West European Studies | History of Political Theory I
W406 | 26102 | Craiutu, A.
9:30-10:45 MW ARR
Above section carries Culture Studies credit.
Obtain on-line authorization for above section from department.
Above section meets with POLS Y381.
The course offers a close examination of the most important works and
themes in classical political thought. We shall read a combination of
literary, historical, and philosophical works including selections
from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponesian War, Plato’s Apology,
Republic and Seventh Letter, Aristotle’s Politics, Cicero’s On
Duties, Marcus Arelius’ Meditations, and St. Augustine’s City of
God. We shall end with the book that marked a radical departure from
the politics of the ancients: Machiavelli’s The Prince. At the same
time, in order to highlight better the relevance of these classical
works to our contemporary debates, we shall read short passages from
the works of modern authors (Rousseau, Madison, and Constant) whose
writing addressed or reformulated the topics first raised by ancient
authors. The course will examine the political thought of the
ancients by focusing on key topics such as morality and political
power, the role of laws and constitutions, civic virtue, democracy,
justice, freedom, and equality. Special attention will be paid to
examining the context in which these authors wrote their works, the
main concepts they used, and the implications of their ideas for our
The class will use a combination of lecture and discussion.
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 four 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. Students are
encouraged 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).