P O L I T I C A L   T H E O R Y

FALL 1998  (POL 335)
LIVINGSTONE COLLEGE
SALISBURY, NC 28144


INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Robert Williams CLASS ROOM: Tubman Bldg., Rm. 208
CLASS TIMES: M/W/F: 3–3:50 pm

OFFICE: Tubman Bldg., Rm. 202 TELEPHONE: 704.638.5614
OFFICE HOURS: Mon.,Fri.: 10–12 noon E-MAIL: Robert Williams
4net Mon.–Fri.: 4–5 pm


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Prof. Williams' homepage


Livingstone College
COURSE TABLE OF CONTENTS   [toc]
prerequisites textbook description
objectives requirements outline
policies bibliography internet links




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There are no prerequisites for this course—except
an interest in critically engaging the texts.


COURSE  PREREQUISITES
[ T O C ]
Classics in Moral and Political Theory, 2nd Ed. (edited by Michael Morgan and published by Hackett) is the required textbook for the class. It is available at Livingstone College's student book store.


REQUIRED  TEXTBOOK
[ T O C ]
Understanding how the (political) world functions is not simply a matter of explaining what exists. Equally important, we must attempt to understand what should be. Political theory as a subdiscipline of political science seeks to examine critically the philosophical justifications for the polity. Why does the polity exist? What should be the political role of individuals? What should be the role of political institutions (like the different levels of government)? Is there a natural or a social basis for the polity? Asking those questions has led political theorists to interrogate the legitimacy of political authority in both democratic or non-democratic political systems.

Many authors over many centuries have responded in diverse ways to such questions. Their answers range from the justification of existing polities to the proposed creation of new ones. During this semester we can only address a few of the political theories that have been put forward. Yet the course should prove fascinating, for the texts are interesting, often provocative; they will prompt rich discussions, challenging all of us to (re)examine our political assumptions and even to explore further afield.


COURSE  DESCRIPTION
This course will provide us with the intellectual tools by which to critically interrogate the varied attempts to justify government and its political authority. The following set of interwoven issues creates a framework via which we can examine the various authors and their theories, and by which we can compare them and their often tension-filled arguments with each other.

  1. Is the polity natural or societal in origins? (That is, does it arise from the natural order of things or from the social—and hence, artificial—relationships of humans? Is there some combination of the two present in an authorís understanding of politics?)
  2. What is the nature of the individual human in the authorís view? An atomistic entity? A citizen in a community? A part (maybe cog) in a larger social order?
  3. What are the goals of a polity? What is the good that is to be achieved? Or phrased differently, what—whose?—interests does the polity serve?
  4. What is the nature of power? Who should have the legitimate authority to make political decisions? What are the obligations of the power wielders to the citizens/subjects?
  5. What issues are considered to be political (and therefore subject to public debate)? What issues are deemed to be private (and thus left to individuals to decide)?
  6. Who should participate in political life (and thereby, in political decision making)?

COURSE  OBJECTIVES
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Students will be evaluated primarily on the basis of short (two-page) papers that must be submitted for each of the assigned texts. (Note that we will read several texts by Plato). These papers will cover all of the topics/questions listed in the previous section. The papers must be typed/printed. They must be submitted before, or at the beginning of, the class session in which the text will be discussed. Turning in an assignment after its announced date and time of submission will negatively affect a studentís grade (including, but not limited to, the dropping of a letter grade for each day that an assignment is late).

In addition, a take-home final exam will be given in which the student will compare the different theories and theorists. Sample final exam questions can be perused.

Also, attendance and class participation in discussions will be factored into the student's final grade.

Please note that I do not foreclose the possibility of unannounced, in-class quizzes—especially in those instances where discussion lags or the assigned readings have not been completed on the scheduled day.

