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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christine Di Stefano
POL S 413
Seattle Campus

Contemporary Political Theory

Analysis of political theorists, exploring contemporary theories of humanity and society that form the basis for differing political ideas.

Class description

Traditionally, politics has been defined as the arrangements, frameworks, and rules that human beings devise for living together. What happens to this concept of politics when we add non-human animals to the mix? In this seminar, we will explore various normative approaches to thinking about inter-species relationships, which are drawn from distinct and different traditions of political theorizing and philosophical reflection.

Student learning goals

To deepen our understanding of the politics and ethics of inter-species relationships through careful study of key texts spanning a range of disciplines, methods of inquiry, and normative orientations.

To enlarge and refine our political, theoretical, and ethical vocabularies, so that we may participate thoughtfully and effectively in political deliberation and debate.

To understand the difference between opinion and judgment, so that we may conduct political dialogue with sympathy, rigor, critical attention, and respect.

To strengthen our command of English prose through careful reading and writing.

To strengthen our oral communication skills (listening as well speaking) through thoughtful, informed, respectful, and active participation in seminar discussions.

To experience the pleasures and challenges of rigorous intellectual inquiry, conducted in the presence of a community of scholars, to whom we are accountable.

General method of instruction

The method of instruction for this seminar will be class discussion, organized and moderated by the instructor.

Recommended preparation

Students should have some prior coursework in political theory and/or related disciplines in philosophy and the humanities.

Class assignments and grading

Class assignments will include weekly response papers on the assigned readings, and a final research paper.

The final grade will be based on participation in seminar discussions, weekly response papers, and the final research paper.


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 Christine Di Stefano
Date: 11/11/2012