• Academic Credits: 3
  • Focus area for the major: Theoretical Approaches to Politics
  • 01-790-316_01_Politics_Literature_and_the_Arts_Fall_2020_Syllabus_8.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:

Passion and Death - “The Politics of Passion and Death” is a course for political science majors, particularly those interested in the study of political theory and its intersection with literary texts. It introduces students to ways to apply skills gained in political theory courses to the reading of literary texts, particularly close reading and interpretation. In particular, this course looks to epic poetry and tragedy coming out of ancient Greece, exploring the way in which these texts grapple with death, grief, and mourning. The central texts of this course center around death and grief, and also grapple with power, making these texts undeniably political. We will interrogate the way death and grief perform important roles in political life, and the way that these are represented within our course texts. In addition, this course considers the relationship between the forms of writing (epic and tragedy) and the study of politics. This course is framed around the questions: How do death and emotions inform our political choices? How does the type of text affect the way we read and interpret it? How can we use literary texts to help answer political questions? This course uses the study of texts to help understand how tragedians and poets approached these questions over time, and to shed light on these questions for our own purposes. This course also engages with commentary on these texts, including takes from political theorists from both the ancient world and today. The aim of this course is to explore the manner in which political themes emerge in selected works from ancient Greece, and the way these are related to death and the attendant emotions.