PSCI 433
Senior Seminar: Dignity Spring 2025
Division II
Cross-listed JLST 433

Class Details

Discredited over the centuries by skeptics of many ideological persuasions, dignity has nevertheless remained central to the vocabulary of political protest movements from the left and the right. In the post-WWII period, dignity has also served as the grounding principle for international human rights conventions and national constitutions. But what is the meaning of dignity? Does dignity belong specifically to the human species, or is it equally the property of all living beings? If everybody, or perhaps everything, has its own dignity, what could the concept possibly add to our understanding of social relations, political processes, and legal judgments? Course readings will be as wide-ranging as the concept is broad. Some of our touchstones will be: Kant’s moral philosophy, writings from the nineteenth-century abolitionist movement, Marxist theories of the dignity of labor, international human rights conventions, and court cases from Germany, Namibia, South Africa and the United States.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 3700
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Regular class participation, short (1 pg) response papers, and drafts leading up to a 15-page final essay.
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing required; in addition, JLST concentration or prior coursework in political theory/cultural theory/philosophy.
Enrollment Preferences: Senior political science majors with concentration in political theory; JLST concentrators.
Unit Notes: Justice & Law Studies Senior Seminar
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
JLST 433 Division II PSCI 433 Division II
Attributes: PSCI Political Theory Courses

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