COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class is designed to introduce students to a number of intellectual traditions that have been fundamentally important to the development of Western political thought. Our narrow goal in the course is to come to a better understanding of these ideas through a critical engagement with thinkers whose writings are regarded as crucial for their articulation. More broadly, the course aims to help students to think critically about the ways in which knowledge derived from reflecting upon old texts might inform their approach to political thought and political action in the present.
TEXTS: Plato, The Republic (Oxford, ed. Francis M. Cornford)
The Portable Machiavelli (Penguin, ed. Peter Bondanella and Mark Musa)
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (Hackett, ed. C.B. Macpherson)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and the Discourses (Everyman, ed. G.D.H. Cole)
The Portable Edmund Burke (ed. Isaac Kramnick)
The Marx-Engels Reader (Norton, ed. Robert C. Tucker)
Course Requirements: Assignments and Grading: Grades for the course will be determined by 4 components: two 5-6 page papers (30% each); a course final (30%); and lecture attendance and participation (10%). The final will occur at the time and date listed below. Due dates for the papers are listed below. The final will be entirely essay-based; questions for both will be handed out in advance of the exams on the date listed below. The highest grade a late paper can receive in the absence of a legitimate excuse is a “C+.” An example of a legitimate excuse would be an illness for which you have a signed doctor’s note. Please be aware: A “C+” is not the lowest grade a late paper can receive; it is the highest (i.e., it is the ceiling, not the floor). You have plenty of time to write these short papers; do not wait until the last minute.
Preparation: You should do the reading for a given lecture prior to coming to class on that day. If you are playing catch up on the reading, you will be in trouble in this course. At a deeper level, failure to stay up with the reading and reflect upon it prior to lecture will stunt your intellectual growth, which would be a shame.
Policy on Academic Integrity: All students are required to abide by the University of Florida’s Academic Honesty Guidelines, which may be viewed at http://www.dso.ufl.edu/judicial/procedures/honestybrochure.php Among other things, this means that cheating on exams is totally unacceptable, as is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of portraying as your own the words or ideas of other people. Examples include: submitting entire papers, or portions of papers, that you did not write (e.g., old papers written by other students, new papers written by other students, papers which you paid a “research” service to write for you, papers or portions of papers downloaded from the Internet). Copying verbatim or paraphrasing any substantial portion of text by another author without acknowledging the source via quotation and/or footnotes is plagiarism. Plagiarism is far easier to spot than you might think. I do it all the time. Do not ruin your experience in this or any other class by engaging in academic dishonesty. This should be made somewhat easier in the current class, because all outside sources are strictly forbidden when it comes to writing papers!
Accommodations: Students with disabilities requiring academic accommodations must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation. Please come see me as soon as possible regarding this matter.
Computers, Cell phones, The Alligator, etc.:No Laptops Are Allowed to Be Open During Class. Cell phones should be turned off prior to class and put away. Save “Clash of Clans,” Facebook, Instagram, and your fantasy football league until your free time. Fold the paper and put it away for the duration of the class.
Lecture, Reading, and Discussion Schedule: May 12 (M): Introduction: “What is Political Theory Anyway, and Why Should I Care?” One Answer; Athenian Democracy: The Cradle of (Discontented) Western Political Thought;
May 13 (T):Plato, The Republic, pp.1-40
May 14 (W): The Republic, pp. 41-66
May 15 (TH): Plato, The Republic, pp. 67-102
May 16: (F): Plato, The Republic, pp. 102-174
May 19 (M): Plato, The Republic, pp. 175-235
May 20 (T): Plato, The Republic, pp. 264-320
May 21 (W): From Ancient Greek to Ancient Roman Political Thought, from Rome to the Middle Ages First Paper Topic Handed Out (On Plato) May 22 (TH):Portable Machiavelli, pp. 77-95 (The Prince) May 23 (F): Portable Machiavelli, pp. 96-166 (The Prince) May 26 (M): No Class (Memorial Day) May 27 (T): Portable Machiavelli, pp. 168-228, 252-253, 281-287 (Discourses) May 28 (W): Portable Machiavelli, pp.287-301, 320, 314-316, 319-325, 326-338, 342-345, 351-356, 386-388, 400-402, 416-418 (Discourses)First Paper Due May 29 (TH): The “Great Transformation” and Locke; Locke,Second Treatise, pp. 3-30
May 30 (F): Locke, Second Treatise, pp. 30-65
June 2 (M): Locke, Second Treatise, pp. 65-107
June 3 (T): Locke, Second Treatise, pp. 107-124; Second Paper Topic Handed Out (On Machiavelli and Locke)
June 4 (W):Rousseau, A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, pp. 43-83
June 5 (TH): Rousseau, A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, pp. 84-126
June 6 (F): Rousseau, The Social Contract, pp. 181-182, 190-210, 213-217, 225, 230-237, 261-268; 274-279, 296-309
June 9 (M): Burke, The Portable Edmund Burke, pp. 416-474
June 10 (T):Burke, The Portable Edmund Burke, pp. 63-81, 489-499;
June 11 (W): Burke, The Portable Edmund Burke, pp. 507-516; 194-212; Second Paper Due June 12 (TH): Marx-Engels Reader, pp. 26-52, 53-54, 3-6, 299-302
June 13 (F): Marx-Engels Reader, pp. 70-81, 344-345, 150
June 16 (M): Marx-Engels Reader, pp. 203-217, 305-306, 336-339
June 17 (T):Marx-Engels Reader, pp. 469-491, 172-173; 187; 143-145;
Final Exam Questions Handed Out June 18 (W): Concluding Lecture June 19 (T): Class Discussion/Debate/Review Session June 20 (F): Final Examination (In Class: On Rousseau, Burke, and Marx)