• Focus area for the major: Theoretical Approaches to Politics
  • Course for Minor: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • 01-790-372_WT_II_Spring_2020_Syll.pdf
  • Syllabus Disclaimer: The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) on the first day of class

Course Description:

This course is built around an inquiry into the question, what is modernity? What does it mean to be ‘modern’? What are the characteristics that mark something as modern? Modernity names, among other things, a set of intellectual tendencies. These include critical reflection on established norms and practices resulting in a reworking or a rejection of the pre-modern cosmos and a celebration of scientific rationality, individualism, and secularism. This course will explore theoretical texts that have been used to engage with these ideas. We will examine some recurring dilemmas of political modernity, and the attempts of canonical figures Thomas Hobbes and John Locke to engage with these questions and concerns. In each case, we will ask how each thinker categorizes and contends with the question of modernity. We will also explore extensions, applications, and challenges to these ideas, asking, what are the limitations of modernity? What are the challenges that accompany this condition?