James A. Chamberlain
POL S 308
Origin and evolution of major political concepts from ancient Greece to the medieval period, from Thales through Aquinas.
In this course we will read how thinkers in Ancient Greece, Rome and Medieval Europe grappled with enduring questions of political theory, such as: What is justice? What is the best form of government and what makes a virtuous citizen? What is the appropriate relationship between religion, philosophy and politics? Acquaintance with these texts can deepen our understanding of the Western tradition of philosophy, but we will continually ask what guidance Ancient and Medieval thinkers can provide us in the twenty-first century.
Student learning goals
Evaluate various responses to fundamental questions of political theory and their relevance to contemporary life.
Consider the significance of genre to the substance of a text.
Become a more sophisticated reader, writer, and speaker.
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion
Introduction to Political Theory or other political theory courses are highly recommended. Courses in History, English and CHID may also serve as good preparation.
Class assignments and grading
Weekly reading questions (20%), class participation (15%), 2 response papers (15%), mid-term paper of 4-5 pages (20%) and 8-10 page final paper (30%).