CPTSyllabus09 - POL 4275/5275 Spring 2009 Blegen 130...

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POL 4275/5275 Professor Luxon Spring 2009 luxon@umn.edu Blegen 130 Office: 1350 SocSci OH: Wed, 1:00-3:00pm tel: (612) 625-7982 Contemporary Political Thought Violence, Sexuality, Money, and Race Course description Contemporary Political Thought: Violence, Sexuality, Money and Race analyzes political thought of the 20 th century (and primarily the post-WWII period). A century marked by the ethical and political challenges of the Holocaust, the 20 th century finds itself perenially troubled by the question of “what is to be done?” Despite the settlement of political institutions in Western democracies, political community finds itself faced with the extraordinary challenges of an everyday living-together. This course has two aims. First , our task will be to analyze three prominent models for politics offered by contemporary thinkers, who respectively conceive of a politics of liberties, a politics of discipline, and a politics of dialogue and recognition. Cognizant of the challenges and anxieties of the contemporary world, each of these models offers a different “way in” to theorizing democratic politics so as to highlight its hopes while underscoring its risks. Second , having analyzed these three models, this course will move to interrogate four issue areas that continue to define and beset contemporary politics: political and social violence; sexuality and gender; money and class; race and power. These themes and issues are not exclusive of one another — they intersect in one another in puzzling, intricate, and compelling ways. The final weeks of the course, as a result, will treat all four themes in their complexity. Foundations and world-making Taking the two World Wars, and especially the Holocaust, as a sobering point of reference, contemporary politics finds itself confronted with the challenge of “thinking without banisters.” That is, the 20 th century struggles to define and defend its political, ethical, and cultural ideals and principles in the absence of certain convictions offered by appeals to religion, custom, tradition, and nature. Without the certainty of these doctrines, contemporary thinkers must seek alternate grounds or “foundations” on which to defend and elaborate their conceptions of political engagement and ethical commitment. We will ask, in reference to what principles and which ideals might political and ethical action be articulated and defended? How stable a foundation do these principles provide — and at what costs and with which exclusions? Are stable foundations available to political community? And if not, if contemporary politics is defined by responsibility — both individual and collective — in the face of hard choices and uncertain outcomes, then what might serve as a guide or touchstone through these political moments? Politics as activity
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2009 for the course POL 4275 taught by Professor Luxon during the Spring '09 term at Minnesota.

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CPTSyllabus09 - POL 4275/5275 Spring 2009 Blegen 130...

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