Political Science | Intro to Political Theory
Y105 | 3760 | Craiutu


The course offers an introduction to political theory by using a
combination of texts in political philosophy, literature, and
history. Readings will include Aristotle’s Politics, Cicero’s On
Duties, Machiavelli's The Prince, Hobbes' Leviathan, Locke's Second
Treatise on Government, Rousseau's Social Contract, Tocqueville's
Democracy in America, and a selection from Marx's writings. We shall
also read outstanding literary works that contain valuable political
ideas such as Sophocles’s Antigone and George Orwell’s 1984. The goal
of the course is to give students an opportunity to reflect on the
nature, goals, and limits of politics by exploring the transition
from the politics of the ancients to the politics of the moderns. To
this effect, we shall examine key topics such as political power,
authority, the role of laws, civic virtue, religion and politics,
democracy, justice, freedom, and equality. Special attention will be
paid to exploring the context in which these authors wrote their
works, the main concepts they used, and the implications of their
ideas for our contemporary debates.
	The class will use a combination of lecture and discussion;
hence, class participation and regular attendance will be very
important. There will be two exams (a mid-term and a final) which
will contain a number of short questions that will draw on the
assigned readings and ideas raised in class. There will be also three
quiz questions that will be part of your grade for class
participation. Students are strongly encouraged to bring additional
materials to class (such as relevant newspaper or magazine articles,
websites, additional bibliography) and thus make the course relevant
to their concerns. Those who will do that will earn extra credit.
Each student will be required to keep a reading log (journal)
containing entries for each assigned reading (definition of key
concepts, summary of the readings, a selection of important phrases
and the like).