Passionately promotes compassionate civilization

August 31, 2020

Passionately promotes compassionate civilization

Daniel Bessner wants to change how Americans think (or don’t think) about our impact on people across the world. And you’re invited to join him. 

Dr. Bessner, an associate professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, is the most recent recipient of the prestigious Joff Hanauer Honors Professorship in Western Civilization. Supported by a generous endowment to UW’s College of Arts & Sciences, this award recognizes a faculty member whose research and teaching address issues pertinent to our civilization, with a particular bent towards the interdisciplinary focus of Honors. Hanauer Professors often engage the Honors community through special events, workshops, student-led projects and informal conversations that enhance our awareness of, and commitment to, issues of civic responsibility, cultural diversity and interdependence, both in the United States and abroad. 

A highly-accomplished scholar of U.S. foreign relations, Bessner’s Hanauer appointment reflects his intellectual leadership, inspiring teaching style, and impressive commitment to leading public discussions and influencing popular knowledge and opinions about the history, challenges and opportunities of U.S. foreign policy. His August 20 interview with Matt Duss about the Sanders campaign’s foreign policy is a great example of Bessner’s desire to make the United States a more decent and responsible world actor, and he’s published dozens of papers, articles etc. and participated in several recorded events and interviews, all easily found on his website

Dr. Bessner said he’s greatly enjoyed teaching interdisciplinary Honors seminars like “The History of the Social Sciences” and a recent Calderwood Public Writing seminar, “Rethinking Foreign Policy.” “It’s been a privilege to join the Honors community,” he explained. “Students are so engaged and always ask terrific questions. Also, my work is inherently interdisciplinary, so this is a natural place for me to reach people and keep learning as I teach.”

As part of his 2020-2022 Hanauer appointment, Bessner has already begun mentoring several Honors students from his prior Calderwood seminar through a collaborative project to joint-publish an essay or article on U.S. foreign policy. Bessner will also present a series of free public lectures online and offer virtual drop-in hours for students and colleagues. In so doing, he hopes to help burgeoning thinkers build the confidence to conduct vital conversations in their own communities and across the public sphere. 

This series will explore the upcoming presidential election, public health crisis, history of the Pacific Northwest, and connections between U.S. foreign policy and domestic policing. “Most if not all of these discussions could be helpful to alumni as much as current students, and everyone who is interested is more than welcome to join,” Bessner explains.

Even if you’ve never studied with Professor Bessner, he is genuinely interested in your questions and is eager to meet you. “I want students to know that I’m available to chat with them about college, foreign policy, whatever is on their minds.” Bessner continues: “I’m very excited to become more connected to the Honors community. I love the level of intellectual engagement and range of voices I find here.”

Register/learn more about Dr. Bessner’s Joff Hanauer Honors Lecture Series, here: https://honors.uw.edu/news/2020/joff-hanauer-honors-lecture-series/