Political Theory

CAS PO 391 Classical to Early Modern Political Theory
Fundamental questions of ethics and politics are addressed by analyzing early works of political philosophy. Considers their various conceptions of: human nature and reason; qualifications of leadership; aims and means of civic education; and natural, human, and divine law. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking. Meets with CAS PH 453.

CAS PO 392 Modern Political Theory
Fundamental questions of ethics and politics are addressed by analyzing works of political philosophy from the Enlightenment in the 17th century through the 20th century. Considers their various conceptions of human nature, the social contract, rights, government, justice, and revolution. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking. Meets with CAS PH 454.

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 215.

CAS PO 394 Catastrophe & Memory
Examines the ways in which catastrophes, both natural and social, enter into cultural memory. Goal is to understand how events that seem to defy comprehension are represented in works of art and given a place in the memory of a culture. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy. Meets with CAS HI 221.

CAS PO 395 Domination/Liberation
In this political theory course, we examine dilemmas surrounding domination and liberation in political theory and practice. We will ask what liberation is, how diverse forms of domination obstruct it; and whether freedom can be sustained in a lasting way. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

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? This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Individual in Community, Critical Thinking. Meets with CAS PH 256 and CAS WS 396.

CAS PO 590 Special Topics in Political Theory
Topics vary. Topics have included Great Speeches, The Politics of Love.

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 and PH 412.

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.