Title: Nature of Politics (790:101:B1)

Instructor: Alina Vamanu

Instructor’s e-mail: alvamanu@rci.rutgers.edu

Days, Times, Location: Session II (06/27/3011-08/04/2011); Hours By Arrangement; Online ECollege

Office Hours: TBD

Synopsis: This course aims at providing students with the theoretical tools to better articulate and understand what politics means and what it ought to be. Some of the questions we will be asking are: What are the main issues that politics involves? What goals do we want to set for ourselves in politics? How can we best accomplish these goals? In trying to answer these questions, we will examine the relationship between the individual and the community, as well as the relationship between citizens and political authorities of various kinds (kings, princes, democratic government officials).

We will also inquire into ideals such as freedom, justice, and equality, in order to grasp the various meanings they can acquire and see in what ways they might be attained.

Our journey will take us from ancient Greece, through the Florentine Renaissance, up to the modern period. In looking at the work of the most important political thinkers of all these historical periods, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which they critically engage with the ideas of their predecessors, thus forming a tradition. It is the task of the political thinkers of today to continue this tradition, by acquiring a good grasp of past theories and reinterpreting them in light of new circumstances. This course will guide you in this direction.

Please note that this is an online course, which allows students to complete all requirements from the comfort of their home at convenient times.