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POL S 273 A: The Concept of Political Power

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
W 9:10am - 11:20am
SMI 305
Dennis Young

Syllabus Description:

Students will have 2-3 asynchronous lectures to watch per week, each lasting approximately 20-30 minutes, and then will have an in-person class once per week. The lectures will cover the key concepts in the course material and class will be devoted to further exploring and elaborating on concepts. 

Politics is often described as the study of power and power relationships. But what does it mean to have power? How does one define power in a political context? Is power something that can be possessed, or is it merely all in the eye of the beholder? This course will examine and address ways that political theorists have analyzed the question of power, and provide students with a set of tools to develop their own understanding of what power is, and how power relations influence contemporary society. We will explore the role of power in government, economics, race, gender, nationality, and knowledge in order to develop a robust analysis of the myriad of ways that power influences everyday life. The course will draw on texts from a variety of political traditions including Western political theory, Marxist critiques of capitalism, black radical political thought, anarchist thought, anti-colonial political thought, feminist political theory, and indigenous scholarship. The assignments will consist of three papers. The first paper will be shorter and will have students practice analyzing political theory texts. The other two papers will ask students to compare and apply different conceptual understandings of power to contemporary issues. By the end of the course students will have a broad overview of theories of political power, and practice making their own arguments about how power influences political life.

Full Syllabus Here: POL S 273 Syllabus SU 2022

Catalog Description: 
How to understand and explain relationships of power. Readings from Marxism, Weberian sociology, anarchism, classical political philosophy, and contemporary political science. May also include works of fiction.
Department Requirements: 
Political Theory Field
GE Requirements: 
Social Sciences (SSc)
Last updated: 
June 1, 2022 - 10:01pm