Political Science | Ideas, Interests, Identities
Y396 | 3701 | Bielasiak


	Is politics a clash over what we think, or over who we are?  Recent
claims have asserted that in the past decade politics has changed from a
conflict over ideas to a conflict over identities.  Throughout the past
century, politics was driven by what is the best way to organize politics in
order to create the optimal society.  Political ideologies provided the
answers: ideas associated with democracy, socialism, and fascism competed on
a global scale, and came to blows in "hot" or "cold" wars.  But the defeat
of fascism and the collapse of communism, it is argued, put an end to the
war of ideas.  Instead, political identities have emerged as the new markers
of conflict.  Contemporary politics is has become more and more about how we
see each other  - a clash of civilizations between national identity and
globalization, between Western and "other " (Islamic) values, or between
ethnic and religious aspirations.
This seminar will explore the above claims, first by looking at the 20th
century ideological wars, then at the cultural warfare of contemporary
politics.  Readings will come from a textbook on political ideas and a
course reader on the clash of political identities.  Requirements include
two short papers, one on ideas and one on identities, and a final exam.