POL 3652:
MODERN POLITICAL THOUGHT

Spring 2007

MWF 2:00-3:05, Cina 308

Current week | Grades | Diverse 3652 links

Professor Stephen Chilton

Office location | Office hours | Email | Phone / FAX


COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES

This course is about some major streams of modern political thought.  Its prerequisite course, Pol 1610, should have acquainted you with some basic historical ideologies like liberalism, fascism, communism, conservatism, and so on.  This course takes these ideologies and looks at them in finer detail, concentrating particularly on the most recent theoretical advances.  For example, classical liberalism is represented here by two recent, influential thinkers:  Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls, whose new understandings of liberalism have refreshed it as it was becoming stale.  Likewise, there is little material on Marxism and communism per se;  instead, we focus on several streams of thought (particularly critical theory and postmodernism) that have transformed our understanding of what was important in it.  If you go on to graduate school in political science (and especially political philosophy), you will be required to review the historical origins of these movements.  In this course, however, the emphasis is primarily on seeing what the most recent thinking is.

The reading schedule is tentative.  We will go only as fast as required to give you all a good sense of the various traditions we are dealing with.  I will be asking the class periodically to tell me whether we need to cover material in more depth and/or with greater background.  The timing of the exams and papers will not be affected by this;  the tests will simply cover what we have been able to deal with.  Note, however, that if we decide to go more slowly on a topic, the burden shifts to you to ask questions more vigorously in the extra classes;  otherwise, I just wind up repeating the same explanations that were insufficient in the first place.


REQUIRED TEXTS

The texts for the course are as listed below;  all are required.  Not listed are those of our readings that can be found online.


GRADING

ASSIGNMENT DUE WEIGHT
Commitment (preparation, attendance, attention, and participation)
[ongoing & subjective]
20
Exam #1 (in-class) 2/19
17
Exam #2 (in-class) 3/30 20
Exam 3 [final exam] (take-home)
5/8
23
Application Essays various, + 5/8 20
Extra credit [N/A] Added credit
Course-specific extra credit [N/A] Added credit
 

COURSE SCHEDULE

WK DAY CLASS CONTENT AND PREPARATION
1

1/17

Introduction.  "No one knows."  Syllabus & grading.  Essays.   Links.   Roll call.

1/19 [No class;  Chilton out sick]
2
1/22

[No class;  Chilton out sick]

1/24

The dialectic of construction and critique.  Relevance;  "morality meeting society halfway."   Kohlberg's stages of the development of moral and political reasoning.

Kohlberg's work is laid out in two of my book chapters, one on the sequence itself and the other on what the various stages look like in actual societies.

1/26 Hindmoor Ch. 1
3

1/29

Hindmoor Ch. 2

1/31

Hindmoor Ch. 4

Game theory:

Related readings:

  • J. D. Williams (1986, rev. ed) The Compleat Strategyst: Being a Primer on the Theory of Games of Strategy.  NY:  Dover.  [This is an excellent introduction to game theory:  easy and fun.  It is a bit dated at this point, but for us it's fine.]

2/2

Hindmoor Ch. 4
4
2/5

Hindmoor Ch. 5

Essay due

2/7

Hindmoor Ch. 5

2/9

Hindmoor Ch. 5
5

2/12

Hindmoor Ch. 9
2/14

Hindmoor Ch. 9

2/16

Overflow / study day

[I will be available in the classroom for questions about the exam, but there will be no quiz and there are no assigned readings.]

6

2/19

Exam 1 & study guide

2/21

CLASSICAL LIBERALISM

Bronner Ch. 1 — Habermas

2/23

Bronner Ch. 1 — Habermas
7

2/26

Bronner Ch. 1 — Rawls

2/28

Bronner Ch. 1 — Rawls (cont.)

3/2

Bronner Ch. 2 —Yet more Rawls
8

3/5

Bronner Ch. 1 — Rawls, Rawls, Rawls

Essay due

3/7 Bronner Ch. 2 — Putnam

3/9

Bronner Ch. 2 —Arendt

SPRING BREAK

9

3/19

VARIOUS MARXISMS

Presentation of Marxian theory

3/21

3/23

10

3/26

Yet more Marx

Essay due

3/28

Bronner Ch. 7 — Gramsci
Bronner Ch. 7 — Lenin

3/30

Exam 2 & study guide
11

4/2

CRITICAL THEORY

Guest lecture on sexuality and "one-dimensional man"

Bronner Ch. 10 — Marcuse

4/4 Bronner Ch. 10 — Horkheimer
4/6 Bronner Ch. 10 — Pollock
12
4/9

Bronner Ch. 10 — Adorno

Essay due

4/11 MIDWEST POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING;  NO CLASS
4/13 MIDWEST POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING;  NO CLASS
13
4/16 MIDWEST POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING;  NO CLASS
4/18

Bronner Ch. 13 — Lyotard

4/20 Bronner Ch. 13 — Butler
14
4/23 Bronner Ch. 13 — Said
4/25 Bronner Ch. 11 — DuBois
4/27 Bronner Ch. 11 — X
15
4/30 Bronner Ch. 11 — West

Essay due

5/2

 

5/4

Bronner Ch. 9 — Gandhi

Final exam posted after class

 
Tuesday, May 8, 2007:  Final exam and final essay due in my office or department mailbox by 4:00.  (You are, of course, free to hand it in earlier.)
Saturday, May 12, 2007:  All grades are posted on the web today.

Disability statement
Incompletes & extensions
Respect

I am committed to being your firm ally in your education.  I'm interested in you, not just your talents as a political analyst.   Lots of things happen to students outside of school that nevertheless affect their ability to learn and perform.  And so I know that every student, without exception, has always done the best s/he could, if all the circumstances are taken into account.   This includes you.  Therefore, if you have trouble figuring out what to study, or if you study hard and get a bad grade on an exam or assignment anyway, or things simply aren't going well in your life, come and talk to me.  Please don't just suffer in silence!


URL:   http://www.d.umn.edu/~schilton/3652/3652.Syl.2007.Spring.current.html
Author:  Stephen Chilton [emailLast Modified:  2007-03-26
Honor Roll  |  UMD  |  Pol Sci Department

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