This course surveys some of the canonical texts and major themes of European political theory in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The texts we will study are by Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Max Weber. We will consider a range of problems, including the nature of modern power; the contested character of democracy, equality and liberty; the relationship between political, social, and economic life; the problem of the emancipation and enfranchisement of marginal or subordinated groups; and some of the subterranean forces that contour political life and motivate its inhabitants. We will also be attentive to the ways these texts etch a relationship between democracy, empire and colonialism. Still, these texts are so intellectually rich and vast that you will undoubtedly be drawn to themes in addition to those listed above, and you are welcome to raise and develop these interests during the course.
Note: This description is from Fall 2011.