Political Theory

Political Theory

 

Courses in Political Philosophy and Political Theory interpret and assess competing forms of political conduct and their justifications. The work of Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Marx and Mill, as well as a variety of 20th Century and contemporary political philosophers is considered, and opened to criticism. Courses address questions such as: When, if ever, is political power justified? Do citizens have a moral obligation to obey the law? Is democracy the best regime for human purposes? If so, what sort of democracy is best? What is it to be free and how much freedom is consistent with justice and community? What qualities of law make it more or less just? Is the history of political thought incorrigibly male-centric? What does political philosophy/theory tell us about contemporary society, culture, and our relationship with the natural environment? What is the relationship between political theorizing and political engagement? In all political philosophy/theory courses, contested issues in current politics are freely discussed and debated.

POLS 2343 JUSTICE AND THE GOOD LIFE: ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL POLITICAL THEORY
What is justice? What is the best way for human beings to live together? Who should rule? These foundational political questions are discussed through examination of the earliest texts of Western political theory, from Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages.

POLS 2443 LEGITIMACY AND POLITICAL ORDER: EARLY MODERN POLITICAL THEORY 
In a secular society, what rational arguments can be offered for political rule and inequality? Can inequality be rationally justified? Are people and governments bound by a “social contract”? These questions are explored through examination of political theories from the Renaissance to the 18th century. 

POLS 2543 REVOLUTION, FREEDOM, AND EQUALITY: MODERN POLITICAL THEORY 
From the French Revolution to WWI, the Western world was transformed by political, economic, and social revolutions. Through political theories of this period, we explore the tensions between freedom and equality, and assess the appropriate pace of social change, including the role of violence in political affairs.

POLS 2643 SELECTED CONCEPTS IN POLITICAL ARGUMENT
An examination of central concepts of political analysis and argument: power, rights, interest and the public interest, liberty, obligation, punishment, authority, duty, fraternity, sovereignty, justice, and the state. Attention is given to evaluating the principal arguments in which these concepts figure, as well as to the development of expositional, critical and analytic skills. 

POLS 3143 CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL THEORY  
This course surveys developments in 20th and 21st century political thought. Selected thinkers and themes are covered, with a focus on the close reading of primary texts. Prerequisite: POLS 2343, 2443, or 2543.

POLS 3543 COMMUNITY POLITICAL POWER
Consideration of the current literature on the theory and practice of democratic politics in small communities. Special attention is given to the exercise of political power in such communities and to the impact of the size of the community upon the integrity of democracy and the character of citizenship. Prerequisite: Second-year standing (i.e. >24h completed).

POLS 3683 BIOPOLITICS 
Biological life is now a target of local, national and global politics. This course examines the politicization of life in war, development, public health, resource management, human rights and international law. Relationships with sovereignty, markets, nature, technology and culture are also explored. Historical and contemporary texts are used to examine positive, negative and post-biopolitical futures. Prerequisite: POLS 1403 and third-year standing (i.e. >54h completed).

POLS 3843 THE POLITICS OF GLOBAL RESISTANCE 
This course explores the emergence of global forms of resistance. It explores the political theory of resistance, then looks at different local and/or national examples of resistance, as well as those forms of resistance that seek to specifically address global issues and/or define themselves as strictly global actors. This course counts towards the political theory and international relations stream. Prerequisite: Third-year standing (i.e. >54h completed).

POLS 4143 APPLIED INTERNATIONAL ETHICS
This course is a critical exploration of ethical dilemmas in contemporary international politics. A special emphasis will be placed on cosmopolitan and communitarian approaches to issues such as international justice, war, terrorism, global poverty, sovereignty, human rights, women's rights, the environment, and humanitarian affairs and intervention. Prerequisite: Third-year standing (i.e. >54h completed) and B in POLS 2683 or 2783, or permission of the instructor.

POLS 4343 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 1
This course develops ideas central to political philosophy by means of analytic and/or interpretive inquiry. The topic for each offering is available from the department. Prerequisite: one of POLS 2343, 2443, 2543, or 2643 with a minimum grade of B, or permission of the instructor.

POLS 4443 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 2
A seminar in political philosophy which examines either central concepts or important works in political philosophy. The particular content for each offering is available from the department. Prerequisite: POLS 2343, POLS 2443, POLS 2543, or POLS 2643 with a minimum grade of B, or permission of the instructor.

POLS 4643 CRITICAL POLITICAL THEORY
"Critical theory" refers to a tradition of holistic, interdisciplinary political theory grounded in a critique of domination. Thinkers studied may include Adorno, Baudrillard, Benjamin, Butler, Derrida, Foucault, Haraway, Jameson, and Marcuse. Emphasis on close reading and discussion of primary texts. Prerequisite: one of POLS 2343, POLS 2443, POLS 2543, or POLS 2643 with a minimum grade of B, or permission of the instructor.

POLS 4843 ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICAL THEORY
This course examines whether or how the values of justice, democracy, and ecological sustainability can be mutually compatible. Competing visions of "the good life," strategies for political change, and conceptions of "nature," are examined in light of contemporary environmental crises. Prerequisite: one of POLS 2343, POLS 2443, POLS 2543, or POLS 2643 with a minimum grade of B, or permission of the instructor.

WGST 3023 FEMINIST THEORY
The course examines feminist theory through the analysis of feminist texts across academic disciplines. Topics of discussion vary but include key concepts such as identity and class, race, and gender; identity politics; sexuality and heteronormativity; intersectionality; and language and subjectivity. May be offered for major credit in English, political science, and sociology.

Not all courses are offered every year. For the latest information and course offerings, consult Acadia's online undergraduate calendar.