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POL 334: Modern Political Thought

Course Description

This course will focus on an investigation of modern political philosophy and ideas. Critical consideration will be given to modern political thinkers, origins, developments, and present significance. Topics include: Utilitarianism, Liberal Equality, Libertarianism, Marxism, Communitarianism, Citizenship Theory, Multiculturalism, and Feminism. (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2
  • POL 150: American Government (Recommended)

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Identify the major themes and topics of modern political thought.
  2. Assess Rousseau's theory of inequality.
  3. Assess Rousseau's concept of the state of nature.
  4. Assess Rousseau's social contract theory.
  5. Assess Marx's theory of alienation.
  6. Apply Marx's theory of alienation to a specific scenario.
  7. Analyze and assess Marx's science of historical materialism.
  8. Explain the role of the labor theory of value in Marx's theory of capitalism.
  9. Apply Marx's theory of exploitation to a specific scenario.
  10. Explain the development of nationalism and its impact on modern political thought.
  11. Analyze Anderson’s account of nationalism and apply it to present political conditions.
  12. Analyze and assess Taylor's theory of modern social imaginaries.
  13. Explain the importance of popular sovereignty in modern political thought.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

AssignmentsWeight

Discussions (Weeks 1-8)

30%

Rousseau Essay (Week 3)

20%

Marx Essay (Week 6)

20%

Final Exam (Week 8)

30%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

(Available through Charter Oak’s online bookstore)

  • Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Penguin Randon House LLC, 2006. ISBN-10: 1-84467-086-4 or ISBN-13: 978-1-84467-086-4
  • Marx, Karl / Simon, Lawrence H. (Ed.). elected Writings: Karl Marx. Hackett Publishing Co., 1994. ISBN-10: 0-87220-218-6 or ISBN-13: 978-0-87220-218-4
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques / Scott, John T. (Ed.). Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. University of Chicago Press, 2014. ISBN-10: 0-226-15131-X or ISBN-13: 978-0-226-15131-1
  • Taylor, Charles. Modern Social Imaginaries. Duke University Press, 2004. ISBN-10: 0-8223-3293-0 or ISBN-13: 978-0-8223-3293-0

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignments

1

1,2,3

Topics: Introduction, Rousseau

  • Readings:
    • Readings, Videos, and Presentations: Lecture, Introduction to Rousseau (pp. Ix-xliv), Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality (pp. 37-117)
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions

2

1,4,13

Topic: Rousseau's Social Contract Theory

  • Readings:
    • Rousseau, On the Social Contract (pp. 153-272)
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions

3

1,5,6

Topic: Introduction to Marx and Marxism

  • Readings:
    • On the Jewish Question, pp. 1-26
    • Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, pp. 54-97
    • The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, pp. 187-208
    • The Communist Manifesto, pp. 157-186
    • The Civil War in France, pp. 301-315
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Submit Assignment: Rousseau Essay

4

1,7,8,9

Topic: Ideology and History in the Thought of Karl Marx

  • Readings:
    • Marx, Selected Writings:
      • Preface, pp. 209-213
      • The German Ideology, pp. 102-156
      • Marx, Capital (selections), pp. 214-300
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Submit Assignment: Diagram of Historical Materialism (Not Graded)

5

1,10,11

Topics: Nationalism and Imagined Community

  • Readings:
    • Anderson, preface, chapters 1-6 (pp. xi-111)
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions

6

1,11

Topic: Post-Nationalism?

  • Readings:
    • Anderson, chapters 7-end, pp. 113-229
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Submit Assignment: Marx Essay

7

1,12

Topic: Modern Social Imaginaries (or: a Plural Modernity?)

  • Readings:
    • Taylor, introduction and chapters 1-7, pp.1-107 (Recommended: Read as much of Taylor as possible so that you make Week 8 easier on yourself)
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Prepare for Final Exam

8

1,12,13

Topics: Popular Sovereignty and Beyond

  • Readings:
    • Taylor, chapters 8-14, pp. 109-196
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Complete Final Exam (Essay Format)
  • Complete Course Evaluation

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.