Politics Ph.D. Student Believes in Interdisciplinary Approach

Politics Ph.D. Student Believes in Interdisciplinary Approach

 

 

Pavlos PapadopoulosDate published: Oct. 7, 2015

Had Pavlos Papadopoulos, PhD ’16, not decided to pursue his doctorate in politics through the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts’ Institute of Philosophic Studies, he likely would have delved into the world of foreign policy, foreign affairs and think tanks. As it is, he is planting firm roots in the academic world, from presenting at the Texas Graduate Symposium in the Liberal Arts to attending a seminar on Abraham Lincoln in New York City.

The Texas Graduate Symposium in the Liberal Arts is a joint effort of SMU and Rice University, held on the Rice campus in Houston. Papadopoulos’ paper compared the philosophies of two thinkers on liberal education, Leo Strauss and Josef Pieper. According to Papadopoulos, Strauss’s philosophy is more in line with Papadopoulos’ undergraduate education at St. John’s College, which emphasizes the Great Books in a way that presents each text as equally valid and puts the responsibility on the students to determine the significance of the texts relative to each other.

Pieper, however, is more similar to UD in his focus on tradition and theology.

“Because one style is that of my undergraduate studies and the other that of my graduate, it ended up feeling a lot more personal than I’d realized it would,” Papadopoulos said.

In 2011, Papadopoulos took a class on Abraham Lincoln from UD’s Associate Professor of Politics David Upham, which sparked his interest in the 16th president. At the beginning of August of this year, Papadopoulos attended a Hertog Foundation Advanced Institute, “The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln.”

The week-long seminar took place at the New York Historical Society and was led by Allen C. Guelzo, Ph.D., who is the Henry R. Luce professor of the Civil War era and the director of Civil War era studies at Gettysburg College, as well as the author of several books concerning Lincoln. Guest lecturers included Richard Brookhiser, National Review editor and author of books on the Founding Fathers and presidents including Lincoln, and James Oakes, historian and professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.

“One of my favorite parts of the seminar was meeting very interesting graduate students from other institutions,” Papadopoulos said.

Once he has received his doctorate from Braniff, Papadopoulos hopes to teach in an environment with an interdisciplinary approach, like UD. For example, at UD, although he’s working on his doctorate in politics, Papadopoulos has taught philosophy courses. He has also collaborated with Literary Tradition instructors to facilitate class discussions on, for example, Homer versus Plato.

“I believe the different disciplines should talk to each other rather than being walled off,” he said.

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