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2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POL 201 - Modern Political Thought

Credits: 3
3 Lecture Hours

This course provides an analysis of major Western political thinkers from the Renaissance to the present. The relationship of ideas to politics is emphasized but additional topics make this a history of modern ideas as well. Prominence is given to the major political thinkers from the following intellectual traditions: liberalism, communism, conservatism, fascism and democratic theory.
Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, the student will:

  1. Explain the writings of some of the major political theorists of the 20th century.
  2. Identify the continuities and cleavages within different political traditions.
  3. Compare and contrast how different theorists conceptualize basic political values like freedom, equality, democracy, etc..
  4. Assess contemporary politics through the lens of different political theorists and opposing political traditions.
Listed Topics
  1. Political through from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Machiavelli, Luther, Motesquieu, Voltaire, etc)
  2. Classical Liberalism (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, etc)
  3. Neoclassical and Welfare Liberalism (Spencer, Green, etc)
  4. Conservatism (Burke, de Mastre, etc)
  5. Socialism and Communism: Up to Marx (More, Marx and Engles, etc)
  6. Socialism and Communism: after Marx (Bernstein, Lenin, Trotsky, etc)
  7. Fascism and Nazism (Gobineau, Hitler, etc)
  8. Recent developments (post-1960)
Reference Materials
Contemporary text and appropriate AV materials.
Approved By: Sutin, Stewart Date Approved: 07/13/2006

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