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Georgetown University


Detailed Course Information


Fall 2017
Oct 18, 2018
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GOVT 393 - Comparative Pol Theory
This course focuses on the writings of political theorists who wrote within and contributed to traditions of thought that originate from diverse times and places--ancient China, ancient Greece, the medieval Islamic world, early modern and modern Europe, and the modern and contemporary Middle East and South Asia, to name a few. While they wrote in diverse contexts, the thinkers we study are often in dialogue with one another. We begin the course with Plato and his medieval Muslim interlocutors, Al-Farabi and Avicenna, focusing on their discussions of how to attain knowledge of the good, a good that we--or at least some of us--must understand if we are ever to understand the good political order. In the second part of the course, we study early modern and modern European political thought, where we encounter philosophers who are more concerned with the real rather than the ideal, with individual liberty rather than the good. Finally, in the last part of the course, we read contemporary theorists of democracy and liberalism, as well as thinkers--from both within and outside of the "Western" tradition--who critique democracy and liberalism on the basis of centuries-old traditions they believe are still relevant to the modern world. These thinkers urge a renewed interest not just in compromise, but in conviction, not just in liberty, but in well-being, not just in events that occur in public fora, but in the relationships that we cultivate with others and the change and development that occur in our souls.

Nura Hossainzadeh is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Government who is working on a book manuscript on Ruhollah Khomeini's political thought, Islamic political thought, and inter-cultural political theory. 

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours
0.000 Lab hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate, Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture

Government Department

Course Attributes:
Mean Grade is Calculated

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