Fall 2023 Course List

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership offers four distinct academic tracks in its undergraduate curriculum.

  • Moral and Political Thought
  • American Political Thought
  • Economic Thought and Political Economy
  • Leadership and Statesmanship for the 21st Century

To graduate with a BA or a BS degree in civic and economic thought and leadership, students are required to take at least one course from each academic track in addition to the required core courses. A variety of upper-division courses are offered in each track every semester to allow you to tailor your academic experience in SCETL to your own goals and interests.

Schedule an advising appointment. 

"SCETL is kind of a mix of a few things. You get economics, you get history, you get philosophy all blended into one, which is a really cool and unique experience to be able to hear from all of these different schools of thought and you get to challenge yourself." - Justin H. 

Required Core Courses

CEL 100 Great Ideas of Politics and Ethics (HU)

Introduces fundamental debates and ideas of politics in both the West and beyond. Surveys ancient, medieval, and modern thinkers — such as Plato and Aristotle, Aquinas and Augustine, Machiavelli, Locke, and Rousseau — tracing their influences on contemporary debates with a focus on the great questions of human nature, social and political life, and the relationship between religion and politics. Enrollment requirements: Credit is allowed for only CEL 100 or CEL 194 (Great Ideas of Politics and Ethics)


M/W 1:30pm - 2:45pm | Emily Rap | Tempe Campus | Session C: #80242

M/W 3:00pm - 4:15pm | TBD | Tempe Campus | Session C: #82991

M/W/F 9:05am | Aaron Kushner | Tempe Campus | Session C: #87354

M/W/F 10:10am - 11:00am | Post-doc | Tempe Campus | Session C: #81618

M/W/F 11:15am - 12:05pm | Matthew Slaboch | Tempe Campus | Session C: #92319

M/W/F 11:15am - 12:05pm | Matthew Slaboch | Tempe Campus | Session C: #87361

M/W/F 11:15am - 12:05pm | Aaron Kushner | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85496

T/TH 9:00am - 10:15am | Adam Seagrave | Tempe Campus | Session C: #97026

T/Th 10:30am -11:45am | Jacob Boros | Tempe Campus | Session C: #94438

T/Th 12:00pm - 1:15pm | Kent Wright | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85916

T/Th 1:30pm - 2:45pm | Karen Taliaferro | Tempe Campus | Session C: #87584

T/Th 1:30pm - 2:45pm | Evan Lowe | Tempe Campus | Session C: #87541

T/Th 3:00pm - 4:15pm | Luke Perez | Tempe Campus | Session C: #89239

T/Th 3:00pm - 4:15pm | Jacob Boros | Tempe Campus | Session C: #82032

Available as an iCourse

Evan Lowe | Session A: #82632

Catherine Craig | Session B: #95887

CEL 200 Great Debates in American Politics (HU)

Introduces fundamental ideas and debates about liberty and equality in American thought from the colonial era to the present, focusing on major political figures and issues--ideas that continue to shape political debates in 21st-century America, thus providing crucial foundations for future leadership roles in either public affairs or the private sector. Enrollment requirements: Credit is allowed for only CEL 200 or CEL 294 (Great Debates in American Politics and Economics)


M/W 1:30pm - 2:45pm | Aaron Kushner | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85498

T/Th 10:30am -11:45am | Evan Lowe | Tempe Campus | Session C: #92355

T/Th 12:00pm - 1:15pm | Adam Seagrave | Tempe Campus | Session C: #94497

T/Th 3:00pm - 4:15pm | Zach German | Tempe Campus | Session C: #82635

T/Th 12:00pm - 1:15pm | Adam Seagrave | Tempe Campus | Session C: #94498

Available as an iCourse
Catherine Craig | Session A: #95889
Jacob Boros | Session B: #83917

CEL 300 Debating Capitalism

Explores and debates the politics, economics, and morality of capitalism — the system of society that allows space for markets, profit-seeking, and money-making. Also gives a broad introduction to the study of political economy. Readings cover the period from antiquity to modern commercial society.

T/Th 9am - 10:15pm | Peter McNamara | Tempe Campus | Session C: 80240

CEL 475 Statesmanship and American Grand Strategy (HU)

Discusses great ideas and figures in political leadership and statesmanship, from ancient Greece and early modern Europe to America's founding and the present global uncertainty, especially the major arguments about war, peace and international affairs--ideas that shape foreign policy and grand strategy debates in the 21st century, thus providing crucial foundations for future leadership roles.

T/Th 10:30am - 11:45am | Paul Carrese | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85915

Moral and Political Thought

CEL 394 Comparative Political Thought

How did ancient China think about politics? How did Islamic philosophers interact with European thought? In this course, students examine politics through global classics, from ancient China and India classics to modern Islamic thought. Discussion-based classes challenge students to make connections across times and cultures, reflecting on timeless and timely political questions across the globe.

