JUNIOR SEMINAR: Tyranny and Tyrannicide

W 10:00-12:00
791 Barrows
Course Description: 


This junior seminar in political theory seeks to investigate the concept of tyranny in the history of political thought.  Major topics for study in this seminar will include the proper scope of political obligation, the permissibility of resistance and disobedience, and principles of constitutional design.  We will begin with a study of the classical origins of the concept of tyranny in Greek and Roman antiquity, in such writers as Plato, Aristotle, Polybius, and Tacitus.  With this background, we shall then proceed to investigate the usage of the classical analysis of tyranny in medieval and early modern thought, such as Aquinas, Bartolus, Machiavelli, and Calvin.  The seminar will pay special attention to radical theories of resistance and tyrannicide, which emerged in close connection with the French Wars of Religion and the English Civil War, such as the French Monarchomachs and English republicans.  The course concludes by exploring the place of tyranny in modern constitutional thought, such as Montesquieu, Madison, and Tocqueville.

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 division requirements for the major.


Subfield:   Political Theory


Political Science Majors of Junior and Senior status (must be 3rd or 4th year students with at least 60 units completed) with a minimum overall UC GPA of 3.3.  Students must place themselves on the waitlist through TeleBEARS in Phase II. Priority may be given to students who have not yet taken a junior seminar.  Selection and notification will occur in mid-January 2016.  

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