syllabus - GVPT 100S Fall 2010 Dr Glass INTRODUCTION TO...

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GVPT 100S Fall, 2010 Dr. Glass INTRODUCTION TO THEORIES OF POLITICAL LIFE GVPT 100S is a course specifically designed for College Park Scholars/International Studies students. It is an introduction to basic principles of politics and political life. We study a number of different concepts that are critical in understanding the nature of what is ‘political’, the structure of power, the foundations of authority, legitimacy, citizenship, action, violence, and revolution. It is a course designed to acquaint students with both the historical and conceptual underpinnings of modern political life, to equip students with the necessary conceptual tools to be conversant in the discourse of politics, and finally, to provide perspectives for understanding the shifting nature of political values and ethics. Politics is a complicated subject matter; it is not only institutions and political mechanics; rather the study of politics involves a complex interplay between the nature of values and the institutional forms necessary to create a stable political order, political governance and political leadership. The concept of politics and political life, and both are quite different, is rooted in an historical understanding of the political tradition. And we will pay some attention to that tradition and its contribution to the development of political ideas. We will not cover the entire historical tradition, but central statements in that tradition that are vital for looking at forms of modern political development. We will always be moving back and forth, from the classical concepts, to their modern forms; from the foundational theories of political life, to ways in which those theories appear in contemporary political contexts.
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