Undergraduate Course: Core Texts in Political Theory (PLIT10059)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course will examine the core texts from one political thinker for a full semester in order to provide a deep and detailed engagement with their thought. The thinker studied will vary from year-to-year. Thinkers selected will have made a profound contribution to political thinking and so students will have the opportunity to explore a significant body of thought through a sustained engagement with the primary texts from the selected thinker. The course will cover relevant historical and textual questions, but will focus on the arguments and concepts developed in the texts that have proved of enduring importance. This will help students develop skills of close textual reading, the ability to interrogate complex and extended arguments that are developed over the course multiple works, and provide the opportunity to reflect on the enduring legacies of major figures in political thought.
This course examines the core texts from one political thinker for a full semester in order to provide a deep and detailed engagement with their thought. This year we are studying a political thinker who theorised the foundations of contemporary progressive politics: the American feminist philosopher Iris Marion Young. The module approaches core ideas in social justice developed by Young: structural injustice, oppression, gender relations, affirmative action, and historic injustice. A distinctive feature of the module is that by deeply engaging with Young's outstandingly rich work, students will also discover the ideas of those who inspired her, such as Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to pursue Young's influential ideas (and their limitations) in the works of Angela Davis, Patricia Hill Collins, and Katherine Lu.
The key texts of our seminars will be Young's Justice and the Politics of Difference (1990), which we will read in the first half of the term, and Responsibility for Justice (2011) in the second half. In 5 of the 10 weeks we will also read short texts by Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, Angela Davis, Patricia Hill Collins, and Katherine Lu.
The course is taught though a series of weekly seminars. There will be two readings per week, either two chapters by Young (5 weeks) or one chapter by Young and one chapter from another author (5 weeks). The course encourages students to develop the key skill of facilitation. After the first week, led by the course convenor, students will take turns acting as facilitators each week, preparing key ideas, questions and activities for the session and keeping the discussion moving forward. The most thorough and thought-provoking session led by students will be acknowledged through a prize, and each student will receive feedback on their facilitation skills at the end of the course.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses, one of which is security themed, at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3,
Revision Session Hours 1,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Critical Evaluation Exercise: 30% (1,500 words)
Assessed Essay: 70% (3,000 words)
||Students will be given unassessed feedback on facilitation skills.
Essay and critical evaluation feedback will be given within 15 working days of hand-in.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Present written and verbal analysis of arguments from the primary texts in a clear, logical, and lucid form
- Identify accurately the main areas of dispute in debates on the selected thinker's writings
- Develop critical evaluations of arguments regarding the selected thinker's writings examined in the course
- Apply relevant theoretical positions from the primary and secondary texts studied to salient examples of politics and international relations
- Reflect critically and independently on the salience and relevance of the thinker's arguments for contemporary debates in politics and international relations.
|Since these is a course in reading core texts, the indicative readings consist of those core texts.|
Examples of thinkers and their works studied on this course may include:
Habermas, Jürgen, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Polity, 1990)
Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, ed. Christopher Brooke (Penguin 2016)
Habermas, Jürgen, Between Facts and Norms, (Polity, 1997)
Locke, John, Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration,(OUP, 2016)
Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice, rev. ed .(Harvard, 1999)
Rawls, John, Political Liberalism, (Columbia University Press, 2005)
In 2019-20 the Indicative Readings are:
Marx, Karl Early Writings (Penguin, 2000)
Marx, Karl Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Penguin, 1993)
Marx, Karl &Engels, Friedrich The German Ideology: Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy (Lawrence and Wishart Student Edition 1987)
Marx, Karl &Engels, Friedrich The Communist Manifesto (Penguin, 2015)
Marx, Karl The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (various editions)
Marx, Karl Capital: Critique of Political Economy Vol.1 (Penguin, 1990)
Marx, Karl The Civil War in France (Various editions)
Marx, Karl Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism of Karl Marx (Penguin, 2007)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Critical thinking and analysis
Effective written and verbal communication
Effective research and analytical skills
|Keywords||core texts,politics,political thinkers
|Course organiser||Dr Diana Popescu
|Course secretary||Mr John Riddell
Tel: (0131 6)50 9975