Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

PLSC 100 Political Theory

Summer 2015 - Session I

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO

Department of Political Science

Summer 2015

Session I:  May 18-June 18

 

 

PLSC 100 – A1W, Political Theory (Writing Intensive)

(cross-listed with) HONR 216B – Encountering Europe

 

Dr. Claudio Katz

 

PLSC 100 satisfies a Tier 2, Philosophical Knowledge area of Core.  This course also fulfills an intensive writing requirement.  HONR 216B satisfies an honors area studies requirement and a Tier 2, Societal and Cultural Knowledge area of Core

 

Tuesdays, Thursdays: 9AM - 12:20PM

 

Course Description

 

The focus of this course is a study of Italian political theorists using a unique lens:  their works are paired with studies of Shakespeare's plays – two of them set in Italy.  The subject of the course is political evil.  Evil is a political problem because politics involves violence.  When is it justified?  When does its use become evil?  The first part of the course examines the problem of “dirty hands” – of rulers who harm unjustly for the sake of justice.  We will contrast the works of two of Italy’s most astute political practitioners:  Marcus Tullius Cicero (writing at the end of the Roman Republic) and Niccolò Machiavelli (writing during the Italian Renaissance).  Two of Shakespeare’s plays – Julius Caesar and Henry V – serve to illuminate the questions they raise.  We will also travel on-site to visit the Roman forum.  The second part of the course addresses the treatment of despised minorities. We will pair Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz with Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.  Levi is a twentieth-century Italian author and holocaust survivor.  We will travel on-site to visit the Ardeatine Caves, where Italian partisans were executed by the German occupation troops, and now houses a holocaust museum. 

 

Course Requirements

 

Grades are based on three short essays (four pages, 25% each) and three quizzes (25% total for the three).

 

 

Reading and Assignment Schedule:

 

May 19:                                               The life and times of Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

May 21:                                               Cicero, On Duties

 

May 26:                                               On-site:  The Roman Forum

 

May 28                                                Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

 

June 2                                                  The life and times of Niccolò Machiavelli; Machiavelli, The Prince

 

June 4                                                  Shakespeare, Henry V

 

June 9                                                  Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

 

June 11                                                Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz     

 

June 16                                                On-site:  the Ardeatine Caves

 

June 18                                                Conclusion