Undergraduate Course: Political Thinkers (PLIT08011)
|School of Social and Political Science
|College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)
|SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
|Available to all students
|The course aims to introduce students to historical thinkers whose reflection on politics - international or domestic - shape the way we understand the global challenges we face today.
Lectures are structured around questions such as: What is politics? What is the nature of political society? What is justice? What is the best from of government? What is legitimacy? What is freedom?
The content of the course is innovative in two respects: first, it conceives of political thought as a unified discipline encompassing thinking pertinent to both politics and international relations; second, it aims to decolonise the canon institutionalised in Western academia by pluralising the voices discussed over the course of the term.
Political Thinkers introduces students to the main arguments and claims made by the most influential thinkers on politics, whose work continues to inform current thought and practice. Through studying the writings of these important thinkers, students will consider the fundamental questions of politics, broadly conceived: how should we conceive of the proper scope of politics itself; which political institutions are justified and why; is there a duty to obey a government and its laws? Students will study the primary works of the selected thinkers, and engage with a range of debates and controversies about their arguments in the secondary literature. The course aims to provide a balance between canonical thinkers in the Western tradition and those who provide an alternative global or critical perspective on political thought.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 21,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
|The course will be assessed by two 2000-word essays worth 50% each
|Students will receive individual written feedback on their assessed essays. Written assignments with feedback will be returned within 15 working days of their deadlines. They will be marked according to the University┐s Common Marking Scheme. Students will receive their returned essays with a standardised marksheet that will contain marks, comments, and advice for further improvement. Students are entitled to request further feedback/clarification from the marker if they have questions about the written feedback they receive regarding coursework. Students will also receive individual written feedback on exams. This will be provided after the final marks have been agreed and approved by the relevant Exam Boards. Any student is welcome to come and speak to their class tutor and course organiser about their performance.
|Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)
|Resit Exam Diet (August)
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Familiarise themselves with some of the key claims made by historically influential thinkers and commentators.
- Acquire the background understanding of the development of key concepts that will enable them to contextualise their later studies in politics and international relations.
- Equip themselves with the skills and knowledge required for the interpretation and analysis of theoretical texts.
- Engage critically and reflectively with a range of theoretical debates.
- Develop their ability to assess a variety of perspectives and theoretical arguments.
|Political Thinkers, eds David Boucher & Paul Kelly, Oxford University Press
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
Discussion groups: 9
|Dr Mihaela Mihai
Tel: (0131 6)51 3060
|Mr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001