Political Theory

CAS PO 390 Special Topics in Political Theory

CAS PO 391 Classical to Early Modern Political Theory
A text-oriented study of the principal political ideas of ancient, medieval, and early modern political philosophers such as Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Al-Farabi, and Machiavelli. Meets with CAS PH453.

CAS PO 392 Modern Political Theory
Considers arguments defending modern political ideas such as freedom and equality, natural rights and constituted rights, private property and commerce, revolution and representation, separation of powers and executive prerogative, and participation and democracy–as put forth by such modern political philosophers as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, the Founders (Madison, Hamilton, & Jay), Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt and Michael Oakeshott. Meets with CAS PH454.

CAS PO 393 The European Enlightenment
Survey of the intellectual and social transformation of Europe from the 1680s to the French Revolution. Readings draw on both eighteenth-century sources (including Voltaire, Diderot, Condorcet, Lessing, Smith, and Hume) and recent work by historians. Meets with CAS HI 314.

CAS PO 396 Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality
Analyzes notions of gender and sexuality. Questions include: Are gender and sexual identity natural, or are they social constructions? How are they related to love and desire? Meets with CAS PH 256.

CAS PO 590 Special Topics in Political Theory

CAS PO 591 Seminar in Political Philosophy
An in-depth study of a major political philosopher or topic in political philosophy. Open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students.

CAS PO 592 Enlightenment and Its Critics
Explores how eighteenth-century criticisms of the Enlightenment have been taken up by twentieth-century thinkers such as Heidegger, Horkeimer, Adorno, Gadamer, and Foucault; discusses recent defenses of Enlightenment ideals of reason, critique and autonomy by Habermas and others. Meets with CAS HI 514.

CAS PO 593 Freedom
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or two political philosophy courses. Focuses on conceptions of freedom put forth by selected political philosophers. Discussion of the relation of freedom to morality, law, government, commerce, religion, tradition, and education.

CAS PO 594 Historical Traditions of Feminist Theory
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of instructor. Explore selected writing from the history of feminist theory, 18th century to the rise of the late-20th century feminist movement, to understand the richness of that history and the varieties of approaches theorists took in understanding and resisting gender-based oppression. Meets with CAS WS 594.

GRS PO 791 Approaches to the Study of Political Theory
Graduate Core Seminar. Three questions are central to the field that is called “political theory”: What is the purpose of government? What is the purpose of political philosophy? and What is the relation between government and political philosophy?

CAS PO 796 Ethics and the Use of Force
Acquaints students with the great debates in the ethics and law of war, and examines how the resort to and conduct of war is, or is not, circumscribed by normative concerns.