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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Political Science (PL SC)

PL SC 017 (GS) Introduction to Political Theory (3) Introduction to basic issues in political theory through analysis of selected major political thinkers.

PL SC 017 Introduction to Political Theory (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course examines how the ideas of selected political theorists have been -- and continue to be--crucial for understanding how best to conduct our political lives. Following an introductory exploration of how political theorists think and write about politics, we will read selected theorists from three historical periods: ancient, modern, and contemporary. Our focus will be how these theorists respond to important questions about politics, including how their answers (and even their questions) change over time. Possible questions include: What are the rights of citizens? What are the purposes of states? When is a regime just? How should we organize authority? How should we participate in politics? What counts as political knowledge? How do knowledge and power interact in politics? Most important, what constitutes a good society and a good life? How can we work toward these? So these questions do not remain abstractions we also consider theoretically informed empirical research. By the end of the course, students have a better understanding of selected political theorists and the normative foundations of contemporary politics. This course serves as a prerequisite for all upper level Political Theory courses. This course fulfills one of the lower division requirements for majors in Political Science. Many Political Science majors and minors take it. For non-majors, this course may be used to fulfill general education requirements or the Bachelor of Arts social--behavioral science requirement. Grading is based on analytical papers and--or journal assignments, essay exams, occasional quizzes, group presentations, and class participation. PL SC 017 is offered once a year with 60 seats per offering.

General Education: GS
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2003

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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