Controversial political columnist George F. Will will make his conservative mark on campus next year as a visiting lecturer in the government department.
Will has accepted the position and will teach a course about political philosophy with Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield '53 and Professor of Government Michael J. Sandel, faculty members confirmed yesterday.
"He's a very intelligent person," Mansfield said last night. "He has a lot of knowledge that professors don't have and will bring something very special to the classroom."
Will, who earned a Ph.D. in political philosophy at Princeton and has taught at both Michigan State University and the University of Toronto, will join Mansfield and Sandel in teaching a course called "Liberalism and Conservation in American Politics" to be offered next fall.
The course will be a study in political thought, focusing on such thinkers as James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John C. Calhoun and Woodrow Wilson, Mansfield said.
"As for the conversation perspective Mr. Will brings to the course, I think my friend Professor Mansfield will need all the help he can get," Sandel said in an interview yesterday. "I look forward to taking them on."
"He'll help out Professor Mansfield [who] seems to be fighting a lone battle at this point," said Derek T. Ho '96, managing editor of Perspective, Harvard's liberal monthly.
But Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France Stanley H. Hoffmann expressed doubts about how much Will could contribute to the course.
"If you add Will's name to Mansfield and Sandel it may attract more students," Hoffmann said. "But they are pretty powerful cards themselves and don't desperately need a blood transfusion from other people for two hours a week."
The Program on Constitutional Government, funded by conservative groups and run by Mansfield, issued the invitation to Will.
"I thought he would be very good," Mansfield said. "I had seen him a couple years ago at the Kennedy School Forum event when
"He's just about the most thoughtful of thepolitical columnists," Mansfield added. "I think alot of people agree with this, whether they takethe conservative standpoint or not."
The Boston Globe reported yesterday that therehad been controversy within the governmentdepartment over the appointment. Some wereconcerned that the invitation to Will wasideologically motivated while others questionedthe columnist's 25-year hiatus from academia.
But government professors interviewed yesterdaydownplayed the reports.
"I think they overemphasized it," said MarkhamProfessor of Government Douglas Price.