PSCI 234
Freedom Spring 2023
Division II
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Class Details

We all want to be free–at least most of us say we do. The desire for political freedom is as old as the ancient world and as new as today’s movements and liberation struggles. But what do we mean when we claim to want freedom? What institutions and social conditions make political freedom possible? For instance, do the claims of individual freedom conflict with those of community? With equality? With authority? Does freedom make us happy? Is it what we really want? And if it is, will we find it by engaging or turning away from politics? This course confronts these questions through readings drawn from a variety of classic and contemporary sources, including works of fiction, autobiography, journalism, law, philosophy and political theory, and social science. Our discussions will address such topics as activism and stoicism; equality and economic freedom; sexual freedom and gender politics; freedom of speech and religion; citizenship, migration, and cosmopolitanism; racism and colonialism; mass incarceration; and the uses and limits of state power. This course is part of a joint program between Williams’ Center for Learning in Action and the Berkshire County Jail in Pittsfield, MA. The class will be composed equally of nine Williams students and nine inmates and will be held at the jail. An important goal of the course is to encourage students from different backgrounds to think together about issues of common human concern. Transportation will be provided by the college. *Please note the atypical class hours, T. 4:45-8:30 pm*
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 9
Expected: 9
Class#: 3914
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class attendance and active participation, short essays, and a final paper.
Prerequisites: Not open to first-year students.
Enrollment Preferences: Final selection will be made on the basis of statements of interest solicited after pre-registration, and interviews with the instructor.
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives
PSCI Political Theory Courses

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