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Thinking About Politics: Political Theory




Admission Requirements

A 100-level courses in World Politics.


In the pursuit of understanding and explanation the student of world politics can draw on the rich resources of political theory. As discipline political theory aims to contribute to the analysis of central concepts such as justice, freedom, equality and democracy, and to systematise and justify normative judgements about political and social institutions, forms of inequality, authority and oppression. This course forms an advanced introduction to this body of thought. Six principal methodological approaches are surveyed, as well as a number of key thinkers and perennial themes. This approach fosters appreciation of the variety of ways in which one can engage with important political issues, themes and problems, as well as sharpen ones critical thinking skills in the application of these methods.

Course Objectives

  • Understanding of the character of prominent methodologies in political theory

  • Understanding of some central themes, concepts and traditions in political theory today

  • An appreciation of the range and diversity of sources in political theory

  • Further develop the capacity to engage with complex texts and develop clarity of expression verbally and in writing

Mode of Instruction



Presentation; Participation; Mid-term essay; Final essay



Contact Information

Laurens van Apeldoorn

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Liberalism
Week 2: Conservatism
Week 3: Realism
Week 4: Marxism
Week 5: Critical Theory
Week 6: Poststructuralism
Week 7: Conclusion

Preparation for first session