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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PL 210-2"
COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Political Theory "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Camil Roman
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30-5:45 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS: MW: 7.15 - 8.15 pm or by appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
An introduction to the history of political thought, from Ancient Greece to the 19th century. Through a close reading of selected canonical texts, students will examine the evolution of ideas about democracy, liberty, equality, justice, political authority, the social contract, different conceptions of human nature and the role of the individual in society. The theorists examined may include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
This course introduces the students to some of the most significant texts and events in the history of the Western world, from antiquity up until the 19th century modernity. It is organized around four parts, interspersed with 5 "reflection classes". The purpose of this arrangement is to familiarize the students with the chronology and content of events and texts that were arguably the "ground zero" in the making of the Western world, but also to organize the material around substantive discussions and moments that introduce a certain verticality in the process of learning, allowing for further comparative reflection towards central questions regarding what it means to be human. The first part deals with classic texts around the trial and execution of Socrates. The second part takes on another watershed moment of history, the trial and execution of Jesus, introducing students to central ideas and moments of the Gospels. The third part focuses on the most iconic experience in the history of Western political modernity, the French revolution and more specifically the trial and execution of Louis XVI, elaborating on key speeches at the king's trial. Finally, the last part revisits the ambience and context of the already undertaken readings, by being organized around classic texts in the history of political thought - ancient Greek, Christian and modern - that offer highly significant contributions to our understanding of political experiences and symbols, from antiquity to the 19th century.  
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
The aim is that at the end of this course, the students will

1) be familiar with some of the most important events and texts in the history of political thought.
2) have the reflexive ability to engage different historical contexts, escaping a taken for granted moderno-centrist conceptual mind-frame, and think comparatively across epochs.
3) be able to recognize old discussions in "new clothes", and hence understand easier central issues of political thinking and concrete political problems, in their relation to all spheres of life. 
4) develop their capacity to write essays and formulate cogent arguments of increasing complexity.   
TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
FINAL EXAMThe exam will comprise questions covering definitions of concepts (short answers) and open questions (essays) that require theoretical argumentation. Further instructions in class.30%
FIRST ASSIGNMENT (CLASS 8)ESSAY OF 1800- 2000 WORDS, ON A TOPIC CHOSEN FROM A SET OF QUESTIONS SHARED WITH YOU A WEEK AND A HALF IN ADVANCE. OF THE THREE ASSIGNMENTS, YOUR BEST ASSIGNMENT WILL BE MARKED WITH 25% AND YOUR WORSE WITH 15%. Excellent essays will formulate a convincing argument that will be well- organized and written as clearly as possible. Your answers will be marked according to the following criteria: documentation and presentation of material (35%), logical structure of the argument (35%) and depth and content of research (30%). Further instructions in class.25%
SECOND ASSIGNMENT (CLASS 15)SAME AS FIRST ASSIGNMENT20%
THIRD ASSIGNMENT (CLASS 22)SAME AS FIRST ASSIGNMENT 15%
CLASS PARTICIPATIONAttendance and participation to discussions are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to learn how to ask good questions and provide thoughtful answers. You have 3 excused absences. Each extra absence will lower your final attendance grade by 10%. There will be the possibility of cancelling out your unexcused absences by writing an extra assignment. However, more than 10 unexcused absences may result in failure to pass the course.10%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AND EXAMINATION POLICY
You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THEORY

(I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MINOR CHANGES TO THE SYLLABUS)

 

WEEK 1
 

Class 1  Introduction to Political Theory

 

Class 2  Reflection 1: Anthropos as sacred demos, modern and ancient:

 

                                    “Pericles’ Funeral Oration”

    https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/pericles-funeralspeech.asp

 

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

                                               

http://www.greatamericandocuments.com/speeches/lincoln-gettysburg.html

 