The following table specifies the course requirements and the respective weight that each has for the studentís final course grade:
Written Assignments
  (for each of the required texts)
50 %
Final Exam 30 %
Attendance and Class Participation 20 %

COURSE  REQUIREMENTS



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We will proceed through the following list of required readings in the order listed. Adjustments to particular selections (e.g., assigned pages) or to the scheduled day for discussion of a text may be made as appropriate. Please note that the discussions of most of the readings will span more than one class session. The selections and works will be found in the required textbook.
1st day • Welcome to the Course
• Discussion of the syllabus
2nd day • What is political theory?
• Why are they called "classics?"
2nd week • How do we "read" the texts of political theory?
• Discussion of resources for the study of political theory (including Internet- and computer-based resources)
3rd week Sophocles
• "Antigone"
4th week Plato
• "Apology"
• "Crito"
The Republic (selections)
5th week Aristotle
Politics (selections)
6th week NiccolÚ Machiavelli
The Prince
7th week Thomas Hobbes
Leviathan (selections)
8th week John Locke
Second Treatise on Government (selections)
9th week David Hume
Treatise of Human Nature (selections)
10th week Rousseau
On the Social Contract (selections)
11th week John Stuart Mill
On Liberty (selections)
12th week Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Manifesto of the Communist Party
13th week Friedrich Nietzsche
Beyond Good and Evil (selections)
14th week Summarizing and Ruminations
• Themes of the course
• The future of political theory
Final Exam Due during the officially scheduled day set by the Dean's office. Examples of final exam questions for this class can be perused.
COURSE  OUTLINE
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The following texts are useful secondary sources.

Agger, Ben. 1998. Critical Social Theories: An Introduction. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Arato, Andrew & Eike Gebhardt (eds.). 1978. The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. NY: Urizen Books.

Ashcraft, Richard. 1984. "Marx and Political Theory." Comparative Studies in Society and History, 26:4 (October): 637-671.

Ashley, David. 1997. History without a Subject: The Postmodern Condition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Avineri, Shlomo. 1968. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.

Barrett, MichŤle. 1991. The Politics of Truth: From Marx to Foucault. Stanford: Stanford U.P.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 1988. Freedom. Concepts in Social Thought. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Bellamy, Richard (ed.). 1993. Theories and Concepts of Politics: An Introduction. Manchester: Manchester U.P.

Berlin, Isiah. 1969. Four Essays on Liberty. Oxford: Oxford U.P.

Bernstein, Richard J. 1976. The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Bowie Norman E. & Robert L. Simon. 1998. The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy, 3rd. Ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Bronner, Stephen Eric. 1994. Of Critical Theory and Its Theorists. Oxford: Blackwell.

Cassirer, Ernst. 1951 [1932]. The Philosophy of the Enlightenment. Transl. by Fritz Koelln and James Pettegrove. Princeton, NJ: Princeton U.P.

Dryzek, John S. 1990. Discursive Democracy: Politics, Policy, and Political Science. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.

Dryzek, John S. 1996. Democracy in Capitalist Times: Ideals, Limits, and Struggles. NY: Oxford U.P.

Farr, James & Raymond Seidelman (eds.). 1993. Discipline and History: Political Science in the United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Freeden, Michael. 1991. Rights. Concepts in Social Thought. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Galston, William. 1993. "Political Theory in the 1980s: Perplexity amidst Diversity." Pp. 27-53 in Ada W. Finifter (ed.), Political Science: The State of the Discipline II. Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.

Gottlieb, Roger (ed.). 1993. Radical Philosophy: Tradition, Counter-Tradition, Politics. Philadelphia: Temple U.P.

Grimshaw, Jean. 1986. Philosophy and Feminist Thinking. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Gunnell, John. 1993. The Descent of Political Theory: Genealogy of an American Vocation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Howard, Dick. 1988. The Politics of Critique. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

hooks, bell. 1984. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Boston: South End Press.

Lefebvre. Henri. 1969 [1966]. The Sociology of Marx. Transl. by Norbert Guterman. NY: Vintage Books.

Macpherson, C.B. 1962. The Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke. Oxford: Oxford U.P.

Mannheim, Karl. 1936. Ideology and Utopia. Transl. by Louis Wirth and Edward Shils. NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

March, James G. and Johan P. Olsen. 1995. Democratic Governance. NY: The Free Press.

