Pol 203: Introduction to Political Ideas: Democracy and Domination

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POL 203: Introduction to Political Ideas: Democracy and Domination

Fall 2008
Description: This class explores the relationship between democracy and domination. Not only does it explore different theoretical ways of understanding domination, it also examines the relationship between violence and politics. Beginning with Plato’s Trial of Socrates, the course focuses on at least three different themes: 1) different ways of understanding democratic institutions, 2) understandings of the justifiable use of violence and 3) the education of democratic citizens. Moreover, the course is designed to teach students how to use language in a precise way and to make political arguments in a clear and persuasive manner.
When: MWF 11-11:50

Where: SO N210

Webpage: http://d2l.arizona.edu
Professor Suzanne Dovi

325 Social Sciences

Phone: 621-7094


Office Hours: F 12-1 or by appointment

Graders: Jessica McGary email: mcgary@email.arizona.edu

Zach Shipley email: zshipley@email.arizona.edu


Socrates memo 25% of grade

Outline 25% of grade

Final Exam 50 % of grade

Course grades will be assigned as follows:

A: 90%–100% B: 80%–89.99% C: 70%–79.99% D: 60%–69.99% F: below 60%
The Professor reserves the right to consider the student’s overall performance in assessing grades. Final grades will reflect the overall progress of the course. For this reason, student’s grades can go up as well as down based on his or her overall performance in the class.

Writing Expectations for assignments

All writing assignments will be graded by three criteria: Style, Substance, and Spark. Style is based on whether the assignment is well-written and grammatically correct. Substance will be assessed according to two criteria. The first examines whether the student demonstrates his or her knowledge of the text. The second criterion examines the student’s argument. In particular, it assesses whether the student recognizes strong counter arguments to his or her position and refutes those counter arguments. A good writing assignment addresses perspectives that disagree with its conclusions. Papers are not graded on whether or not the student shares positions with the Professor. Spark is comprised of the thoughtfulness and originality of the student’s paper. If the student just parrots back what the Professor says, it lacks spark.

All writing assignments must be a .doc document, double-spaced, with 1’’ margins and a reasonable, e.g. 12 size, font. The Professor will not accept any assignments by email. Page limits will be strictly enforced for all assignments.

Students are strongly encouraged to submit drafts to the Writing Center in order to improve their writing, specifically to work on the appropriateness of their assignment (whether the essay does what the assignment asks), the structure and development of ideas, the content and the mechanics of their papers. You are also encouraged to meet with your Graduate TAs and Professor about the assignment.
Memo: (25% of grade) This writing assignment is designed to develop students’ ability to write clearly and concisely. The student is asked to argue for or against Socrates’ innocence about one of the charges. Your memo should demonstrate your mastery of the text, not your ability to “make up” arguments for or against Socrates’ innocence. In order to receive credit for this assignment, you must follow the instructions on the worksheet as presented in class and as directed on the worksheet found on D2L. If you have any questions about the format, you should meet with the professor or the TA before the assignment is due. Quotes must have correct citations—this means page numbers must be included! The length of each assignment will be strictly enforced.
OUTLINE: (25% of the grade) This writing assignment is designed to

improve the student’s organizational skills as well as their ability to support their position using textual evidence. You will get a worksheet explaining the particular format of the assignment. In order to receive credit for this assignment, you must follow the instructions on the worksheet. Failure to follow directions will result in an “F” for the assignment. If you have any questions about the format, you should meet with the professor before the assignment is due. The professor will distribute examples of previous outlines for you to see. All outlines must consist of a clearly written thesis statement, topic sentences, and quotes that support those topic sentences. Quotes must have correct bibliographic citations (including page numbers)! The length of the assignment will be strictly enforced. Concise writing is key to doing well in this assignment.

EXAM (50% of the grade) The Final exam will consist of short answer, multiple choice and True/False questions. It will focus simply on the reading material, films, and class lectures from PART III and PART IV of the course. There will be no make-up tests for the exam. Students who have a Dean-approved absence will be required to write a 15-page paper in lieu of the exam.
Course Policies:

