Workshop on Twentieth Century Political Thought

Course Description: 

This course will introduce the participants to seminal texts in political thought from the second half of 20th century. The assigned readings venture beyond the confines of "democracy theory" and ask more fundamental questions, such as the following:

 

·         What is politics? What is the political?

·         What is political thought/theory/philosophy?

·         Are humans political animals? What are anthropological foundations of man’s existence in society?

·         What are the perennial constants of the political? And what are the basic characteristics of modern or postmodern politics?

·         What does a good and just order look like? 

·         What is political liberty?

·         What is totalitarian politics?

·         What are 20th century forms of authority and control?

·         What is politics under the conditions of globalization and multiculturalism?

·         What is politics under the conditions of mass society, consumerism, and advanced technology?

·         What is the gender dimension of modern politics?

The course has an experimental format. It takes place on six consecutive days in May 2020 (exact date tba); students will not have have for other activities in this period. It is therefore especially recommended for 2year MA students in their first year of studies. Students don’t have to prepare in advance, rather they will be given sufficient reading time on each day. The common discussion of the texts will follow immediately after students have read them.

Enrollment: Students from all departments are welcome. The maximum number of participants is fifteen. 

Learning Outcomes: 

The courses is an exercise in comprehending and interpreting challenging theoretical texts. Students will learn to identify key ideas, concepts, and questions and to situate texts in larger discourses. The course has a strong interactive component and will require all students to make active contribution to class discussion by voicing, challenging, and defending arguments. Thus, students will benefit from the acquired interpretive and discursive skills beyond the specific contents of the course.

 

Assessment: 

Regular attendance is mandatory in all classes. A student who misses more than two units (two 100 min sessions) in any 2 or 4 credit class without a verified reason beyond the student's control must submit an 8-10 page paper assigned by the professors which as a rule should cover the material in the missed class. The paper is due no later than 3 weeks after the missed class. 

The grade is composed of:

1.  A short 10 minute presentation, providing biographical and historical context about one of the thinkers and formulating questions for the common discussion (20%)
2.  This is a discussion-intensive class. Therefore, class participation makes up a significant part of the grade (40%).  
3. A 1500 word essay about one of the texts, including contextual information on the author and a protocol of the class discussion, to be submitted ten days after the end of the course (40%)