Political Theory: a Multicultural Perspective (PHI 321)

Political Theory: a Multicultural Perspective (PHI 321)


Course Description

This course will introduce students to some of the foremost issues and questions in political thought. These range from: ‘What is human nature?’ to ‘What is the nature of the relationship between the ruler and the ruled?’ to ‘What is the best kind of organization for the state’?

The course will draw upon classic and modern texts of political philosophy, including Sun Tzu, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Rousseau, J.S. Mill, Marx and Engels, Wollstonecraft and Edward Said.  Students will learn to read, interpret and evaluate texts in political theory and to compare political theory with political practice. The course will enable students to compare the theories of notable political thinkers from a variety of cultural backgrounds and to place them in context.  The far-reaching critique of classical political theory provided by feminism will also be examined.

The first lecture will introduce what political theory or philosophy is, what kinds of questions it asks and what issues it raises (the basics).

Course Sessions and Topics

This course is divided into ten, one-hour lectures. The introductory Lecture, What is Political Theory (Philosophy)? is presented in both audio and video format to better acquaint the student with the instructor.

Week 1  |  What is Political Theory (Philosophy)?

Week 2  |  Sun Tzu and The Art of War

Week 3  |  Aristotle and The Politics

Week 4  |  Machiavelli and The Prince

Week 5  |  Rousseau and The Social Contract

Week 6  |  J.S. Mill, On Liberty and The Subjection of Women

Week 7  |  Marx and Engels and The Communist Manifesto

Week 8  |  Women and Political Theory

Week 9  |  Mary Wollstonecraft and A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Week 10  |  Political Islam; Edward Said and Covering Islam

Learning Outcomes for this Course

Outcome 1:  Students will be able to demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of the great texts of political philosophy through discussions and written essays. 

Outcome 2:  Students will able to discuss the content of original texts of political theory, and commentaries.

Outcome 3:  Students will be able to demonstrate analytical skills pertaining to political theory through written essays.

Outcome 4:  Students will be able to compare differing theories of political philosophy in written essays.

Outcome 5:  Students will be able to compare political theory with political practice, using concrete examples, in written essays.

Your Teacher

This course was created and recorded by:

Marjorie R. Lister, PhD | Politics, University of York. Honorary Senior Visiting Research Fellow in Political, European and Development Studies, University of Bradford, UK. Author, The European Community and the Developing World; The European Union and the South. Editor, European Union Development Policy; New Perspectives on European Union Development Cooperation; and with M. Carbone, New Pathways in International Development: Gender and Civil Society in EU Policy.

This course will be administered and graded by:

Laurie Loon, M.A. | Transformational Psychology, University of Philosophical Research.  B.A., Liberal Arts, Antioch University