GRADE APPEAL PROCESS: Students who disagree with a grade for an assignment must follow the following process. First, they must submit a one-page, grammatically correct appeal letter within one week of the assignment being turned back. This letter should be sent to the person who graded the assignment. In the appeal letter, the student should explain why he or she substantively disagrees with the grade. Unacceptable reasons for appealing an assignment’s or final grade include “because I worked hard” and “because I need a certain grade to go to graduate school.” After meeting with the grader to discuss the grade and the student is still unsatisfied, then the student should submit the appeal letter to the professor, the professor will arrange another meeting to discuss the grade. Students who object to their grade should not contact the professor until after meeting with the grader and submitting their one-page paper. Note that it is against University policy to discuss grades over email.
ABSENTEE POLICY: All holidays or special events observed by organized religions will be honored for those students who show affiliation with that particular religion. Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean's designee) will be honored.
LATE POLICY: All assignments must be submitted to the dropbox of D2L by 11am on the due date. Late assignments will be penalized one grade per day that the assignment is due. The “day” begins at 11:01. So if the assignment is turned in at 11:05am on the date due, it will be penalized one full letter grade (the same goes for if it is turned in at 10:59 the following day). If it is turned in on 11:01 am the following day, it will be penalized two full letter grades. The Professor will use the time that D2L records as the official time of submission. Please note that the Professor does not accept “computer problems” as a legitimate reason for lateness. You need to back up constantly your assignments. You should not be writing these assignments at the last minute so it is not a valid excuse that you were unable to submit your paper because your hard drive crashed, D2L crashed, etc. I recommend saving your drafts to D2L so that way you will never be without some version of your assignment submitted. The last version submitted will be graded unless otherwise instructed. Students unfamiliar with D2L should make sure that they leave enough time to learn how to submit papers in the dropbox.
EXPECTATIONS OF CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR: Students are expected to come to class and to participate in an informed fashion. Please turn your pagers and cellphones off while you are in class. Conversations on the cellphone are absolutely forbidden. Due to the nature of this class material, I expect and hope that students will disagree with each other. In fact, disagreements are likely to be lively and intense, but students must at all times be respectful to each other and to the Professor. No interruptions and no name-calling. Students should listen attentively and be prepared to be challenged on their views. Threats to the Professor or other students are strictly forbidden. To see the University Policy towards threatening behavior, see http://policy.web.arizona.edu/~policy/threaten.shtml. Failure to abide by these rules can result in the student being dropped from the class.
PLAGIARISM: One of the most common forms of vice in the University is plagiarism. This vice will not be tolerated by the professors. Students who are caught plagiarizing will receive a zero for that assignment and will not be able to receive a grade higher than a D for the class. For the University’s policies towards plagiarism, see http://studpubs.web.arizona.edu/policies/cacaint.htm
SPECIAL NEEDS: Students with special needs who are registered with the S.A.L.T. Center or the Disability Resource Center must submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting special accommodations.

COURSE CHANGES: The information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.
EMAIL: University Policy forbids the Professor and TAs from discussing grades over email. If you have a substantive question or concern about the course, you should come to the Professor’s or the TA’s office hours. If you are unable to make this time, you should contact the professor to make alternative arrangements. Note that Professor Dovi does not check her email on the weekend, holidays, or after 5pm.
Required Texts:

Plato, The Trial of Socrates

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince

Friedrich Durrenmatt, The Visit

Phillip Green, ed. Democracy

Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Additional Readings will be provided on D2L

Class Assignments

August 24 Introduction



August 28 Plato’s Context: Athenian Democracy


Plato, The Euthyphro in The Trial of Socrates

August 31 Plato’s Context: Athenian Democracy


Plato, The Euthyphro in The Trial of Socrates

September 2 Socrates


Plato, The Apology in The Trial of Socrates
September 4 Socrates


Plato, The Apology in The Trial of Socrates

September 7 No class Labor Day

September 9 Socrates’ Defense


Plato, The Crito in The Trial of Socrates
September 11: Review of Charges
September 14 Memo Due

Topic of the Memo: Students are required to write a two-page double-spaced memo in which they recommend the Athenian citizens to find Socrates guilty or innocent of one of the charges made against him. In this memo, students must draw on the assigned dialogues to identify the strongest argument for or against finding Socrates guilty of one of the charges. Please be sure to identify which charge your memo is addressing as well as address relevant counter-arguments. Full instructions for this memo will be available in the worksheet on the D2L page.

September 16: Do the Ends Justify the Means?
September 18 Ways to interpret Machiavelli


Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Introduction, Letter to Lorenzo

Reading Advice: Pay special attention to the Dedicatory Letter. Does The Prince ask for Machiavelli’s advice? Does Machiavelli believe that princes should listen to advice that wasn’t asked for?
September 21 What is a Machiavellian Virtu?


