When philosophy professor Nir Eisikovits realized his 8- and 10-year-old daughters could recite Alexander Hamilton’s life story in lyric form, that’s when he knew.
“My daughters are obsessed with the musical Hamilton,” said Eisikovits.“This pop culture phenomenon has created an appetite to dig deeper. Alexander Hamilton is fascinating both as a philosophical and psychological case study — it’s rare to be such a ravenous political theorist and a man of action. In the middle of the Revolutionary War, he’d stay up late at night huddled under a blanket writing theory.”
Thus the summer course “Not Throwing Away Our Shot: Hamilton and The Federalist Papers” was born.
Graduate and undergraduate students will study Hamilton’s critical contributions to the founding of the United States and the unique moral and political compromises it takes to establish a country.
As Boston gets ready for the fall run of the musical, Eisikovits’ students will delve into Hamilton’s political life and theories. They’ll draw parallels between the American Revolution and more recent movements around the world — from the founding of Israel to the Arab Spring.
Lessons for Today
It’s no surprise to Eisikovits that Hamilton’s story, albeit with hip-hop updates, resonates with modern audiences. He jokes that it’s reassuring to realize that political dysfunction is not a new concept in this country. And there’s a lesson to be learned from the man and the musical:
“The song ‘The Room Where it Happens’ is about the importance of being present when decisions are made. You can have the best ideas, but you can’t make an impact if you’re not included in the process. That remains true, and that’s why we’re seeing more and more people fighting to have their voices heard.”