PLSC 306: Modern Political Thought
Professor John Danford
TTh 10:00am / LSC
The Renaissance is often regarded as a time of the rediscovery of classical principles in a world which had lost sight of man's humanity, a world dominated by the convoluted theology of scholasticism and the dark ages. The earliest modern thinkers, however, understood themselves to be not so much recovering the understanding of the ancients as challenging that understanding in its most fundamental aspects. They attempted to establish a new kind of humanism, what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has called "autonomous humanism," which proclaimed man above and apart from the rest of the natural order. The understanding introduced by these thinkers, and above all by Machiavelli and Francis Bacon, continues to dominate our lives and our minds in important respects. As this course will attempt to show, the new understanding was advanced as a self-conscious challenge to and rejection of the classical understanding of man, of the city, of God, of nature and the cosmos. The aim of the course is to help students to come to terms with this radical modern understanding, along with the powerful justification advanced in support of it. We will proceed by studying the writings of the great thinkers responsible for the modern revolution, and consider some of the responses of critical successors.
PLSC 308: Contemporary Political Thought
Ms. Elizabeth Snyderwine
Th 4:15pm / LSC
Why would a group, in order to achieve ‘justice’ or a more ‘ideal’ political order, legitimize the sacrifice of human rights or life itself? Compassion, tolerance, and protection of individual rights are casualties of tyrannical mass movements. The goals of the course are to compare the reflections of several contemporary philosophers on terrorism and genocide in order to evaluate the driving factors in such tragedies and the inherent moral challenges for democracies in countering terrorism.
PLSC 309: Socialism
Professor Robert Mayer
TTh 11:30am / LSC
Marxism may be dead, but does that mean the dream of a better alternative to capitalism is only a utopian fantasy? In this course we explore the development of socialist theory since Marx’s day as it has sought to adapt to changing circumstances, including the evolution of capitalism and the collapse of communism. During the first half of the semester we will examine the emergence of the Great Schism in the socialist camp at the turn of the 20th century, when revisionist Social Democracy and Leninist communism went their separate ways. In the second half of the semester we will jump forward to the post-Soviet period and examine proposals for the socialization of medicine in this country and of the economy as a whole.
PLSC 312: Feminist Theory
Ms. Sherri Replogle
W 4:15pm / LSC
This course provides an overview of the fundamental debates marking feminist theories today. Students will engage in a critical examination of influential works, using theory to understand concrete issues that mobilize concepts of sex, gender, race, and nation. Readings and discussions will focus on a series of themes and issues organized around the following general topics: (1) The role of women in traditional political thought and the emergence of modern feminist theories. (2) Considerations and contestations of identity. (3) A reexamination and a "rethinking" of basic political concepts and relationships and (4) global challenges.