Modern Political Thought: Text and Traditions

  • Faculty: Anna Bialek
  • Schedule: Mondays/Wednesdays 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Course Number: L57 RelPol 207C

A course in European history and thought since 1600 which addresses two themes: the search for a moral code, and the legitimate role of the state. Both are ancient inquiries, but they acquired important and novel interpretations in the West after the Reformation and the gunpowder revolution, and the rise of the modern statecraft grounded in both. One uniquely Western approach to these questions was the search for the primitive or “natural” situation of mankind, and readings in this genre provide some of the texts for the course. Parallel to presentation of the political history of modern Europe, such writers may be discussed as Locke from the seventeenth century, Montesquieu and Rousseau from the eighteenth, Marx from the nineteenth, and the writings of anthropologists and philosophers from the twentieth. Preference given to Text and Tradition and IPH students.