Conflict, War and Revolution - Approaches to Political Theory
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Prof Paul Kelly CRB 4.18
This course is available on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
Students must have completed Introduction to Political Theory (GV100).
The course explores some different approaches to the problem and challenge of politics through the careful reading of a number of important texts and thinkers from the Ancient Greeks to the present. It will build on and assume the overview of Political Theory in GV100 but go beyond a broad superficial reading to an in depth and critical engagement with complex texts from history, philosophy, theology to explore the methodologies of political thinking and critical reading in order to understand to challenge and problem of political action. The thinkers discussed comprise Thucydides, Augustine of Hippo, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Clausewitz, Lenin and Mao, Carl Schmitt, and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. These paradigmatic thinkers challenge the presuppositions of contemporary liberal egalitarianism and state focused models of politics and distinguish the domain of the political from other ways of ways thinking about human practical modes of experience such as morality, society and the economy. Alongside ways of reading these texts the course will also explore a number of issues about the nature of politics including how the domain of politics is conceived, the sites of political engagement such as the polis, city, republic, empire, state, system of states, and multitude. We will focus on the nature justification and legitimacy of violence, force and conflict. Finally the course will also examine the 'meta-narratives' or overarching contexts within which they argue the political takes place such as the structure and meaning of history and whether history justifies political action or redeems human suffering and oppression.
This course is delivered through seminars totalling a minimum of 40 hours across the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus seminars. This course includes reading weeks in Week 6 of both the MT and LT terms.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and 1 essay in the LT.
- Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. R. Warner, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1972.
- Augustine, The City of God Against the Pagans, trans. R.W. Dyson, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
- Machiavelli, The Prince, eds. Q. Skinner and Russell Price, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
- Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. R. Tuck, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991.
- Rousseau, Of the Social Contract and Other Political Writings, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 2012.
- Clausewitz, Carl von., On War, eds. M. Howard and P. Paret, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1984.
- Lenin, V.I., The State and Revolution, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 2009.
- Mao, Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, (the Little Red Book), Beijing, Progress Publishers, 1976.
- Schmitt, Carl, The Concept of the Political, trans. George Schwab, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2007.
- Hardt, M., & Negri, A., Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, New York, Penguin, 2004.
Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2020/21: Unavailable
Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable
Capped 2020/21: No
Value: One Unit
Personal development skills
- Problem solving