This course will provide a selective survey of 19th and early 20th century political theory, including primary source works of Karl Marx, Alexandra Kollontai, John Stuart Mill, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Max Weber. Special attention will be given to each theorist's unique and enduring attempt to analyze the modern Western experience. Key themes include: diverse meanings and assessments of modernity; narratives of modernity and its non-modern "others;" the relationship between modernity and democratic political movements; the impact of modernity on forms of human association, including intimate relationships; the question of historical progress (i.e., 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 populations; the relationship between modernity and colonialism; modernity as myth; and intimations of postmodernity.
Recommended prerequisites for this course include Pol S 201--Introduction to Political Theory, and/or previous course work in early modern or modern Western history, history of ideas, or philosophy.
This course is reading- and writing-intensive. Students will be assigned four take-home essay exams (4-5 pages in length, typed and double-spaced), and two short papers (5-6 pages in length, typed and double-spaced). The final exam is optional. The four take-home essay exams and two short papers will each count for 50% of the grade. For students who opt to take the final exam, this will count for 20% of the final grade; the four take-home essay exams and two short papers will each count for 40%. Active and regular participation in class discussions may help to raise the final grade.
Assigned readings (listed in order of their appearance on the syllabus): Karl Marx, Selected Writings (Hackett); Alexandra Kollontai, Selected Writings (W.W. Norton); J.S. Mill, On Liberty (Hackett); J.S. Mill, On the Subjection of Women (Hackett); W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (Vintage/Library of America); Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Routledge).