FOUNDATIONS OF WESTERN POLITICS AND LAW
Semester One, 2013
Wed. 10-11am and Fri. 10-11am, 260-115, OGGB
Dr. Kathy Smits (Course convenor)
1-11 Short St., Floor 8, Room 843
Phone: 373 7599, ext. 87576
Office hours: Wednesday and Friday, 2-3pm and by appointment
Professor John Morrow
Rees Skiff (coordinating tutor)
Contact details for tutors TBA
Course Description and Rationale
When we think about political issues, either in the classroom or the wider public world, we are using and referring to a range of ideas about politics, which have been developed in the western political tradition since the ancient Greeks. The fundamental questions we ask about politics – how should society be governed, what is justice and how should it be implemented between individuals, groups and states, where should the distinction between public and private life fall – are all questions which have been defined for us by thinkers in a historical tradition in which we are the latest participants. The ways in which we ask and answer these questions, and what counts as relevant and important to us in doing so depend upon our own social and historical position as readers and thinkers, as well as on the ways in which these concepts have been discussed in the past. In this course, we will focus on the relationship between individuals and the state, the meanings of justice, liberty and equality, the basis of democracy, the rights of women, and the limits to political authority and rights of resistance.
This course has 5 principal objectives. By the end of the course, you should:
1.Be familiar with the main patterns in the development of western political thinking up until the 20th century
2.Have the skills required to read and...