• Focus area for the major: Theoretical Approaches to Politics
  • Course for Minor: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • 01-790-374_Democratic_Political_Philosophy_2020_SYLLABUS-1.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:

This course will be conducted as a seminar focusing on Democratic Political Philosophy as it emerged in ancient Athens and ancient Rome and examining the ways in which these ancient sources found their way into American democratic thought and practice. We will begin by examining the democratic culture and politics of ancient Athens through work of the great playwright and statesman, Aeschylus, and his great trilogy the Oresteia. The goals of Athenian democracy thus established we will turn to a study of Athenian democratic institutions and thought about those institutions. Plato’s critical examination of those institutions will be supplemented by a series of contemporary essays on democratic Athens and the place of that democracy in our world. Turning to Rome, its political and legal institutions, and its political and legal thought, we will look at the creation of its “composite state,” its unique mixture of democracy, aristocracy and monarchy that loomed so large in the minds of the American founders. Cicero’s understanding of Roman law will guide our discussion of Roman Republic, as will a recent essay on the nature of Rome and Roman political thought. Shakespeare’s analysis of the founding and the collapse of the Republic via his dramatic representations of these events in his plays Coriolanus and Julius Caesar will conclude our examination of Rome.