This reading- and writing-intensive course will offer a selective survey of modern (19th and early 20th century) political theory. Key themes include: diverse meanings and assessments of Western modernity; narratives of modernity and its non-modern "others"; the relationship between modernity and emancipatory political movements; the impact of modernity on forms of human association, including intimate relationships; the question of historical progress (are modern people better off than their pre-modern predecessors?); the declining role of religion, tradition, and communities in modern societies; modernity as experienced by disenfranchised groups; the relationship between modernity and colonialism; modernity as myth; and intimations of post-modernity.
Assigned readings will include: Selections from Karl Marx: Selected Writings (Hackett); selections from Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai (W.W. Norton); J.S. Mill, On Liberty and On the Subjection of Women (Hackett); W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (The Library of America); Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Routledge), and his Two Vocations Essays (Hackett).
Evaluation and grading will be based on four take-home essay exams (3-4 pages in length, typed and double-spaced; 50% of the final grade), and two essay assignments (5-6 pages in length; 50% of the final grade). There will also be an optional final exam for students who would like a final opportunity to raise their final grade. For students who opt to take the final exam, this will count for 20% of the final grade; the four essay exams and two essay assignments will each count for 40% of the final grade.
Recommended background reading: Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and Ambivalence; Russell Berman, All That is Solid Melts into Air; Christine Di Stefano, Configurations of Masculinity: A Feminist Perspective on Modern Political Theory; Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness; Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation; Ross Poole, Morality and Modernity.
This course carries "W" credit.