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This course introduces fundamental debates and ideas of politics in both the West and beyond. It surveys ancient, medieval and modern thinkers in the Greek, Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, tracing their influences on contemporary debates with focus on the great questions of human nature, social and political life, and the relationship between religion and politics. We study both the ideas and historical statesmanship of such figures as Plato, Cicero, Tertullian, Aquinas, Saadyah Gaon, Maimonides, AI-Farabi, lbn Rushd (Averroes), and AI-Ghazali, as well as various leaders and writers from modernity in America and abroad.
This course examines the contemporary debate over the globalist-nationalist divide, which many now argue is the more salient axis along which political opinion presently turns, rather than the traditional left-right division. Students will examine contemporary arguments and discussion regarding globalism and nationalism in a broader historical context of political and philosophical thought, to consider the present debate as a species of the inescapable tension between "the universal" and "the particular" in human life.
This course centers on an exciting mock trial-type exercise in which students assume roles as participants in the famous trail of Galileo for heresy. In this trial, the new science — as brilliantly propounded by Galileo — collides with the elegant cosmology of Aristotle, Aquinas and medieval Scholasticism. The issues range from the nature of faith and the meaning of the Bible, to the scientific principles and methods as advanced by Copernicus, Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Giordano Bruno, and Galileo. Central texts include Aristotle's "On the Heavens and Posterior Analytics"; Galileo's "Starry Messenger", "Letter to Grand Duchess Christina", and "Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems"; the declarations of the Council of Trent; and the Bible.
Was the U.S. Constitution a mistake? During the constitutional ratification debates of1787-88, the Anti-Federalists argued that it would be, while the Federalists maintained that it structured the government well and that it was the best governing document possible under the circumstances. In this course, we will examinethe arguments, ideas, and questions raised by the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Their debates provide resources to understand and contribute to contemporary political and constitutional debates, and they model how intellectually deep, and morally serious, public discourse can be. We will study their arguments and apply them to our current politics, while considering the rhetorical and other demands placed upon statesmen in constitutional, democratic systems. We will also consider the arguments of critics of American constitutionalism in American history and in the present day, as well as proposals to amend the Constitution.
This course is designed as the first of a two-part sequence on the Constitution and its law and development; in this course, emphasizing the powers and structures of government, specifically federalism, the separation of powers, and rule by the law of the Constitution itself. We will begin with a discussion of the American Founding, then move to the consolidation of judicial review as we, like earlier Americans, grapple with questions about what the Constitution is and who is authorized to interpret it. We then discuss the division of powers between the states and federal government, and allocation of powers between Congress and the president, including in foreign policy and emergency powers; and discuss the different understandings of constitutional interpretation (e.g. originalism and "living constitutionalism") that underlie these fundamental debates. Our focus is not only judicial decisions and case law, but also broader constitutional deliberations among legislators, presidents, governors, and the American people. The class culminate in a moot court exercise.
This course will provide students hands-on training in the important art of political speechwriting. Students will study and analyze great political speeches of history and learn how to apply rhetorical techniques and skills to the kinds of political contexts in which politicians might find themselves today.
This courses emphasizes the relationship, positive or negative, between markets and morality in a capitalist system. Our approach will be historical and comparative. We will begin with the classical world which, for the most part, looked down on economic activity. We will then consider the modern philosophers and political economists most associated with both the rise of capitalism and the emergence of the science of political economy. Readings will come from Aristotle, Locke, Mandeville, Smith, and Marx, among others.
In this course, students will be introduced to the classic writings that gave birth to the modem political world. Important concepts such as the state of nature, the social contract, natural rights, laws of nature, liberty, equality, democracy, republicanism, political representa- tion, popular sovereignty, and others are invented or given new meaning by political thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and others. These concepts lead, in turn, to the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and eventually the remaking of the political landscape throughout the world.
This course will begin with a study of the Arizona state constitution and its relation to the Constitution of the United States, including an exploration of the concept of federalism in American political thought, history and law. The second half of the course will be devoted to recent and contemporary Arizona state politics. This portion of the course will involve collaborating on legislation with current Arizona state representatives and senators who will visit the class in person.
