Perspectives on Empire
How have empires been defended or challenged? How have motivations for imperial rule been differently understood? Is the age of Empire over – or are we witnessing its rebirth through the political transformations of globalization? Reading historical writings on colonialism together with current debates about ‘Western imperialism’ or ‘American imperialism’, this seminar traces the political questions and challenges raised by different perspectives on empire.
Introduction to Gender & Sexuality Studies
This course explores how 'sex', ‘gender', and ‘sexuality' shape our social and political contexts. In addition to examining founding theories in the field, students will consider how sex/gender/sexuality intersect with race, class, and other axes of identity. These theories and relationships will inform class discussions about power, oppression, and the aims of contemporary Feminist, LGBT and Queer politics.
Political Thought in the West
This course introduces students to key texts and thinkers in the western political tradition. We will explore this ‘canon’ of thinkers through several themes: the polis and the citizen (Socrates, Aristotle); the nature of rule (Machiavelli); the politics of contract (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau); democracy and its practice (Tocqueville); and the politics of social progress and/or revolution (JS Mill, Marx). In revisiting these thinkers, our goal will not only be to understand their writings in the contexts of their own time, but also to trace their impact on the evolution of political thought in the west.
Feminist Political Theory
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the critical theories and contestations that have made feminist theory both a dynamic and a turbulent field of study. Beginning with Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex, this class examines the various interventions that have marked the development of feminist thought from the mid 20th century onward. These include efforts to complicate the category 'woman', to understand gender in its intersections with race and class, to develop queer feminist accounts of sexuality, and to investigate the meaning of 'feminism' as a political project in and of itself.
American Political Thought: Ideas, Institutions & Identities
Tracing the revolutionary designs of the nation’s founders, to contemporary articulations of liberty, equality, and justice, students in this seminar will develop a conceptual map of American political thought. In particular, we will explore the relationship between the country's founding ideas, its evolving institutional structures, and experiences of gender, race, and class.