Spring 2022 Course List

We offer four distinct tracks in our curriculum:

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

All majors in Civic and Economic Thought are expected to take at least one upper division course from each track, but you are encouraged to select a track as an area of emphasis to help guide your studies as you fulfill the remaining elective requirements in the program. 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.

If you are looking for spring 2022 graduate courses, click here

Schedule an advising appointment. 

New Course

James Weinstein

CEL 394 Freedom of Speech on Campus and in American Society

This new course taught by ASU law professor James Weinstein will be divided into three parts:

  1. Contemporary American free speech doctrine

  2. The history of the American university, its present day mission, and the concept of academic freedom

  3. Campus speech

Join this important - and timely - conversation.

Read more.

T/Th 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM | James Weinstein  | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32773)

Required Core Courses

CEL 100 Great Ideas Politics & 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)
Professor(s): 
T/Th 4:30 AM - 5:45 PM | Aaron Kushner | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #27459)
T/Th 9 AM - 10:15 AM | Jordan Dorney | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #27228)
M/W 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Emily Rap | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #21442)
T/Th 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM | Trevor Shelley | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #25034)
T/Th 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM | Johnson Wright | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #21441)

Available as an iCourse
Raul Rodriguez | iCourse (Session A: Class #26925)

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)
Professor(s): 
T/Th 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM | Andrew Humphries | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #33272)
T/Th 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM | Raul Rodriguez | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #25035)
T/Th 12:00 PM - 12:00 PM | Aaron Kushner | Tempe Campus (Session B: Class #26926)
T/Th 12 PM - 1:15 PM | Zachary German | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #21176)
M/W 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM | Catherine Craig | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #28503)
M/W 1:30 - 2:45 PM | Catherine Craig | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #34387)

Available as an iCourse
Aaron Kushner | iCourse (Session B: Class #26926)

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.
TTh 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM | Trevor Shelley | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #27230

CEL 475 Statesmanship and American 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.
MW 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Luke Perez | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #21440)

CEL 485 Capstone | SCETL’s Capstone course aims to give you a vantage point from which to consider your SCETL experience as it is winding up. It also aims at giving you an opportunity to demonstrate the confidence, knowledge, and skills you have gained. 
T/Th 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Paul Carrese (Session C: Class #34385)

Moral and Political Thought

CEL 394 Medieval Political Thought |
T/Th 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM | Karen Taliaferro | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32721)

CEL 394 Justice and Virtue (L or HU) | What is justice? This course explores this question through the lens of ancient political thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. Students will philosophize alongside great ancient minds through critical reading, analysis, and comparison of primary source texts in a participatory classroom environment. They will further enrich their perspective on perennial themes at the heart of politics and ethics: justice, citizenship, political and personal virtues, the rule of law, and the origins and purpose of political life.
T/Th 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Jordan Dorney | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32768)

CEL 394 Faith/Reason: The Trial of Galileo | Do religion and science complement each other or conflict? What are the limits of religious authority? How do political forces affect religious institutions -- and vice versa? This class explores these and other questions primarily through an immersive historical role-playing game, The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the New Cosmology, and the Catholic Church, which takes place in 17th century Rome as bishops, professors and scientists confront findings of modern science that clash with the Aristotelian cosmology which had informed Catholic philosophy and teaching for centuries. Beyond close reading of primary texts from the era, students will assume roles, from Cardinals and Jesuits to members of the Medici family, the Italian scientist Federico Cesi and, of course, Galileo himself. They will engage in debates over the nature of faith and the role of science in obtaining knowledge about the world, and ultimately hold Galileo Galilei's infamous trial.  
T/Th 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Karen Taliaferro | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32806)

CEL 494/513 Classic Texts in Leadership and Statesmanship | The theme of this course is political realism: the idea that we should look at the world as it really is, rather than thinking about how it should be. We will pursue our study of political realism through works of political thought and literature, the writings of Machiavelli, Aristotle, and Shakespeare's plays. The objective is to study the ideas that inform political realism from a modern perspective with an ancient response in Aristotle and Plato. Then, we will turn to Shakespeare to see the dramatic interpretation of these theories applied to human behavior and leadership.
T 4:50 PM - 7:35 PM | Colleen Sheehan | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #22078)

CEL 494 Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit | This course has two related aims. One is to provide students with a thorough introduction, on its own terms, to one of the greatest of all “great books” – Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), for which purpose we will be using the recent definitive English translation by Terry Pinkard. At the same time, we will also try to position our reading of the Phenomenology within three distinct historical contexts. First, there’s the moment of its own writing – at critical junctures, both in Hegel’s own philosophical development and in the wider history of the French Revolution (for which Rebecca Comay’s Mourning Sickness: Hegel and the French Revolution will be our chief point of reference). Secondly, there’s the moment of the text’s reception in France in the 1930s, now widely seen as a crucial turning point in 20th-century intellectual history – thanks, of course, to  Kojève’s lectures, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Finally, we will make a brief survey of the current re-reception of the Phenomenology of Spirit in Anglophone scholarship, with nods to Brandom, Jameson, Pippin, Pinkard, McGowan, etc.
T/Th 3:00 PM  - 4:15 PM | Johnson Wright | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #27231)

CEL 494 Politics & Literature | The theme of this “Politics and Literature” course is republicanism and empire, which we will study through our reading of Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus and Shakespeare’s Roman plays, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra. The premise of this class is that literature studied on its own, but also together with political philosophy texts, can enhance our understanding of the ideas pertaining to human ambition, political leadership and legitimacy, and the organization of society. By reading Xenophon’s text and Shakespeare’s plays, we bring to life the rivalry between philosophy and poetry as to which mode of literary presentation most effectively explains and displays the pageant of human thought, passions, and action.
T/Th 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM | Carol McNamara | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32156)

CEL 494/598 Becoming Human | People today often talk about the importance of respecting "human dignity" and "human rights." When one asks them what they mean by "human," however, they often have difficulty stating what is distinctively human or how human beings differ fundamentally from other animals. In this course we will begin by reviewing the two "classical" definitions of what is human in the Western tradition: the human being as made in the image of God in Genesis, and the human being as the political or rational animal put forward in Aristotle's Politics. Modern natural science has made both of these definitions incredible to many people. We will, therefore, turn to two attempts by later thinkers to explain how some animals became human in Rousseau's Discourse on the Origins of Inequality and Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals. Because both of these accounts have proved to have problematic political consequences, we will conclude by examining the problem in determining not only the definition but also and more importantly the value of what is distinctively human with which we are left. 
Th 4:50 PM - 7:35 PM | Catherine Zuckert | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #33274)

CEL 494 Locke and Rousseau on Civic Education |
W 4:50 PM - 7:35 PM | Michael Zuckert | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32809)

American Political Thought

CEL 394 Lincoln: Rhetoric, Thought, Statesmanship (L or HU) | Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded to be the greatest American President and one of the most noteworthy leaders in human history. In this course, we will examine the extent to which that judgment of Lincoln's leadership is sound. In particular, we will study the three most distinctive features of Lincoln's political career: (1) the rhetoric of his public speeches and writings; (2) his political thought on such topics as democracy, constitutionalism, union, liberty, and equality; and (3) his statesmanship both before and during the American Civil War. We will consider the claims of Lincoln's opponents during his life and his critics since then, as well as the arguments of his admirers. By doing so, we will aim to find some answers to the question: What might we learn about the challenges and possibilities of democratic statesmanship today from someone who lived more than 150 years ago?
T/Th 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM | Zachary German | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #22928)

CEL 394 Debates in American Civic & Public Affairs | This class is designed as an introduction to some of the key debates in American politics, with a focus on how American institutions and political ideas have developed and connect to current events. It is intended to bridge civics, history, and political science, allowing you to be both an informed observer of and participant in the American political system. Readings include a mix of the Federalist Papers, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, formative or important documents from American history, contemporary works of political science, as well as extensive readings from current events, as we discuss basic principles of public debate and politics in a free political order.
T/Th 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM | Sean Beienburg | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #26935)

CEL 394 Free Speech on Campus and in American Society | The course will be divided into three parts. The goal of the first part will be to gain a basic understanding of contemporary American free speech doctrine. We will read and discuss excerpts of the major Supreme Court free speech cases, especially those providing rigorous First Amendment protection to speech on matters of public concern in public forums and in the media. These readings will be supplemented by guest lectures by First Amendment lawyers involved in current free speech cases. The second part of the course will consider the history of the American university, its present day mission, and the concept of academic freedom. In the third and final part of the course, we will turn to campus speech. We will consider such issues as barring controversial speakers from campus; the line between appropriate and inappropriate means of protest against such speakers; sanctions on faculty and students for speech in the classroom or in open spaces on campus that some students claim interfere with their equal educational opportunities; and sanctions on faculty and students for off campus speech, especially on the internet, allegedly impairing on-campus equal educational opportunities. In doing so, we will focus on the extent to which the general free speech principles we studied in the first part of the course should apply at public colleges and universities via the First Amendment, and at private institutions of higher learning through adoption of such measures as the Chicago Principles. This inquiry will feature a debate between two prominent legal academics with differing views on these matters.
T/Th 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM | James Weinstein  | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32773)

