Fall 2011 Syllabus - Political Science 331: American...

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Political Science 331: American Political Thought Prof. Scott Yenor T TH 10:40-11:55, Engineering Building 103 Office Hours: M 4-5:30, T TH 9-10:30 am, and by appointment Office ERB 1 st Floor office Email: syenor@boisestate.edu One famous scholar from the mid-twentieth century rightly claimed that America’s was a liberal tradition. It is a liberal tradition, however, that would best be understood as a tradition of liberalisms, of differing ideas of what it means to be liberal. In fact, I would submit that the differences among our liberal traditions are the American liberal tradition. These traditions differ on the meaning of property, the probable locus of tyranny, the proper structure of government, the goodness of centralized government, the centrality of self-government, and the nature of liberty. Identifying what the differences are and why they arose is one of the main goals of this course. But if this is all we accomplish, we will have not done enough. The ultimate aim of this course is to decide whether the difference liberal traditions represent a progressive development or a fall from grace, whether contemporary conceptions are superior to classical conceptions of liberty. Required Readings Federalist Papers , Editor Clinton Rossiter and Charles Kesler. Abraham Lincoln, His Speeches and Writings , Editor Roy Basler John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action (Prometheus) American Progressivism: A Reader , Editors RJ Pestritto and William Atto (Lexington) Standards of Behavior As there is often confusion about the proper etiquette in class, I want to make my approach to these things clear as it is essential to make our time together efficient and productive. Students must silence their cell phones in class and no computers are allowed during class times. All notes are to be taken by hand, and I recommend that you take the notes in common place books, which I will collect at the end of the course and will serve as part of your participation grade. The reason for this is that computers are often put to bad use in the class—and this distracts those in the course. Further, students are allowed three unexcused absences from class, and the professor will be taking roll at various times of the class period. Any absences in excess of three will result in a penalty of one letter grade per class period. The professor promulgates these rules for the benefit of creating a learning environment that will benefit all students. It is the professor’s goal to have all the students master the issues and complexities of American political thought through this class and all of these policies are designed to focus our attention on these issues during our time together. This means that the course will, in the final analysis, be intellectually rewarding and fun and that it will require effort and dedication from the students. Also in the interest of creating an environment conducive to learning, I ask that all students wear clothing appropriate to such a learning environment. Generally, I
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2011 for the course POLITICAL 331 taught by Professor Yenor during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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Fall 2011 Syllabus - Political Science 331: American...

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