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This course is a chronological survey of major works of political theory from the 16th to the 20th century. In discussions and writing, we will explore the diverse visions of modernity and of politics offered by such thinkers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill, and Freud. They help us ask: What is freedom? Who is equal? Who should rule? With what limits and justifications? What form of government best serves the people? Who are the people, anyway? And on what grounds can we justify confidence in our provisional answers to such questions? Class will be primarily driven by discussion, often preceded by brief lectures. Attention to the writing process and developing an authorial voice will be a recurrent focus of our work inside and outside the classroom.
Format: seminar; Class meetings will be conducted remotely using zoom.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
three papers of 4-6 pages; class participation; brief informal writing tasks inside and outside of class meetings
none; open to all
Political Theory concentrators, then Political Science majors
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI Political Theory Courses