• Academic Credits: 3
  • Focus area for the major: Theoretical Approaches to Politics
  • Course for Minor: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • 01-790-376__American_Political_Thought_2019_Syllabus.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 looks at the development of American Political Thought from the Civil War to the present day. In particular, this course focuses on the way the post-civil war landscape reworks and reinvigorates the theoretical ideas that informed the creation and development of the American political system. This course examines the way the ideals of freedom and empowerment inform analysis and critiques of American politics and the political reality that emerged in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstuction. This course looks to specific thinkers to formulate our analyses and critiques of this reality. In addition, this course tracks some contemporary challenges to the system. This course will look at issues that have particular salience in the politics of our time, focusing on the relationship between ideas and institutions, and the challenges of putting certain ideas into practice. We will consider the way in which certain challenges present at the founding of America continue to inform, challenge, and disrupt the cohesive narrative of the American experiment. We will look at the way the Civil War and its aftermath shapes discussions about citizenship that functions to include some and exclude others, in both de facto and de jure forms. We will examine the political thought of thinkers like DuBois, Wells, and Baldwin as responses to this predicament, and use their scholarship to inform our understanding and critiques. We will work to deepen our understanding of the movements and events that punctuate the broader conversation about inclusion and exclusion that narrates the broad arc of American history.