Seth Cantey Seth Cantey is an associate professor of politics and a core faculty member for the Middle East and South Asian Studies program.
Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
I’ve been at W&L since 2014, so this is now my ninth year.
Q. What courses are you teaching this term?
I have two sections of Middle East Politics.
Q. What is your favorite course to teach?
During Spring Term 2019, I took students to Morocco for a course on the history, culture and politics of North Africa. That was special because we had the opportunity to learn from people and places, not just about them. I’ll be leading that course again in Spring Term 2023.
Q. What is the most satisfying aspect of teaching?
Mentorship. Sometimes teachers make connections with students that endure beyond the classroom, even beyond graduation. There’s a responsibility that comes with it but also gratitude for the chance to play that role for someone else.
Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
The gazebo past the old outing club barn. I have been meaning to get there for sunrise.
Q. What advice do you have for students (or parents)?
Find a way to experience other parts of the world. That can be through travel with family or friends, Spring Term abroad, a gap year, whatever. The further “off the beaten path” the better. Exposure to unfamiliar people and places benefits everyone.
Q. Where did you grow up?
Columbia, South Carolina.
Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an NBA player. Sadly, I still can’t dunk.
Q. Who inspired you to teach? What about them inspired you?
In graduate school at Georgetown, I took a course with former CIA director George Tenet. I’d had many great teachers, but I’d never seen someone weave personal experience into teaching the way he did. I’m still amazed at how effective he was in the classroom.
Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
I spent my 28th birthday sitting between two train cars heading west across northern Mozambique, talking with locals and watching the landscape change. It was one day of 70 that summer that I spent in southeast Africa with a backpack and no plan.
Q. What book are you reading now?
“The Ministry for the Future” by Kim Stanley Robinson (who will be giving a public lecture at W&L on November 10!). Up next is “The Changing World Order” by Ray Dalio.
Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
There’s a faculty member in the Williams School, who I won’t name, who lives in my dream home about 30 minutes west of town.
Q. Your favorite film (movie) of all time?
It’s a toss-up between “Django Unchained” and “Joker.”
Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I’m technically a black belt in American karate.
Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m putting together a Spring Term course about bitcoin and international relations, to be first taught in 2024. It’s an area I’ve been paying increasing attention to lately.
If you know any W&L who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.