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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Political Thinkers (PLIT08011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe 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.

Students will be introduced to a broad range of approaches to thinking about politics, from different historical, cultural, and international perspectives. We will consider such questions as:
a. What is political authority?
b. What is political legitimacy?
c. What forms of social organisation are best suited to ensure freedom?
d. How should we understand the relations between citizens, and between states?
e. What is justice, and what principles of justice should societies adopt?
f. What is gender?
g. What is colonialism and what is the relationship between colonialism and racialisation?
h. How should we think about the political challenges caused by large-scale climate change?
i. What challenges do complex and overlapping inequalities present to our understanding of a just society?
j. How can we conceptualise historical and contemporary oppression?

The content of the course is innovative in two respects: first, it conceives of political thought as a discipline encompassing thinking pertinent to both domestic 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.

Course description 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, from a normative and critical perspective. 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  500
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 21, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed by 1 2000-word essay and 1 exam worth 50% each
Feedback 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.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Familiarise themselves with some of the key claims made by historically influential thinkers and commentators.
  2. Acquire the background understanding of the development of key concepts that will enable them to contextualise their later studies in politics and international relations.
  3. Equip themselves with the skills and knowledge required for the interpretation and analysis of theoretical texts.
  4. Engage critically and reflectively with a range of theoretical debates.
  5. Develop their ability to assess a variety of perspectives and theoretical arguments.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Lectures: 20
Tutorials: 10
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jared Holley
Course secretaryMr Brodie Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)51 3139
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