Political Thought in the West
About the Course
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.