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Peter WakefieldDirector of Undergraduate Studies, Institute for the Liberal ArtsProfessor of Pedagogy

Peter Wakefield earned a PhD from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, in 1989, with a specialization in the history of philosophy, specifically Aristotelian and Platonic epistemology. His career has been focused on undergraduate teaching, including appointments at Holy Cross College, Washington College, and George Washington University. From 1995 to 2000, he was an assistant professor of philosophy and chair of the Philosophy program at Trinity College (now Trinity University), Washington, D.C.

Wakefield's research interests focus on ancient Greek philosophy, the philosophy of teaching, and critical pedagogy. In 2016, he co-authored a presentation of the innovative pedagogical programs of Emory’s ILA, which was presented at an international interdisciplinary conference. His article, “Decadence and The Great Gatsby,” which grew from his teaching in the IDS major at Emory, is included in an anthology, Catastrophe and Philosophy (Lexington Books, 2017). Much of his work at Emory has aimed to give students agency over their own curriculum and education. His writing has also focused on the specific problem of designing pedagogies for traditional academic disciplines that will empower women, African American students, and others who have been excluded from dominant intellectual histories and scholarly dialogues. He has published papers in Metaphilosophy, Dialogue and Universalism, and Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium on Ancient Philosophy.

Wakefield has near-native fluency in French, strong skills in ancient Greek and German, basic ability in Spanish.

From 2000 to 2006, Wakefield served as program director of the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning, and from 2004 to 2006 as assistant director of the Office of International Affairs. In this capacity, he organized visits to Emory University of numerous distinguished political and academic leaders from around the world, including President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Jairam Ramesh, economic adviser, Congress Party (India); Sona Khan, attorney before the Supreme Court of India; and German political analyst and author Peter Schneider. Wakefield also led and organized the Halle Faculty Study Trip program, which has taken more than one hundred Emory University faculty members to Germany or India.

Research Interest

Ancient Greek philosophy, the philosophy of teaching, critical pedagogy.