Skip to main content

Political Theory - PS 110 through 119

110A. Citizens and Saints: Political Thought from Plato to Augustine (4)

This course focuses on the development of politics and political thought in ancient Greece, its evolution through Rome and the rise of Christianity. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Machiavelli, and others.

110B. Sovereigns, Subjects and the Modern State: Political Thought from Machiavelli to Rousseau (4)

The course deals with the period which marks the rise and triumph of the modern state. Central topics include the gradual emergence of human rights and the belief in individual autonomy. Readings from Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and others.

110C. Revolution and Reaction: Political Thought from Kant to Nietzsche (4)

The course deals with the period which marks the triumph and critique of the modern state. Central topics include the development of the idea of class, of the irrational, of the unconscious, and of rationalized authority as they affect politics. Readings drawn from Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and others.

110DA. Freedom and Discipline: Political Thought in the Twentieth Century (4)

This course addresses certain problems which are characteristic of the political experience of the twentieth century. Topics considered are revolution, availability of tradition, and the problems of the rationalization of social and political relations. Readings from Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, Lenin, Gramsci, Dewey, Oakeshott, Arendt, Merleau-Ponty.

110EA. American Political Thought from Revolution to Civil War (4)

The first quarter examines the origins and development of American political thought from the revolutionary period to the end of the nineteenth century with special emphasis on the formative role of eighteenth-century liberalism and the tensions between "progressive" and "conservative" wings of the liberal consensus.

110EB. American Political Thought from Civil War to Civil Rights (4)

The first quarter examines the origins and development of American political thought from the revolutionary period to the end of the nineteenth century with special emphasis on the formative role of eighteenth-century liberalism and the tensions between "progressive" and "conservative" wings of the liberal consensus.

110EC. American Political Thought: Contemporary Debates (4)

This course explores contemporary issues in American political thought. Topics may include liberalism and rights, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, cultural diversity, and the boundaries of modern citizenship. Readings include political pamphlets, philosophical treatises, court decisions, and works of literature.

110ED. Seminar in American Political Thought (4)

This seminar explores debates over ideals, institutions and identities in American political thought. Themes and topics will vary. Readings will include political pamphlets, philosophical treatises, court decisions and works of literature.

110F. Critical Reasoning & Consumption (4)

All students will encounter evidence throughout their lives. Some is reliable - some is not. While reports are sometimes diligent & careful, others are poorly conceived or deliberately misleading. As critical consumers, it is our responsibility to distinguish between the two. This course aims to provide the tools needed for this evaluation. Each week covers a particular fallacy. After learning about abstract principles, we will examine their applications to contemporary and historical examples.

110G. International Political Thought (4)

This course explores theories of politics which are oriented beyond state borders.  Key topics include international order, cosmopolitanism, human rights, just war, global justice, mitigation, citizenship, identity, and commercial society.  The course examines thinkers from classical antiquity to contemporary times.

110H. Democracy and Its Critics (4)

This course will examine the historical development of the ideal of democracy from Periclean Athens to the present in the light of criticism by such thinkers as Plato, Tocqueville, and Mosca and difficulties encountered in efforts to realize the ideal.

110J. Power in American Society (4)

This course examines how power has been conceived and contested during the course of American history. The course explores the changes which have occurred in political rhetoric and strategies as America has moved from a relatively isolated agrarian and commercial republic to a military and industrial empire.

110K. Liberty and Equality (4)

Leading political theories of liberal democracy since 1950.  What is the meaning of political liberty?  Political equality is the equality of what?  Course will consider thinkers such as J.S. Mill, Berlin, Rawls, Dworkin, Taylor, Sen, Nussbaum, G. Cohen, Petit.

110M. Green Political Thought (4)

Leading theories of environmental justice, ethics, and politics since 1960.  Thinkers such as Dauvergne, Dobson, Dryzek, Eckersley, Latour, Plumwood, and Simon on ecosystems, climate change, sustainability, preservation, human welfare, nonhuman animals, place, feminism, state, market, and green political movements.

