Term: Spring 2011

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 5022

This course examines Machiavelli's political thought and its relevance for politics today. It interrogates Machiavelli's ideas around key concerns including the means-ends relation, the meaning of the political and its articulation to the theological, the role of conflict and contradiction, the question of the event, and the problem of beginnings. The course also aims to study how Machiavelli has been read and recurrently indicted, praised, appropriated, or evoked from highly divergent theoretical and political standpoints. It evaluates Machiavelli's continuing significance for different theoretical problematics, such as civic humanism, democracy, sovereignty, political agency, history, revolutionary transformation, and gender politics. The course focuses on Machiavelli's major works, such as the Prince, the Discourses on Livy, History of Florence, and Art of War, but his personal correspondence and other writings (such as Life of Castruccio Castracani, Clizia, and Mandragola) are also considered. The course surveys the various reactions to Machiavelli, with particular emphasis on contemporary political thought. Authors include Rousseau, Frederick of Prussia, Hegel, Gramsci, Strauss, Althusser, Foucault, Arendt, Pocock, Pitkin, Lefort, Mansfield, and Abensour.

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