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1 - 5 of 5 results for: POLISCI235

POLISCI 235: Chinese Political Thought: 1895-2021 (POLISCI 335)

Everybody is talking about China now. The competition between China and the Western world is not only about economic growth, technological advancement, and military strength. What is ultimately at stake is a key theoretical question: Can China's political traditions and current practices (such as one-party meritocracy) offer a legitimate and desirable alternative to the ideal of liberal democracy? This course aims to approach this question through the lens of intellectual history and political theory. Attention is given to how Chinese thinkers since 1895 have conceived of China's place in the world, how they have used Western political ideas to transform China, how they have creatively transformed Chinese traditions to meet the challenge of modernity, and, most importantly, how they have advanced political ideals that claim to be able fix the problems in the West (such as imperialism and capitalism). We will also learn how Western thinkers are responding to the challenge from China. The first half of the course covers foundational texts in Chinese intellectual history from 1895 to the Maoist Era. The second half is about political thinking in contemporary China. No prior knowledge about China, Chinese, or political theory/philosophy is required.
Last offered: Autumn 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER

POLISCI 235A: From Cold War to New Cold War: Politics and Political Theory in Contemporary China (POLISCI 335A)

"China lacks everything: middle managers, engineers and capital," so wrote French political thinker Raymond Aron. That was 1950, three years after Harry Truman's 1947 Address to Congress, which was usually considered the beginning of the Cold War, and months after the founding of the People's Republic of China. More than seventy years later, and after a long, winding journey, China now has much more than middle managers, engineers, and capital. However, global politics seems to move towards another clash of two powerful countries with seemingly different ideological orientations as many now claim that a new Cold War is on the horizon.How did China emerge as a global power from what Aron described in 1950? And more importantly, can we, and if so, how do we, understand the rise of China with a theoretical perspective? How do theory and real politics shape each other, as manifested in the history of contemporary China? In this class, we explore answers to these questions by reading politi more »
"China lacks everything: middle managers, engineers and capital," so wrote French political thinker Raymond Aron. That was 1950, three years after Harry Truman's 1947 Address to Congress, which was usually considered the beginning of the Cold War, and months after the founding of the People's Republic of China. More than seventy years later, and after a long, winding journey, China now has much more than middle managers, engineers, and capital. However, global politics seems to move towards another clash of two powerful countries with seemingly different ideological orientations as many now claim that a new Cold War is on the horizon.How did China emerge as a global power from what Aron described in 1950? And more importantly, can we, and if so, how do we, understand the rise of China with a theoretical perspective? How do theory and real politics shape each other, as manifested in the history of contemporary China? In this class, we explore answers to these questions by reading political theory against history, sociology, and political science. In every week, we read texts that reflect both the social reality and theoretical concerns of a given period in contemporary Chinese history. By so doing, we seek to make sense of both the contemporary Chinese society and the power and limits of ideas in political theory.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
Instructors: Luo, S. (PI)

POLISCI 235B: Political Memory and Democratic Citizenship (POLISCI 335B)

We may not always realize it, but political discussions often invoke historical memory. As we debate about political ideas and praxes, we often draw on history to criticize our interlocutors and build our arguments. Meanwhile, historical memory also deeply shapes how we think about politics. For example, our rejection of Nazism is closely linked to memories of the Holocaust. Our debates about racial politics in the US are inevitably intertwined with historical readings of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. New politics often offers new historical readings and counters mainstream, commonsensical understandings of the past.Because historical memory is so crucial to politics, and because what is considered collective memory often varies from community to community, it is essential that we try to understand the relationship between memory, politics, and citizenship. In this class, we read texts written by thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, W. James Booth, Avishai Margalit, John Rawls, and more »
We may not always realize it, but political discussions often invoke historical memory. As we debate about political ideas and praxes, we often draw on history to criticize our interlocutors and build our arguments. Meanwhile, historical memory also deeply shapes how we think about politics. For example, our rejection of Nazism is closely linked to memories of the Holocaust. Our debates about racial politics in the US are inevitably intertwined with historical readings of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. New politics often offers new historical readings and counters mainstream, commonsensical understandings of the past.Because historical memory is so crucial to politics, and because what is considered collective memory often varies from community to community, it is essential that we try to understand the relationship between memory, politics, and citizenship. In this class, we read texts written by thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, W. James Booth, Avishai Margalit, John Rawls, and Judith Shklar to discuss the following questions: How does memory form communal identity? How does memory shape our conception of justice, political agency, and legitimacy? Are there democratic ways of approaching history? Is remembering always good for democratic politics? As we come up with answers to these questions, we develop a better sense of how our identity as democratic citizens is linked to historical and collective memory.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5
Instructors: Luo, S. (PI)

POLISCI 235C: Misinformation and Democracy: Past and Present (POLISCI 335C)

Many today consider misinformation to be one of the most significant challenges faced by democratic societies. Some see this as a new phenomenon, arguing, for example, that modern technology - and, above all, social media giants like Facebook or Twitter - is responsible for this threat. Yet, the problem of misinformation and the challenges posed by 'fake-news,' conspiracy theories, and lying in politics have a long history. In this course, we will ask whether and how misinformation threatens democracy and explore different potential solutions to this challenge. We will read various historical texts suggesting that misinformation is not a new phenomenon born in our digital age. We will learn about various past experiences of misinformation, such as discussions of the permissibility of lying in politics in antiquity, rumors about the end of the world in the Renaissance, and early modern debates about censorship and freedom of speech. We will see how several key figures in the history of more »
Many today consider misinformation to be one of the most significant challenges faced by democratic societies. Some see this as a new phenomenon, arguing, for example, that modern technology - and, above all, social media giants like Facebook or Twitter - is responsible for this threat. Yet, the problem of misinformation and the challenges posed by 'fake-news,' conspiracy theories, and lying in politics have a long history. In this course, we will ask whether and how misinformation threatens democracy and explore different potential solutions to this challenge. We will read various historical texts suggesting that misinformation is not a new phenomenon born in our digital age. We will learn about various past experiences of misinformation, such as discussions of the permissibility of lying in politics in antiquity, rumors about the end of the world in the Renaissance, and early modern debates about censorship and freedom of speech. We will see how several key figures in the history of political thought - from Plato and Aristotle to Hobbes and Mill - sought to deal with these problems. Combining close readings of historical texts and discussions of contemporary issues, we will ask whether and how we might be able to utilize historical knowledge and experience to understand and address some of the most pressing challenges we face today.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5
Instructors: Schwartz, A. (PI)

POLISCI 235N: Political Thought in Modern Asia (CHINA 146, CHINA 246, ETHICSOC 146, POLISCI 335N)

The study of political theory in the United States has been accused of being Western-centric: We tend to focus on intellectual traditions from Plato to NATO, while ignoring the vast world of non-Western societies and the ways they think about politics and public life. How do Chinese thinkers conceptualize human rights and good governance? How do Indian intellectuals reconcile democracy and inherited hierarchies in Hinduism? How do Islamic scholars view the relationship between religious authority and secular authority? Should we regard liberal democracy, or Western civilization more broadly, as representing the universal value guiding every society? Or, should we learn from non-Western ideas and values so as to solve problems plaguing Western societies? How can competing visions of good life coexist in a globalized and increasingly pluralistic world? This course aims to answer these questions by exploring three Asian traditions and their perspectives on politics: Confucianism, Hinduism, and Islam. We will focus on the modern period (19th-21st centuries) and the ways intellectuals in these societies respond to the challenge of modernity and Western superiority. Special attention is given to how these intellectuals conceive of the relationship between modernity and their respective traditions: Are they compatible or mutually exclusive? In which ways do intellectuals interpret these traditions so as to render them (in)compatible with modernity? We will read academic articles written by Anglophone scholars as well as original texts written by non-Western thinkers. No knowledge of non-Western languages is required.
Last offered: Winter 2022 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER
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