Field Seminar in Political Theory
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Politics
Course Number: GPOL 6301
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Social Sciences
  • Politics
  • Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
The field seminar in political theory introduces students to the history of Western political thought from the early modern to the contemporary era. Every year there is a different theme. At a meta-theoretical level, this year’s course will interrogate the question of the subject. The course will explore the influential thinkers of the Western political tradition, reading their works with the goal of discussing how they have explicitly theorized modern subjectivity and delineating the conceptions of the subject that are implicitly at work in their thought. It will also examine the constellation of concepts, which are associated with the emergence and modulations of modern subjectivity (human nature, state of nature, freedom, equality, passion, desire, reason, will, body, subjection, etc.), as they have been articulated by various thinkers. The course will consider how distinct conceptions of the subject have informed and influenced different approaches to politics. Among theorists that will be studied are Machiavelli, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Montesquieu, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Stirner, and Marx. This course is required of all Ph.D. students in the theory track, and it is intended to help them prepare for the comprehensive field examination.
Course Open to: Majors Only