Politics of Violence

Term: Fall 2009

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 6407

This course inquires into the relationship between politics and violence. It explores the centrality of violence to political power as articulated by early modern, modern, and contemporary political theorists. It investigates questions of individual and collective preservation, legality, legitimacy, and morality. It considers the implications of violent political action as a method of subjugation and resistance, as a logic of contestation, and as a form of self-expression by the dispossessed, drawing comparisons with non-violent resistance. It aims to distinguish between different forms of violence: crime, warfare, terrorism, revolutionary struggle, among others. The course focuses the theoretical discussion of violence on ongoing practices that are relevant to our political lives, ranging from capital punishment and torture to suicide attack and domestic abuse. Theorists include Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Bakunin, Arendt, Benjamin, Fanon, Gandhi, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Visual material and films will also be shown.


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