PT,Syllabus, 2009 - Spring, 2009 CRN: 33014 T,TH: 9:30-...

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Spring, 2009 Dr. Suann Shumaker CRN: 33014 Office Hours: T, 11:30-11:45, Library, back table T,TH: 9:30- 10:45 E-mail: Room 2204 Phone: 424-1000, ext 2928 INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THEORY Course Description: Political theorists explore the foundations of political life and deliberate about its proper organization. To study political theory is to develop the analytic and interpretive skills, the moral and philosophic judgment, and the social and historical knowledge needed to critically assess a tradition of political thought that dates back over two millennia. This is an introductory course in political theory, beginning with the “ancient” political thinkers through postmodernism. As a group, we will survey many philosophies and their authors, and will no doubt come to conclusions about relevancy and significance generally, as well as justice, morality, ethics, truth, and reality (just to name a few!). However generally we cover these topics through discussion and analysis, these readings will still become intensely personal. They may inspire or irritate you; they may pique your curiosity or bore you; they may spark your thinking, or numb your mind with seemingly convoluted logic. However they affect you, these readings will show you a progression of sorts, revealing why we currently think the way we do; whether we came here because we followed a particular line of reasoning, or rebelled and reacted by creating a different “reality.” There is a large body of literature that maintains that “reality” is a social construction and that humans are constantly weaving and reweaving their reality (sometimes referred to as “progress”). Part of the societal construction process requires some thought about what kind of civil society will be created (such as values, rules of law, economic and political systems) and what kind of governing process will be created to accurately represent the society that we agreed upon. However, in order to know where we are going or where we might want to go, we need to know where we came from (enter Socrates, Plato, Aristotle), and how we got here (enter Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, and Marx), and how we are doing ( enter Questions of Socrates and Jerry Seinfeld). Objectives: Each professor has a different set of goals or objectives he/she wishes to attain in the teaching of any course. And, those objectives may vary according to the course taught. For this course, I do have certain objectives I wish to achieve with regard to your learning this material. For example, the primary goal is to get you to think critically, to be able to analyze things you read or hear in regard to the complexity of our society, and how those complexities are played out in our political, social, and economic lives. Knowing our political history and the theory that accompanies “how we got here,” will help you understand the “why” of how we behave now, why we react the way we do, and the power, norms and values that lie beneath those decisions. In accomplishing this objective, through the use of selected readings, individual research, and our discussions,
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course SCIENCE 101 taught by Professor Teacher during the Spring '11 term at Las Positas College.

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PT,Syllabus, 2009 - Spring, 2009 CRN: 33014 T,TH: 9:30-...

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