T/Th 3:00pm - 4:15pm | Karen Taliaferro | Tempe Campus | Session C: #89241

CEL 394 Justice & Virtue

Are you ever in a difficult situation and ask yourself, "What should I do?" --"What is the right thing to do?" SCETL's "JUSTICE!" course will explore these challenging questions in a seminar of lively discussion and debate.

M/W 12:00pm - 1:15pm | Colleen Sheehan | Tempe Campus | Session C: #94806

CEL 494 Classical Mythology

Zeus and Hera, Dido and Aeneas, Oedipus and his mother – who wouldn’t like to get to know these and the rest of the cast of classical mythology a little better? This introduces students to the myths of the Greeks and the Romans via their primary literary sources – Homer, Hesiod, and the Greek dramatists, Vergil, and Ovid. You’ll emerge not only with a solid grasp of the content of classical mythology, an understanding of philosophers and political thinkers.  

Th 4:50 pm - 7:15 pm | Kent Wright | Tempe Campus | Session C: #95483

American Political Thought

CEL 494 American Constitution I: Structures and Powers

Who sets policy under the U.S. Constitution? Arizona? Congress? President Biden? Beginning with a discussion of the American Founding, we will learn about how and where the Constitution allocates power among the states, Congress, presidents, and justices. This is the first of a two-part sequence on the U.S. Constitution and its development.

M/W 1:30pm -  2:45pm | Sean Beienburg | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85502

CEL 494 Arizona Politics & Constitutionalism

Why do we vote on initiatives in Arizona, but not for our federal government? This course will cover Arizona’s Constitution, constitutional federalism, and Arizona’s rather colorful political history. Since most policy is made by the states, this course prepares thoughtful citizens better able to make a political difference.

W 4:50pm - 7:35pm | Sean Beienburg | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85503

CEL 494 The American Founding

This course covers the period from 1776 until 1800—from the Revolution until the peaceful transfer of power between parties.  The Constitutional Convention and the early debates about the meaning of the Constitution will be a particular focus.

M 4:50pm - 7:35pm | Peter McNamara | Tempe Campus | Session C: #95476

Economic Thought and Political Economy

CEL 304 Classical to Modern Economic Thought

A survey of economic thought from classical to modern economics; including classical economics, Marxist economics, neoclassical economics, institutionalist economics, Austrian economics, Keynesian economics, Chicago economics, new institutionalist economics, and public choice.

T/Th 1:30pm - 2:45pm | Ross Emmett | Tempe Campus | Session C: #89732

CEL 350 Philosophy, Politics and Economics

This course prepares the foundation for students to become active participants, as citizens and leaders, in a liberal democratic society that faces an uncertain future. Provides familiarity with core conceptual tools provided by philosophy, politics and economics, and an appreciation for the foundation they provide together to address social and political uncertainties we face today as well as in the future. Reliance on any one disciplinary set of tools and skills is useful, of course, but the real challenges of any liberal democracy are met by neither technocratic nor bureaucratic solutions. They require an awareness of the relevance of ethics, politics and economics, as well as an appreciation for the limitations of each and the necessity of thinking through their interactions.

| TBD | Tempe Campus | Session B: iCourse

Leadership and Statesmanship for the 21st Century

CEL 394 U.S. National Security Challenges: Ukraine/Russia

What role should the US play in opposing Russian aggression? This course will examine the war's strategic, operational, and tactical evaluation focusing on US interests. Students will better understand how national security institutions deal with the Ukrainian-Russian war.

T/Th  10:30am - 11:45am | Bruce Pagel | Tempe Campus | Session C: #94794

CEL 394 The American Military Enterprise

The military is a mystery to most Americans. We will survey the American way of war through history, key institutions, structures, and challenges. This course will improve your civic understanding of the military's role in American society.

T/Th 3:00pm - 4:15pm | Bruce Pagel | Session: C #94791

CEL 394 Shakespeare's Leadership in the Pines

This experiential seminar will allow students to read, perform, and debate Shakespeare’s relevant lessons for 21st-century leadership through three classic plays, two unique pedagogies, and one unique setting.  During September, as preparation for the seminar, students will read Shakespeare’s bildungsroman of leadership and statesmanship, The Life of Henry V, and participate in a pre-departure class seminar.   This will provide a context for our first four days of faculty-student retreat to read, perform, and discuss The Tragedy of Macbeth and The Tempest.  In the mountains and pines of Prescott, AZ, we will explore the theory and practice of leadership and statesmanship: ambition, moral character, education for legitimate and just leadership, how to inspire toward noble aims, situational ethics, and cultural context.  Mornings and evenings will involve formal sessions of reading and discussion, with a few afternoons reserved for independent scholarship, hikes, and conversation.  For the final two days, students will be coached in a leadership lab, focusing on Henry V, by nationally acclaimed Ken and Carol Adelman of “Movers and Shakespeares.”  Dr. Carol Adelman is a policy fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., and Dr. Ken Adelman served as deputy ambassador to the U.N. in the Reagan administration.  Our guests will share not only their deep knowledge of King Henry’s ability to lead a “band of brothers,” but also lessons from their own careers in Washington and around the globe, plus a costumed performance.  Finally, with Henry, Prospero, and Macbeth as our profiles in leadership, each student will write a series of final essays examining the texts carefully, then applying Shakespeare to personal ‘character’ as an emerging leader.

