May 23, 2012
Introduction to Political Theory and Thought
Examination of various theoretical approaches to politics and of basic political problems and proposed solutions. Analysis of selected political theories and of the relevance of theory to contemporary problems.
- The nature and tradition of political inquiry.
- Classical theorists.
- Modern theorists.
- Contemporary theorists (i.e. critical race theorists and feminist theorists).
- Basic theoretical debates such as, but not limited to, power, justice, equality, ideal
- Application of theoretical debates to the contemporary world.
*Course may be organized thematically or chronologically
At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:
- Evaluate the study of political theory, based on original texts and other sources, as a means for understanding important political phenomena.
- Analyze political theory and theoretical texts and explain how they are relevant to contemporary issues.
- Assess the historical and social context surrounding the generation of political theories.
- Compare and contrast the defining elements of each political theory.
- Analyze the different assumptions and values about "human nature" and "reality" embedded in each political theory and examine the way these starting premises shape the questions asked and conclusions reached.
- Evaluate the contribution of each political theory towards a comprehensive understanding of political life and political institutions.
May include as appropriate:
In-class or take-home examinations
Research papers or projects
Participation in class discussions and debates
Primary sources such as, but not limited to:
Anzaldúa. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
Arendt. The Human Condition
Brown. In the Ruins of Neoliberalism or Manhood and Politics
Davis. Women, Race, and Class
Locke. Two Treatises on Government
Machiavelli. The Prince, The Discourses
Marx. Selected Writings
Plato. The Republic
Rawls. A Theory of Justice
Rousseau. The Social Contract, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality
de Tocqueville. Democracy in America
West. Race Matters
Anthologies and/or college-level introduction to political theory or political philosophy textbook such as, but not limited to
Ball and Dagger. Ideals and Ideologies: A Reader
Cahn. Political Philosophy: The Essential Texts
Dallmayr. Comparative Political Theory: An Introduction
Deutsch and Fornieri. An Invitation to Political Thought
Dolbeare and Cummings. American Political Thought
Tannenbaum. Inventors of Ideas: An Introduction to Western Political Philosophy
May 12, 2022