110T. Modern Political Ideologies (4)

An examination of some of the ideas and values associated with major social and political movements in Europe and the United States since the French Revolution. Topics will vary and may include liberalism, populism, democracy, communism, nationalism, fascism, and feminism.

111B. Global Justice/Theory and Action (4)

Discuss the idea of justice from multiple perspectives: theory, philosophy, institutions, markets, social mobilization, politics, environment.  Examine the assets and capabilities of diverse justice-seeking organizations and movements aimed at improving quality of life and place locally, regionally and globally.

111D. Changing Harmful Social Norms (4)

Study of types of social norms and practices, and how to change them. Illustrated with development examples such as the end of footbinding, female genital cutting, urban violence in Colombia, Serbian student revolution, early marriage and other adverse gender norms.

112A. Economic Theories of Political Behavior (4)

An introduction to theories of political behavior developed with the assumptions and methods of economics. General emphasis will be upon theories linking individual behavior to institutional patterns. Specific topics to be covered will include collective action, leadership, voting, and bargaining.

112C. Political Theory and Artistic Vision (4)

This course explores the modes of political thinking found in arts, especially in drama and literature. May include ends and means, political leadership, and poplitical economy.

113A. East Asian Thought in Comparative Perspective (4)

This course examines the major traditions of East Asian thought in comparative perspective. Topics include Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and contemporary nationalist and East Asian political thought. Throughout, focused comparisons and contrasts will be made between Western and Eastern thought.

113B. Chinese and Japanese Political Thought (I) (4)

An examination of the competing philosophical traditions of ancient and modern China and Japan, with an eye toward understanding how these have been reflected in Chinese and Japanese development. Readings and class sessions will be in English, although students with Chinese or Japanese language capability will be given the opportunity to use their special skills.

113C. Chinese and Japanese Political Thought (II) (4)

A continuation of 113B which follows political philosophical themes in China and Japan through the twentieth century. Important topics will include Buddhism and Confucianism as they changed in each context in response to internal and external stimuli. Prerequisite: PS 113B.

114B. Marxist Political Thought (4)

An introduction to Marxist thought from its roots in the western tradition through its development in non-western contexts. Emphasis is placed on how adaptations were made in Marxism to accommodate the specific challenges of each environment.

115A. Gender and Politics (4)

Our understanding of politics, power, conflict, and quality continue to be challenged and transformed by considering gender as it intersects with nationality, race, class, and ethnicity. We will consider the importance of gender in each of the subfields of political science.

117. Bending the Curve: Solutions to Climate Change (4)

Climate change is an urgent global problem affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people now, and for the foreseeable future. This course will empower students to confront climate change as critical actors to innovate creative cross-disciplinary solutions. Cross-listed with SIO 109.

117R. Bending the Curve (Online): Solutions to Climate Change (4)

This online course focuses on developing urgent climate change solutions that integrate technology, policy and governance, finance, land-use, and social/educational dimensions. Students may only receive credit for one of the following: POLI 117, POLI 117R, SIO 109, or SIO 109R. Cross-listed with SIO 109R.


118. Game Theory in Political Science (4)

This course introduces students to game theory and its uses in political science. Topics covered include the concepts of Nash equilibrium, dominant strategies, subgame perfection and backwards induction, and the applications of those concepts to the study of voting, electoral competition, public goods provision, legislatures, and collective action. An emphasis is placed on developing students' analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills through weekly problem sets and in-class exercises.

118B. The Political Theory of Liberation Theology (4)

A comparative study of liberation theologies, including Continental, Latin American, South African, and East Asian.

119A. Special Topics in Political Theory (4)

An undergraduate course designed to cover various aspects of political theory. May be repeated for credit two times, provided each course is a separate topic, for a maximum of twelve units.

More Courses: