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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sooenn Park
POL S 201
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Political Theory

Philosophical bases of politics and political activity. Provides an introduction to the study of politics by the reading of a few books in political philosophy. Organized around several key political concepts, such as liberty, equality, justice, authority, rights, and citizenship. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

This course examines a selection of classic and early modern texts in Western political theory, including primary source works of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes and Rousseau. We will examine how varying understandings of different thinkers concerning the peculiar challenges of the human condition shape their political prescriptions regarding the best form of constitution. To help us with this study, the principal themes of the class will be power, knowledge, and their interrelationship. Students are encouraged to analyze and critically assess urgent questions of contemporary politics, utilizing the lenses of the theoretical inquiries and proposals of the political theorists we read in this course.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Texts: Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays; Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Politics; Machiavelli, Selected Political Writings; Hobbes, Leviathan; Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses

Class assignments and grading

Midterm exam: 30%; Final exam: 30%; Peer-reviewed presentation: 20%; Class participation: 20%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 05/11/2009