POLSCI 306 - American Political Thought: Early
Section: 001
Term: WN 2019
Subject: Political Science (POLSCI)
Department: LSA Political Science
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
POLSCI 101 or upperclass standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Since to “possess a concept,” the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre has said, “involves behaving or being able to behave in certain ways in certain circumstances, to alter concepts, whether by modifying existing concepts or by making new concepts available or by destroying old ones, is to alter behavior.” Political Science 306 is a survey of American political thought. As the quotation from MacIntyre suggests, the course is a study of the modification, creation, and destruction of the concepts that shaped, disclosed, and foreclosed domains of political activity. Setting the stage for our consideration of the European debates about politics that Americans inherited, the course begins with the influential political ideas and arguments of classical antiquity. We end with the beginning of World War I and the attempt by intellectuals to “modernize” American government and society. Along the way, by investigating the genealogy of the concepts Americans have used to think about politics, we will see how and why Americans came to form the kind of government and society they did during the Revolution, and then how and why they re-conceptualized government and society in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ultimately, through a study of this process of conceptual modification, creation, and destruction we will gain an understanding of the debate surrounding America’s emerging political self-definition.

This course is in the Political Theory subfield.

POLSCI 306 - American Political Thought: Early
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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