are known for brilliant teaching in a variety of Yale’s departments. Join Steven Smith, the Alfred Cowles Professor of Government & Philosophy, and Isaac Nakhimovsky, Yale Professor teaching in History, Russian Studies, Directed Studies, and more, in an examination of Kant’s immortal question: “What is Enlightenment?”

 Click to learn more…