Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jason Mayerfeld
POL S 401
Seattle Campus

Advanced Seminar in Political Theory

Topics can include, but are not limited to, analytical theory pertaining to justice, exploitation, and freedom; revolution and social changes; collective choice and action; sexuality and politics; critical theory; Marxist theory; post-structuralism. Content varies. Recommended: POL S 201.

Class description

"Guantanamo and Its Legacy." This course covers the history of the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay, and addresses the central legal, moral, and political controversies surrounding its operation. Among the questions addressed: Who has been detained in Guantanamo Bay, and why? What explains the history of torture and abuse? To what rights are Guantanamo detainees entitled, legally and morally? Is their detention justified, and if so on what grounds? What domestic and international laws should apply to the detention center? Can US practices in Guantanamo be related to US criminal justice policy? Should there be accountability for torture and other abuses by US officials, and if so, what form should it take? Is preventive detention of terrorist suspects ever legitimate? How should we evaluate the use of military commissions for terrorist suspects? How should we evaluate the use of targeted killings and drone warfare? Assigned readings include prison memoirs, Supreme Court opinions, journalistic reports, policy essays, and scholarly analyses.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

We will read a broad range of materials including court cases, journalistic accounts, personal memoirs, policy debates, and theoretical reflections. The course will be run as a mixture of lecture and discussion.

Recommended preparation

Previous coursework in political theory or human rights is recommended.

Class assignments and grading

two essays, a case study, seminar participation

First essay: 25% Second essay: 25% Case study: 25% Participation: 25%


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 Jason Mayerfeld
Date: 03/14/2013