The Gerst program/Duke Program in American Values and Institutions aims at fostering an understanding of the central importance of freedom for democratic government, moral responsibility, and economic and cultural life. It focuses on the theoretical foundations of freedom and responsibility, the development of liberty in the Western and particularly the American historical context, the role of freedom in political and economic institutions, and the character of morally responsible behavior.
It seeks to achieve this goal through a comprehensive program of undergraduate and graduate training. It includes an interdisciplinary colloquium that brings together faculty and graduate students from different departments and divisions of the university for discussion of its core topics, an annual conference on a specific topic central to questions of liberty, democracy, and responsibility. The Program also supports a number of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows who work in the area of American Values and Institutions. For more information about the program contact the program's director, Michael Gillespie, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy.