Polsc 671: Syllabus
course is designed to create a deeper understanding and interest
in contemporary issues in political thought. Its topics
change frequently to keep up with the latest developments in the
field. This semester, the focus is on democracy. One
of the areas of greatest concern and debate in recent political
thought has been the communitarian challenge to the classical
liberal tradition. In the first part of this course, we
will explore the communitarians' ideas of political friendship
as a critique of contemporary liberal ideas of citizenship and
political participation within democracy. We will also explore
competing liberal and conservative understandings of democracy
that challenge communitarianism as anti-democratic. In the
second part of the course, we will turn to a study of the democratic
ideology of America through another lens, America's popular culture,
and in particular popular television. Popular television
shows such as Start Trek and The X-Files are examined for what
they convey about American democracy and America's impact on the
world. We will look at the globalization of America's democratic
culture and examine the claim that this global culture is "delegitimizing
Cantor, Gilligan Unbound, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers,
Inc., New York, 2001.
Bruce Frohnen, The New Communitarians and The Crisis of Modern
Liberalism, University of Kansas Press, 1996.
Michael Pakaluk, editor. Other Selves: Philosophers on Friendship.
Hackett Publishing Co., Indiana, 1991.
Other readings provided in class or on the Internet as indicated
in the syllabus.
midterm essay exam: 35%
In-class final essay exam: 40%
Book Review and Analysis: 25%
The "book review and analysis" portion of your grade consists
of a 7-10 page typewritten, doublespaced paper in which you choose
a book available in KSU's library, review it and incorporate into
your review your own analysis of its merits and its application
to issues raised in class. A list of applicable books
is available on the political thought web page, address above.
Introduction to Communitarianism
"Introduction: The Rediscovery of Virtue," pp. 1-17.
The Crisis of Liberalism
Ch. 1: "A Liberal Community?" pp. 18-56.
Video of Amitai Etzioni, on privacy, from NewsHour: link
If you do not have the ability to view this at home you may do
so in my office.
The Model of Friendship
selection from Rhetoric, pp. 72-76 in Other Selves.
Aelred of Rievaulx, "Spiritual Friendship," pp. 129-145 in Other
Immanuel Kant, "Lecture on Friendship," pp. 208-217, in Other
Soren Kierkegaard, "You Shall Love Your Neighbor," pp.
233-247, in Other Selves.
How Can We Unite? Civil Religion and Founding Myths
Ch. 2: "From Social Cohesion to Radical Reform: The Politics of
Civil Religion," pp. 57-74.
And Ch. 3: "Rhetorical Foudings and the Great Leader: Garry Wills
and America's Principles," pp. 75-100.
Education: The Path to Proper Socialization?
Ch. 5: "Liberalism as Social Movement: Communitarianism in Practice,"
Education and the Development of Moral and Civic Responsibility,"
by Anne Colby and Thomas Ehrlich
with Elizabeth Beaumont and Jason Stephens,The Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, linked on the Communitarian
The Liberal and Conservative Response
Ch. 6, "Covenant, Contract, and the Power of Interpreters," pp.
Frohnen, Ch. 7, "Religion and the Ends of Communal Life," pp.
Culture in the Age of Globalization
Links in this section are for your reference and do not include
required reading unless otherwise announced in class by the instructor.
Why Popular Culture is Important
"Introduction," pp. ix-xxv.
Cantor, "Notes on Method," pp. xxix-xli.
National Television and the Democratic Ideology of America
"The Courage of the Fearless Crew": Gilligan's Island and the
Americanization of the Globe," pp. 3-33.
Tome's Gilligan's Island with episode synopses...
America: The End of History?
"Shakespeare in the Original Klingon: Star Trek and the End of
History," pp. 35-64.
Detailed Guide to the original series's plots
Global Television and the Decline of the Nation-State
"Simpson Agonistes: Atomistic Politics, the Nuclear Family, and
the Globalization of Springfield," pp. 67-109.
Springfield on the web...
The Simpsons Archive
on the web...
The X-Files: Mainstreaming Paranoia
"Mainstreaming Paranoia: The X-Files and the Deligitimization
of the Nation-State," pp. 111-198.
I want to believe X-Files Movie info
"There's No Place Like Home," pp. 199-211.