| Susan Carrese | Tempe Campus | Session DYN (10/6 - 10/10, 10/14 and 10/15): #85746

CEL 394 Sports & Leadership

Why are sports important to society? Discover why fans are obsessed with their favorite teams, by taking Sports and Leadership with Professor Jack Doody. Enroll today!

T/Th 1:30pm - 2:45pm | Jack Doody | Tempe Campus | Session C: #128623

CEL 394 Liberalism & Conservatism in America

What does it mean to say that someone is "liberal" or "conservative"? In this course, you will examine varieties of liberalism and conservatism in the United States and consider their status in contemporary American politics. Take this course to enhance your understanding of others’ political thought and your own.

 T/Th 10:30am - 11:45am | Zach German | Session: C #94796

CEL 429 What is Europe?

This course looks at Europe, past and present, and the interdependency of history, religion, politics and political statesmanship, societies and culture through incomplete but indefinitely expandable groupings selected for their transmission dimensions—a transmission that includes historically effective patterns of cultural power projection and appropriation beyond the national focus. Our goal is to evaluate critically the demographic, cultural, historical, and geopolitical aspects that have gone into the making of Europe. Historical events and movements, as well as philosophical systems, religious structures, and literary/written texts of local contexts take on a new life as they move into the world at large. To understand this new life, we need to look closely at the ways in which history, religion, politics, societies and culture become reframed in the new cultural contexts, offering a window on the past and helping us to examine the present.

T/TH 12:00pm - 1:15pm | Ileana Orlich | Tempe Campus | Session C: #88515

CEL 494 GIE: War and Culture in Central Europe: Empire or Liberal Democracy?

Stepping back in history, you will also learn about the country’s ties with the former Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires as well as the USSR that still cast a long shadow over the nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Students will also participate in academic visits to Ceausescu’s People’s Palace, Dracula’s Castle in the Carpathians, Transylvanian Castles, and more!

| Ileana Orlich | Session DYN (Pre-Fall 8/3 - 8/15): #94807

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CEL 494 Society and Culture in Modern Europe

We will discuss issues relating to the three empires spread across Central and Eastern Europe, the fault line of the Western, Islam and Orthodox civilizations, the Soviet and Communist Gulag, Stalinist tactics, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution, the dramatic execution of the Ceausescus in Romania two centuries to the year after the French guillotined Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette and stormed into the Bastille (1789), and the new, emerging democracies of a fragmented Central and Eastern Europe. Finally, we will examine the crisis triggered by BREXIT, the rising of Islam and ascending secularization of Western Europe, the ongoing war in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea (2014), NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe (missile shields in Poland and Romania) and the current war refugees from Ukraine to Europe’s central and western countries through the porous borders of Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary.

| Ileana Orlich | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85919

CEL 494 Globalism, Nationalism & Citizenship

Are you a global citizen or a national citizen—or both? Explore the arguments of the globalist-nationalist debate to understand what is at stake and why they are at odds today. Participate in this great debate to gain philosophical and historical perspectives on this old political attitudes clash and deepen your understanding of community and citizenship.

M/W 3:00pm - 4:15pm | Trevor Shelley | Tempe Campus | Session C: #90061

CEL 494 Just War

Can war ever be morally justified, even morally obligatory? This course examines the morality of war, foreign policy-making, and the conduct of soldiers. Students will read competing philosophies of war, and apply those insights to contemporary war problems.

T/Th 12:00pm - 1:15pm | Bruce Pagel | Tempe Campus | Session C: #85920

CEL 494 Technology & The Good Life

We live in a world that, for most people, has been fundamentally transformed by modern science and technology. Technology we often say: can be used for good or for evil, it is morally neutral. Does that mean that the transformation we speak of is about new means, but not new ends, new devices but not new goals or purposes for human life? Or does modern technology radically transform our visions of the human good? In this course we will explore these alternatives, for differing views on them are at the heart of many a current debate about technological development and regulation.

T 4:50pm - 7:35pm | Charles Rubin | Tempe Campus | Session C: #95909

Course Spotlights

Explore the roots of political order, from ancient Greece to modern India or study the debates over fundamental American principles! Hear directly from our students and faculty on what civic and economic thought and leadership courses are all about.