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PSCI 105: Introduction to Political Thought

Joe Rollins

(Submission #30)

Course Description

Introduction to Political Thought is designed to provide students with a broad introduction to the theoretical literature that grounds not only the discipline of Political Science but which also informs social structures, institutions, and processes found throughout Western culture. Because the course is philosophical, it begins with a contemplation of some of the most fundamental questions posed throughout human history: What does it mean to be human? What are justice, equality, fairness, freedom? What form of government is best? These questions are approached through close readings of original texts and the format for class sessions involves “active learning,” i.e., engaging the texts as a group and discussing the concepts contained therein. Because the course selectively surveys the philosophical canon of Western culture, it introduces students to not only the ancients (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Socrates), it also connects their ideas to the works of later European thinkers (Rousseau, Marx), feminists (deBeauvoir), civil rights advocates (Martin Luther King, Jr.), and postmodern critical theorists. Social contract theorists whose ideas inform our understanding of the state, such as those articulated by Locke and Hobbes,are analyzed alongside the work of theorists who now shape our conception of the political subject, such as Foucault, Brown and Butler. The course also expands beyond the Western cannon by introducing students to the political philosophies of thinkers such as Gandhi, Said, and Fanon.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Culture and Values (CV)
Context of Experience: European Traditions (ET)
Extended Requirement: Not Applicable

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: PS 105
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 1
Number of Seats: 55


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (DOC)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

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