Junior Seminar: American Political Thought

Course Description

In this seminar, we will explore the history of American ideas, focusing on major works from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Required readings are drawn mainly from primary sources, including political pamphlets and speeches, autobiographies, and monographs by politicians, activists, and philosophers, with some attention to rival secondary interpretations. Topics we will explore include revolution, slavery, constitutional design, federalism, democracy, individualism,, and the patterns and sources of racial, gender, and class inequality. Authors we will read include Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Alexis de Tocqueville, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, John C. Calhoun, Angelina Grimke, Catherine Beecher, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, William Graham Sumner, W.E.B. DuBois, and John Dewey.


The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research. Junior seminars fulfill upper-DIV requirements in the major.

Subfield: Political Theory


Political Science Majors of Junior or Senior status, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.3. Students must place themselves on the waitlist through TeleBears in Phase II. Selection and notification will occure around January 9, 2012.

Priority will be given to qualified graduating seniors in Political Science with a minimum overall GPA of 3.3 who haven't completed their "Theory" distribution and/or specialization requirements.