PART I: The trial and execution of Socrates

WEEK 2

Class 3   Aristophanes’ Clouds, from Plato’s Four Texts on Socrates

                                    Library Reserve                   

  Class 4   Plato’s Apology, from Plato’s Four Texts on Socrates 

                                                            Library Reserve

 

WEEK 3

Class 5    Crito, from Plato’s Four Texts on Socrates                        

                                                            Library Reserve

 
Class 6    Reflection 2: Anthropos and divination:


                        
Cicero, On Divination, Book 1 and 2

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cicero/de_Divinatione/home.html


   OR: Cicero, On Divination, Book 1  

Frohring e-book, editor David Wardle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006)

             

PART II: The trial and execution of Jesus

 
WEEK 4

  Class 7  New Testament, Matthew V, XIII; XXII, 1-22; John I, 1-18, Acts II

  https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Revised-Standard-Version-RSV-Bible/#booklist

Class 8  New Testament, Romans I, VII, VIII, XIII, Galatians I; II, III, Revelation

XX, XXI, XXII

https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Revised-Standard-Version-RSV-Bible/#booklist

  

SUBMISSION OF FIRST ASSIGNMENT (CLASS 8)

 
WEEK 5

  Class 9   New Testament, John XVIII, XIX

https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Revised-Standard-Version-RSV-Bible/#booklist

                      
Weiler, J.H.H. - The trial of Jesus

                        at:  https://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/06/the-trial-of-jesus  

 

Class 10   Reflection 3: Anthropos in the tension towards the divine

 

                        Eric Voegelin, Immortality: experience and symbol

The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Jul., 1967), pp. 235-279.

 

PART III: The trial and execution of Louis XVI


WEEK 6

  Class 11                 Speech of Saint Just, 13 November 1792

                                       Speech of Thomas Paine, 21 November 1792

                                        Speech of Robespierre, 3 December 1792

                                        Speech of Condorcet, 3 December 1792

 

all in: Walzer, Michael (ed.) 1992. Regicide and Revolution. Speeches at the Trial of Louis XVI , New York: Columbia University Press

                                                Library Reserve

 

Class 12                  Speech of Saint Just, 27 December 1792

                                        Speech of Robespierre, 28 December 1792

                                        Speech of Vergniaud, 31 December 1792

 

all in: Walzer, Michael (ed.) 1992. Regicide and Revolution. Speeches at the Trial of Louis XVI , New York: Columbia University Press

                                                Library Reserve

           

WEEK 7

  Class 13  Reflection 4: Anthropos and the loss of reality

                   
 
Albert Camus, The Rebel, excerpts from Part II (Metaphysical Rebellion) and Part III (Historical Rebellion)

                                               Library Reserve 

 

PART IV: POLITICAL EXPERIENCES / POLITICAL SYMBOLS

 

Class 14          Aristotle, Politics, Book I and Book III

                                                Library Reserve and E-book (SEE END BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR OPTIONS)

 WEEK 8

 

Class 15          Aristotle, Politics, Book IV, chs.1-13 (Barker translation)  OR Book VI, chs. 1-13 (Simpson translation)

                                   Library Reserve and E-book (SEE END BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR OPTIONS)

 

SUBMISSION OF SECOND ASSIGNMENT (CLASS 15)

 

  Class 16    Saint Augustine - Book XI, Book XIV, Book XV, Book XVI

                                               
Frohring Library e-book: The City of God, Books VIII-XVI, Catholic University of America Press (editors Walsh and Monahan)

 
WEEK 9

  Class 17   Saint Augustine Book XIX, XXII

                       
Frohring Library e-book: 
The City of God, Books XVII-XXII, Catholic University of America Press (editors Walsh and Honan)

                                      

  Class 18      Machiavelli, The Prince, Dedicatory Letter, AND chapters I-VII

                                                            Library Reserve and E-book  (SEE END BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR OPTIONS)

                                        

WEEK 10

  Class 19         Machiavelli, The Prince, chapters VIII-XV

                                                             Library Reserve and E-book (SEE END BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR OPTIONS)


