A series of half- or full-credit courses, each of which will focus a particular political theorist or group
of theorists from classical antiquity, the medieval period, or the Renaissance. Specific offerings will
vary from year to year. Counts as advanced course work in political theory. In fall semester 2010, the
course offered will be:PSC 330 History of Political Thought
Medieval Polital Theory (HIS 220)
In this course I want to argue that the medieval period is still vital for politics and political theory, but not necessarily in the same way as classical, Renaissance or early modern political theory. I want to make the case that the romances and histories of the period are just as important as the religious and legal texts. Many of the ideals that reached their fullest expression in the medieval romances and histories like the savior king, courtly love and the knightly warrior exercise a strong grip on the modern imagination and are critical to the formation of deep and (mostly) unexamined political/cultural attitudes. Not only must we examine these attitudes, we must ask ourselves a key question: If we are obsessed, at some level, with these qualities, are we thus doomed to be forever separated from the ‘Enlightened’ or ‘free’ attitudes that are necessary for the success of modern political goals? In this course we will examine medieval authors like Augustine, Al-Farabi, Averroes, Boethius, Dante, Chretien de Troyes and Geoffrey of Monmouth; modern authors like Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse and Mark Twain; and modern films like The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, The Lion in Winter, Becket, The Lord of the Rings, X2: X-Men United, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Counts as advanced course in political theory.
Prerequisite: Political Science 231 or consent of the instructor.