Miller, David. 1990. "The Resurgence of Political Theory." Political Studies, 38:3 (September): 421-437.

Outhwaite, William. 1987. New Philosophies of Social Science: Realism, Hermeneutics and Critical Theory. NY: St. Martin's Press.

Palmer, Bryan D. 1990. Descent into Discourse: The Reification of Language and the Writing of Social History. Philadelphia: Temple U.P.

Passmore, John. 1970. Philosophical Reasoning, 2nd Edition. London: Duckworth.

Pateman, Carole. 1970. Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.

Peterson, Richard T. 1996. Democratic Philosophy and the Politics of Knowledge. University Park: Pennsylvania State U.P.

Pocock, J.G.A. 1971. Politics, Language and Time: Essays in Political Thought and History. NY: Atheneum.

Petit, Philip (Ed.). 1991. Contemporary Political Theory. NY: Macmillan.

Portis, Edward Bryan. 1998. Reconstructing the Classics: Political Theory from Plato to Marx, 2nd ed. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House.

Ricouer, Paul. 1986. Lectuers on Ideology and Utopia.
Ed. by George H. Taylor. NY: Columbia U.P.

Riesenberg, Peter. 1992. Citizenship in the Western Tradition: Plato to Rousseau. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Saxenhouse, Arlene. 1993. "Text and Canons: The Status of "Great Books" in Political Science." Pp. 3-26 in Ada W. Finifter (ed.), Political Science: The State of the Discipline II. Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.

Sayer, Derek. 1983. Marx's Method: Ideology, Science, and Critique in 'Capital,' 2nd Ed. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

Shaney, Mary Lyndon and Carole Pateman (eds.). 1991. Feminist Interpretations and Political Theory. University Park: Pennsylvania State U.P.

Skinner, Quentin (ed.). 1985. The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences. Cambridge U.P.

Strauss, Leo & Joseph Cropsey (ed.). 1972. History of Political Philosophy, 2nd. ed. Chicago: Rand McNally College Publishing.

Wolin, Sheldon. 1960. Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought. Boston: Little, Brown.

Wolin, Sheldon. 1969. "Political Theory as a Vocation." American Political Science Review, 63:4 (December):
1062-1082.

Wood, Ellen Meiskins. 1995. Democracy against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.

Wood, Neal. 1978. "The Social History of Political Theory." Political Theory, 6:3 (August): 345-367.

Wood, Neal. 1980. "Thomas Hobbes and the Crisis of the English Aristocracy." History of Political Thought, 1:3 (December): 437-452.

COURSE  BIBLIOGRAPHY




























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In this section one will find several relevant political theory Web sites (out of a massively expanding universe of Internet sites). The links have been annotated so as to offer some insight into the information, data, and sources that each Web page contains. A useful, but unannotated list of Web sites can be viewed at the professor's links page to political science sites in general or to political theory sites in particular.

American Political Science Association
(http://www.apsanet.org/)
This is the site of the professional organization for political scientists in the U.S.A., the American Political Science Association. It provides links to various resources (related organizations, funding, and the APSA's Organized Sections), and to content (news, announcements, available jobs, and official publications) as it pertains to the profession. Timely information can be located here.
Date reviewed: March 6, 1999

Books On-Line
(http://www.cs.cmu.edu/books.html)
This is an excellent, links-intensive personal page of John Mark Ockerbloom, and hosted at Carnegie Mellon University. It covers a wide range of books, periodicals, documents, and primary sources that are available online. Turn to this site for those hard-to-locate e-texts in the areas of literature, culture, and political and social philosophy.
Date reviewed: March 6, 1999.

The Feminist Theory Website
(http://www.cddc.vt.edu/feminism/enin.html)
The author of this site, Dr. Kristin Switala, teaches in the Philosophy Department of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She has assembled an array of materials, designed to provide "research materials and information for students, activists, and scholars interested in women's conditions and struggles around the world." This is an impressive undertaking, which incorporates a massive number of pages to individual feminist theorists, often combining content (summaries, biographies, and bibliographies) with links to online resources. The site also contains extensive bibliographies of feminist theories applied to different areas (education, epistemology, the body, culture, religion, etc.). This valuable resource deserves wide recognition.
Date last reviewed: May 6, 1999.