Machiavelli, The Prince, Letter to Lorenzo to Chapter 15 (pp. 5- 49)

Reading Advice: Note Machiavelli’s examples. What types of behavior does he praise and what types of behavior does he criticize?
September 23 Machiavelli’s Method


Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 16-20 (pay special attention to the Preface, Chapters xviii, xix, xx)

September 25 and 28: Machiavelli’s Advice about Violence


Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 20-26

Reading Advice: Reread The Prince noting Machiavelli’s advice about the use of violence. What does Machiavelli say about rapacity? In what examples does he seem to condone violence as acceptable or justifiable?
September 30: OUTLINE DUE

Assignment: Machiavelli recounts many horrific tales about princes who use violence indiscriminately. In this outline, you need to describe Machiavelli’s position about the use of violence in the political arena. Note: Machiavelli’s views are complex. An excellent outline will offer evidence that Machiavelli can be understood to both condone and constrain the use of violence in the political arena. Students are required to follow the format of this assignment as described on the worksheet that is distributed to the class. Failure to follow these instructions will result in a failing grade. (The length of the outline will be strictly enforced: 3 pages)


October 2: Defining Democracy:


Phillip Green, ed. Democracy, “Introduction: Democracy as a Contested Ideal”

Selection I from Keywords (Ray Williams), D
October 5: Classic Texts


Jean Jacques Rousseau Selection 2 The Social Contract D

John Stuart Mill, Selection 3 Considerations of Representative Government D

Alexis DeTocqueville, Selection 4 Democracy in America D

October 7 Dahl’s Theory of Polyarchy


Robert Dahl “Selection 7 from Democracy and its Critics” D

October 9 and 12: Is the US a Democracy?


Robert Dahl, Chapter 2 “What the Framers Couldn’t Know” in How Democratic is the American Constitution D2L


October 14: Democracy as Representation?


David Plotke, 'Representation is Democracy', Constellations, 4/1 (Apr. 1997), 19-34. D2L

Hannah Pitkin, The Concept of Representation, Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 D2L

October 16:The Theory of Democratic Elitism


Robert Michels Selection 8 from Political Parties D

Bernard Berelson, Paul Lazarsfeld and William McPhee, Selection 11 from Voting D

Michel Crozier, Samuel Huntington and Joji Watanuki, Selection 12 from The Crisis of Democracy D

Joseph Schumpeter, Selections from Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy D2L

October 19: Critique of Democratic Elitism


Peter Bachrach Selection 15 from The Theory of Democratic Elitism D

Kenneth Prewitt and Alan Stone, Selection 16 from The Ruling Elites D

October 21 and October 23: Democracy and Economics


Fredrich Durrenmatt, The Visit entire
October 26: Democracy and Economics


Selection 17 From Capitalism and Freedom (Milton Friedman) D
October 28: Democracy and Economics


Selection 18 From Democratic Theory (C B MacPherson) D

Charles Lindblom, “The Market as Prison” D2L

October 30: Democracy and Economics Preference Formation and Capitalism


Phillip Green, ed. Democracy, Selection 21 and 19 D
November 2: Radical Democrats


Hannah Arendt, Selection 26 From On Revolution D

Michael Walzer, Selection 28 from Dissent D

November 4: Democracy and Inclusion


John Dryzek, Inclusion, D2L

Suzanne Dovi, In Praise of Exclusion D2L


November 6 Power


John Gaventa, excerpts from Power and Powerlessness D2L

Robert Dahl, Power as the Control of Behavior Chapter D2L
November 9: Iris Marion Young Faces of Oppression


Iris Marion Young, 5 Faces of Oppression, D2L
November 11 No Class Veteran’s Day

November 13, 16, 18 : Democracy and Oppression

IN CLASS FILM: The Corporation
November 20: Economic Oppression


Max Weber, Domination by Economic Power and by Authority Chapter 2 D2L

Karl Marx, Excerpt D2L

November 23: Violence and Power


Hanna Arendt, “Communicative Power” Chapter 4 D2L
November 25: Torture and Oppression


Henry Shue, “Torture” D2L

Alan Dershowitz, “Tortured Reasoning” D2L

Elaine Scarry, “Five Errors in the Reasoning of Alan Dershowitz” D2L
November 27: Thanksgiving no class
November 30: The Problem of Dirty Hands


Michael Walzer, “Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands” D2L

December 2: The Invisibility of Oppression


Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege” D2L

Marilyn Frye, “Oppression” D2L

December 4: The Banking Concept of Education


Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed Chapter 1 & 2

December 7 Pedagogy of the Oppressed


Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed Chapter 3 and 4
December 9 Final Review/Conclusions
December 11: Final Exam

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