Field Seminar in Political Theory: Paradigms of Contemporary Political Theorizing

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 6301

This field seminar in Political Theory is required of all students in the Theory track. It introduces students to four or five major paradigms of contemporary political theorizing: for example, (neo-Hegelian) communitarianism, (neo-Kantian) liberalism, neo-Marxian Critical Theory, (neo-Nietzschean) genealogy, and (neo-Heideggerian) deconstruction. The focus is on assessing the respective strengths and weaknesses of the paradigms. In each case, we begin by examining a major text that serves as an exemplar of the paradigm. Then we consider the most important critiques of its underlying assumptions and the most compelling appropriations of its signature concepts. Because proponents of each paradigm have commented critically on the others, the course effectively reconstructs a multi-layered conversation among many of the leading voices in contemporary political theory.

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