Foundations of Political Theory
(http://www.apsanet.org/~theory/)
The Foundations of Political Thought is an Organized Section of political philosophers within the American Political Science Association. It was developed by Jacob Levy (Princeton University). The site offers some links to texts and courses, but it is primarily a clearinghouse for information and announcements for political theorists.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

H-GIG Intellectual History
(http://www.ucr.edu/h-gig/hist-topics/intel.html)
The Department of History at the University of California, Riverside, has developed a site that is part of the overall Horus Web site on intellectual history. It is a links-intensive site that covers American intellectual history, both inside and outside of the Western canon (including the Black Athena debate). It links to sites containing primary and secondary materials (articles, class lectures, web pages dealing with themes, and thinkers). One can visit this quite useful page with profit.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999

Hume Archives
(http://www.utm.edu/research/hume/hume.html)
The site is administered by Jim Fieser and hosted at The University of Tennessee at Martin. It "houses" a number of e-texts written by David Hume, as well as works written about him (especially 18th and 19th Century ones). This is a worth investigating to find those hard-to-locate materials on and by Hume.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

ILTweb Academic Study Places—Philosophy and Education
(http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/academic/spaces/ philosophy/index.html)
Robbie McClintock, a Professor of History and Education at the Teachers College, Columbia University, has develeped this particular web page. The site is part of Columbia University's on-going project, the Institute for Learning Technologies (ILT); it intends to create an online "Study Space" (as they call it) where one can learn about philosphers and philosophies. You will find short biographies of thinkers ranging from Aristotle, Bentham, and Berkeley to Hegel, Hobbes, Locke, and John Stuart Mill. The thinkers are situated within a philosophical context to facilitate understanding of their significance. At the site you will also find links to online texts and to other resources (like glossaries of theoretical terms). The site is quite interesting and useful for those seeking an overview of the philosophers.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Keele Guide to Political Thought on the Internet
(http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/por/ptbase.htm)
The University of Keele's Department of Political Science sponsors this site. It covers a wide scope of reources, spanning individual thinkers (for example, Hegel, Burke, Plato, as well as Chomsky and Bakunin) and philosophical traditions (such as liberalism, Marxism, objectivism, and green thought). It also includes links to sites representing various political organizations, and to online texts. This is a good site filled with resources.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Liberty Library of Constitutional Classics
(http://www.constitution.org/liberlib.htm)
The site is sponsored by The Constitution Society, which is "a private non-profit organization dedicated to research and public education on the principles of constitutional republican government." Available at the site are varied political treatises and primary sources, from the Magna Carta and Plato to American and European thinkers.
Date reviewed: March 6, 1999.

The Marx-Engels Internet Archive
(http://csf.colorado.edu/psn/marx/)
Ken Campbell is the "Marx/Engels Internet Archivist." The site contains links to online material written by Marx and/or Engels, as well as by Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, among others. Biogaphical sketches by their contemporaries, as well as Lenin are also accessible. You can avail yourself of its search capabilities. This is a good, one-stop source of many classic documents.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