Class 20         Machiavelli, The Prince, chapters XVI-XXI, AND chapters XXV-XXVI

             Library Reserve and E-book (SEE END BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR OPTIONS)
            

 
WEEK 11

  Class 21         Rousseau, Discourse on the origins of inequality, plus notes

                                    Frohring Library e-book


Class 22
           Rousseau, Discourse on the origins of inequality, plus notes

                                               Frohring Library e-book

SUBMISSION OF THIRD ASSIGNMENT (CLASS 22)

 
WEEK 12

           Class 23        Reflection 5: Anthropos and the Enlightenment

                                               Kant: What is Enlightenment?

                                                http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/CCREAD/etscc/kant.html

 
Foucault: What is Enlightenment?     

https://www.libarts.colostate.edu/leap/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/01/Foucault-What-is-enlightenment.pdf


 
Class 24      Alexis de Tocqueville, The Ancien Regime and the Revolution, excerpts  

  Library Reserve

 

WEEK 13

  Class 25         Nietszche, Beyond Good and Evil, Author’s Preface and chapter “Natural History of Morals”

                                                           Library Reserve

 

Class 26          Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, chapter “Our Virtues”

                                                     Library Reserve

WEEK 14

  Class 27         Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, chapter “What is Noble"
     
                                                       Library Reserve

  Class 28         Final remarks

 
                               
FINAL EXAM


BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Plato, Four Texts on Socrates, trans. West, Cornell University Press 1984 (Library Reserve)


2. Aristotle, Politics,

a.) edited by Peter L. Phillips Simpson, The University of North Carolina Press 1997 (Frohring e-book) 

   OR:      
b) trans. Sir Ernest Barker, Clarendon Press 1968 (Library Reserve)


3. The Bible, Revised Standard Version

https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Revised-Standard-Version-RSV-Bible/#booklist


4. Walzer, M. (ed.) 1992. Regicide and Revolution. Speeches at the Trial of Louis XVI , New York: Columbia University Press

(Library Reserve)


5. Albert Camus, The Rebel, London, H. Hamilton (1953), trans. Bower (Library Reserve)


6. Saint Augustine, The City of God, Books VIII-XVI, Catholic University of America Press 2008,  editors Walsh and Monahan, 
       
(Frohring e-book) 

7. Saint Augustine, The City of God, Books XVII-XXII, Catholic University of America Press 2008, editors Walsh and Honan, 

(Frohring e-book)

8. Machiavelli, The Prince,

a) trans. Peter E. Bondanella, Oxford University Press 2005 (Frohring e-book) 

    OR:     b) trans. George Bull, Penguin Books, 2006 (Library Reserve)

9. Alexis de Tocqueville, The Ancien Regime and the French revolution. Cambridge University Press, 2011 (Frohring e-book)

10. Jean Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, The Floating Press 2009 (Frohring e-book)

11. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Oxford University Press 1998 (Frohring e-book)

12. “Pericles’ Funeral Oration”

https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/pericles-funeralspeech.asp


13.
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

http://www.greatamericandocuments.com/speeches/lincoln-gettysburg.html


14. Cicero, On Divination, Book 1 and 2

a) http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cicero/de_Divinatione/home.html

    OR:     b) ed. David Wardle, Oxford University Press 2006 (Frohring e-book)

15. Weiler, J.H.H. - The trial of Jesus

 https://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/06/the-trial-of-jesus

16. Eric Voegelin, Immortality: experience and symbol

The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Jul., 1967), pp. 235-279.

17. Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?

http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/CCREAD/etscc/kant.html

18. Michel Foucault: What is Enlightenment?

           a) https://www.libarts.colostate.edu/leap/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/01/Foucault-What-is-enlightenment.pdf

 
OR:    b) in The Foucault Reader, editor Paul Rabinow, Pantheon Books 1984 (Library Reserve)