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PHIL 276J: Democracy Ancient and Modern: From Politics to Political Theory (CLASSICS 149, CLASSICS 249, PHIL 176J, POLISCI 231A, POLISCI 331A)

Modern political theorists, from Hobbes and Rousseau, to Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss, to Sheldon Wolin and Robert Dahl, have turned to the classical Greek theory and practice of politics, both for inspiration and as a critical target. The last 30 years has seen renewed interest in Athenian democracy among both historians and theorists, and closer interaction between empiricists concerned with 'what really happened, and why' and theorists concerned with the possibilities and limits of citizen self-government as a normatively favored approach to political organization. The course examines the current state of scholarship on the practice of politics in ancient city-states, including but not limited to democratic Athens; the relationship between practice and theory in antiquity (Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, and others); the uses to which ancient theory and practice have been and are being put by modern political theorists; and experiments in democratic practice (citizen assemblies, deli more »
Modern political theorists, from Hobbes and Rousseau, to Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss, to Sheldon Wolin and Robert Dahl, have turned to the classical Greek theory and practice of politics, both for inspiration and as a critical target. The last 30 years has seen renewed interest in Athenian democracy among both historians and theorists, and closer interaction between empiricists concerned with 'what really happened, and why' and theorists concerned with the possibilities and limits of citizen self-government as a normatively favored approach to political organization. The course examines the current state of scholarship on the practice of politics in ancient city-states, including but not limited to democratic Athens; the relationship between practice and theory in antiquity (Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, and others); the uses to which ancient theory and practice have been and are being put by modern political theorists; and experiments in democratic practice (citizen assemblies, deliberative councils, lotteries) inspired by ancient precedents. Suggested Prerequisites: Origins of Political Thought OR The Greeks OR other coursework on ancient political theory or practice. (For undergraduate students: suggest but do not require that you have taken either Origins of Political Thought, or The Greeks, or some other course that gives you some introduction to Greek political history or thought. )
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5
Instructors: Ober, J. (PI)
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