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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James A. Chamberlain
POL S 308
Seattle Campus

The Western Tradition of Political Thought, Ancient and Medieval

Origin and evolution of major political concepts from ancient Greece to the medieval period, from Thales through Aquinas.

Class description

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

Recommended preparation

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%).


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.
Last Update by James A. Chamberlain
Date: 01/24/2014