CEL 394 Race and the American Story | This course is part of a nationwide movement that the Center for Political Thought and Leadership (within SCETL) at ASU is leading along with the University of Massachusetts and the University of Missouri. The course aims to serve as a model for improving diversity education on campuses across the country and to contribute to a more informed and unified national culture. The course syllabus consists in readings that tell the story of the confrontation between American political principles and the practice of racial injustice throughout our history. Students will read and discuss the Declaration of Independence, the slavery clauses in the Constitution, the poetry of Phillis Wheatley, and the speeches of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others. They will achieve a greater understanding of how diversity relates to humanity, and will learn to dialogue productively and respectfully with others who may not share their background or opinions. 
TTh 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM | Stephen Seagrave | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32994)

CEL 494 American Constitution II: Civil Liberties | This course is the second of a two-part sequence on the US Constitution and its development, covering civil liberties and civil rights. We begin with a discussion of the American Founding and earlier understandings of rights before moving broadly through the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment, with reference as well to the Arizona Constitution.  
T/Th 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM | Sean Beienburg | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32718)

CEL 494 Tocqueville on American Democracy |
M 4:50 PM - 7:35 PM | Daniel Mahoney | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32769 )

Economic Thought and Political Economy

CEL 350 Philosophy, Politics and Economics | 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.
T/Th 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM | Andrew Humphries | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #34665)

CEL 394 American Political Economy | This course considers the distinctive political economy of the United States. Political economy is usefully defined as the arrangements and interactions between the government and the economy. Some attention will be given to the period from 1776-1900, but the emphasis will be on the period from 1900 until the present, especially the key transformations in the relationship between the government and the economy (the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Reagan Revolution, and the Progressive Revival under Barack Obama). We will explore the interplay of ideas, policy, and politics. We will explore topic such as economic growth, inequality, the environment, the regulatory state, immigration, inflation, public debt, and trade. 
T/Th 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Peter McNamara | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #21178)

CEL 394 Classical to Modern Economic Thought |
T/Th 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM | Ross Emmett | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #23877)

Leadership and Statesmanship for the 21st Century

CEL 394 Sports and Leadership | It has often been argued that those who compete in sports are more likely to develop those qualities of character necessary for good, strong leadership. Even a quick or facile search of this topic would reveal the many figures associated with coaching or competing in sports who have been valorized for their leadership abilities. This course will investigate the supposed relationship between sports and leadership by first analyzing the nature of sports and competition from a philosophical viewpoint and then studying actual practices in sports, in the professional, collegiate and amateur spheres including youth sports.
MW 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM | John Doody | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32720)

CEL 394 Civilian-Military Relations in America |
TTh 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM | Bruce Pagel | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #34386)

CEL 394 Leadership & Service: Israel and the West Bank | Post-Spring (May 10-18). Listen and learn from Israelis and Palestinians of divergent views and narratives on religious, cultural, historical, and political issues. We will practice servant leadership in a variety of contexts and sites in Tel Aviv, East and West Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, including an Israeli settlement, a Palestinian refugee camp, and a Jerusalem bi-cultural classroom. Throughout the trip, you will enjoy opportunities to deepen your understanding of the challenges and rewards of leadership and global awareness in the 21st century, and the challenges of being a citizen and leader in a liberal democracy. Apply through the Global Education Office by January 8, 2022.
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM | Susan Carrese | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #34733)

CEL 394 Leading a Life of Meaning | Spring Break (March 7-12) at Pinerock Camp in Prescott, AZ. Apply through the Global Education Office by February 20, 2022 – the program is first-come, first-served so apply today!  In this experiential course, you will explore a fundamental concern: How do I live a life of meaning? Students will read thinkers ranging from Aristotle, Plutarch, and Cicero to Victor Frankl, Toni Morrison, and Wendell Berry – and will bring to bear their own life experiences – to understand concepts of love, friendship, work, community and identity in relation to living an examined life. These studies will be expanded through practical experiences of service work, meditation and film to create a vital SCETL intellectual community.
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM | Susan Carrese | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #34823)

CEL 494 Political Leadership and Statesmanship |
M/W 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM | Luke Perez | Tempe Campus (Session C: Class #32772)

"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. 

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.