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POL S 310 A: The Western Tradition Of Political Thought, Modern

Meeting Time: 
TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
LOW 201
Christine DiStefano

Syllabus Description:

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.


Catalog Description: 
Continuation of POL S 308 and POL S 309, focusing on material from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries.
Department Requirements: 
Political Theory Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:45pm