This course will examine two of the most prominent categories in American politics today: "liberalism" and "conservatism." Since both
liberals and conservatives often have disagreements among themselves, we will study the intellectual origins and philosophies of the varieties of liberalism and conservatism in the United States, including classical liberalism, progressive liberalism, libertarianism, constitutional conservatism, traditional conservatism and more. By providing students with a deeper understanding of the diverse viewpoints that shape the beliefs of American citizens, the course will help students to grapple more deeply with their own political and social positions, and it will prepare students to be leaders amid the diversity of American social and political life. Students will read philosophic texts closely, write analytic papers and participate in class discussions.
Tocqueville's Democracy in America has been described as "the best book ever written on democracy and the best book ever written on America." What this description suggests is that Tocqueville'swritings contain deep insight into the nature of democratic societies and the character of the United States beyond his particular historical context. Tocqueville prompts us to consider the relationship between democracy and politics, law, philosophy, religion, economics, the arts, education, and more. We will read Democracy in America closely, and we will evaluate the extent to which "Tocquevillean" analyses shed light on contemporary democratic challenges in the US and beyond. Students will lead class discussions and write analytic papers.
In this course, students will be introduced to classic writings of the medieval era that explore the relationship between faith and reason,
and that view the political community in relation to transcendent realities and purposes rather than the rights or desires of the isolated individual. Students will follow these medieval philosophers and theologians in their attempts to build on ancient philosophical insights while adhering to divine revelation. Connections between themes and concepts of importance to medieval authors — such as natural law and the common good — and modern criticisms of Western liberal democracy will be explored and discussed.
This course will explore the crucial intersections between these three normally separated disciplines. Although philosophy, politics, and economics are usually studied as separate fields, it is ultimately impossible to achieve a well-rounded understanding of any of them without simultaneously taking all three into account. Many of the most influential writers in these fields — from Plato and Aristotle to John Locke and Adam Smith — blended philosophy, politics, and economics seamlessly in their writings. Students will reach a more complete understanding of each of these fields of study by persistently viewing them in their connections with each other throughout the course.
This course compares selected texts in political thought, across civilizations or traditions, that address the ultimate foundation(s) for
basic political principles such as justice and order. A special focus is the relationship between reason, religious faith and custom or tradition as sources of authority for political thinking and action. We will focus on traditions and texts from Islam, Hinduism and Confu- cianism. Western texts on religion, philosophy and political authority are interspersed with readings from classic Eastern texts, 20th century political works by Eastern and Western thinkers, and recent scholarship.
This course will focus on the lives, times, and leadership qualities of prominent American leaders throughout our history. Leadership hastakenmanyformsinAmericanhistory, bothpolitical—asinthecasesofGeorgeWashington,AbrahamLincoln,RonaldReaganor Barack Obama — and non-political — as in the cases of Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Addams or Martin Luther King, Jr.
This course explores the US national security architecture and the process the US uses to formulate national security policy. We will survey the institutions and sometimes opaque forces that pressure U.S. policy makers from outside the national security establishment, including Congress, the media, and the defense industry, among other powerful external influences. This semester (Fall 2019) we will examine the US national security apparatus through the lens of US national security interests in Latin America, with emphasis on Colombia and Venezuela. We will discuss the turmoil in Venezuela, border security and Plan Colombia. We will concentrate on policy development and implementation at both the strategic and operational levels. We will also cover the role of strategic leadership and how critically important effective leadership has been and continues to be in fashioning and managing the most vexing national security and foreign policy challenges.
This course will provide an overview of the four major periods of political thought--ancient, medieval, modern, and post-modern--and engage in close readings of classic texts from each of these periods. The concept of justice will serve as an organizing theme, comple- mented by analyses of other political concepts such as virtue, the common good, natural law, rights, liberty and equality. Texts include Plato's "Republic", St. Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica", Machiavelli's "Prince", John Locke's "Second Treatise of Government", and John Rawls' "A Theory of Justice", among others.