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You are here Undergraduate > Module Outlines > Senior Freshman > History of Political Thought A

History of Political Thought A: The Greeks to the Renaissance

Module Code: PO2110

Module Name: History of Political Thought A: The Greeks to the Renaissance 2018-19

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas Term
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures per week; 1 tutorial per fortnight
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Professor Peter Stone
  • Module Co-Requisite: PO2111 History of Political Thought B: Modernity and its Critics

Module Learning Aims

This module will introduce students to the history of political thought from the time of classical Greece to the Renaissance.


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, it is expected that students should have:

1. Acquired an overview of the history of political thought, from ancient Greece until the Renaissance;
2. Become familiar with major political theorists from that history, such as Plato, Augustine, and Machiavelli;
3. Become familiar with some of the major concepts that appear in political theory, such as democracy, tyranny, and feminism;
4. Developed skills at analyzing and critiquing political arguments; and
5. Reflected upon the implications of ideas from the history of political thought for contemporary politics.

 

Module Content

Topics to be covered include the birth of politics in ancient Athens; Plato’s critique of democracy; the rise of Christianity and its implications for politics; and Machiavelli’s political realism.

 

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Recommended Reading List

Useful introductory readings covering many of the thinkers and concepts included in the module can be found below:

Boucher, David and Kelly, Paul, eds. Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Rawls, John. Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2007.

S. S. Wolin, Politics and Vision, , Expanded Edition, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004  consists of a series of sophisticated interpretative essays. A serious work, well worth close study.

A useful source book for primary texts is:

Classics of Moral and Political Theory, Michael L. Morgan (ed.), Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis (Cambridge,1992).

(This is an excellent collection of, in many cases, the complete texts of the relevant political thinkers).

Assessment Details

4 Short Papers: 40% (10% each)

Final Paper: 60%

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