The Nietzsche Page
(http://www.usc.edu/dept/annenberg/thomas/nietzsche.html)
Sponsored by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications, the site is maintained by Douglas Thomas. It offers biographies, bibliographies, online texts, organizations, teaching resources, and scholarship on Nietzsche. The site is a good starting place for your research on Nietzsche.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Plato and His Dialogues
(http://phd.evansville.edu/plato.htm)
Bernard Suzanne authored this site, which is hosted at the University of Evansville. This site presents Suzanne's interpretation of the Platonic dialogues. It is an on-going project that offers links to online texts and to a glossary of names, a biographical sketch of Plato, and Suzanne's perspective on Plato's works and philosophy. The site has useful links and resources.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Political Theorists
(http://www.yahoo.com/Social_Science/ Political_Science/Political_Theory/Theorists/)
This site is part of the Yahoo! Political Theory Links page (covering subject topics as anarchism, communism, fascism, and nationalism). It is a commercial site, but one can avoid the ads, all the while following the links to texts (both primary and secondary sources), and to sites of organizations dealing with the individual thinkers. The theorists include the familars like Aristotle, Jefferson, Marx, and Machiavelli; but it also includes several less commonly accessible thinkers, like Bakunin, Castoriadis, Marcuse, and St. Augustine. This is a worthwhile site, with easy access to many other places on the vast Yahoo! system.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Political Theory and Political Philosophy
(http://www.lsu.edu/guests/poli/public_html/theoryx.html)
The Department of Political Science at Louisiana State University hosts this site. The site contains many pages devoted to to individual political thinkers and themes, as well as online texts covering religious, conservative, progressive, Marxist, and Anarchist thought. The selections are quite good, making this a nuseful site to bookmark for your Internet forays.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Poly-Cy -- Internet Resources for Political Science
(http://www.polsci.wvu.edu/polycy/)
The Department of Political Science at West Virginia University has crafted an extraordinarily useful site. It offers a comprehensive site for most, if not all, areas of political science, covering the fields of political inquiry, data sources (government and organizational), personal and departmental homepages, professional news, and course syllabi. This is an excellent beginning point for any Internet-based research into that vast discipline known as political science.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Project Gutenberg
(http://www.promo.net/pg/list.html)
Project Gutenberg was begun by one Michael S. Hart; now it is assisted by volunteer editors who turn public-domain documents into a format that is accessible online. The topics span many fields of literature, culture, and politics. The site provides links to down-loadable files of the many texts. Bookmark this web site as soon as possible.
Date reviewed: March 6, 1999.

Public Sphere
(http://www.alphalink.com.au/~pashton/index.htm)
This is the personal creation and on-going project of Paul Ashton. It is a links-intensive site focusing on e-texts of and about numerous social and political thinkers (primarily of a left-wing orientation: Marxists, anarchists, feminists, postmodern theorists), essays (e.g., on General Science and Biology, Environmental Philosophy, Alternative Economics, and Ethnicity & Gender), as well as biography pages on Hegel, Marx, Foucault, and Heidegger. There is an eclectic mix of hard-to-find material here and progressive-minded surfers will profit from jumping to this site.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

The Jean-Jacques Rousseau Association
(http://www.wabash.edu/Rousseau/)
This site emanates from the professional organization (with world-wide membership) that concentrates on Rousseau's contribution to intellectual thought. The site provides links to Rousseau's writings that are available on the Internet, a biographical sketch, music composed by him, as well as Association news and events. The site is a good place to look for information on Rousseau.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Sarah Zupko's Cultural Studies Center
(http://www.popcultures.com/)
Sara Zupko created and maintains this well-crafted personal site. She bills it as "the comprehensive guide to cultural studies and popular culture on the Internet." It is indeed quite remarkable for the breadth of material (primary and secondary), links to political and intellectual organizations, and so forth. The site is divided into different thematic areas: online journals as well as articles, book reviews, and reading lists. In addition, Sara Zupko includes areas related to conferences (and Calls for Papers), and academic programs. This is a must-surf site for any with a progressive slant.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

Searching the Secondary Literature in Political Theory
(http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rulib/ socsci/polsci/sslipt.html)
The Rutgers University Libraries have created an extensive listing of a vast amount of secondary material useful for political inquiry, including indexes of printed material, including encyclopedias, news sources, and other bibliographic references. It is not actually a links site, and the available links are restricted to RUL users only. Yet the information contained are applicable to most researchers (such as Library of Congress call numbers, book titles, etc.). This site offers a very good place to begin one's library-based research.
Date reviewed: March 7, 1999.

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Overall web page last updated: November 15, 1998

[ Prof. Williams' homepage ]         [ T O C ]