Introduction to Political Theory and Thought

  • Final
  • Political Science
  • Introduction to Political Theory and Thought
  • 3.0
  • 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.

  • 120
  • None

    1. The nature and tradition of political inquiry.
    2. Classical theorists.
    3. Modern theorists.
    4. Contemporary theorists.
    5. Basic theoretical debates such as, but not limited to, justice, equality, best government.
    6. Application of theoretical debates to the contemporary world.

    *Course may be organized thematically or chronologically

  • N/A

  • At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

    1. Evaluate the study of political theory, based on original texts and other sources, as a means for understanding important political phenomena.
    2. Analyze political theory and theoretical texts and explain how they are relevant to contemporary issues.
    3. Assess the historical and social context surrounding the generation of political theories.
    4. Compare and contrast the defining elements of each political theory.
    5. 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.
    6. 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
    Written assignments
    Analytical papers
    Simulations
    Oral presentations
    Participation in class discussions and debates

  • Primary sources such as, but not limited to:

    Arendt.  The Human Condition
    Aristotle. Politics
    Hobbes. Leviathan
    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 

    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 23, 2012