Spring 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)

T/Th 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. | Johnson Wright | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 20112
T/Th 1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Emily Rap | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 20113
T/Th 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. | Matthew Slaboch | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 22901
T/Th 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. | Karen Taliaferro | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 31042)
T/Th 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. | Aubrial Harrington | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 24380
T/Th 10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. | John Doody | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 34782
T/Th 1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Karen Taliaferro | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 34796
M/W 1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Thad Botham | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 35380

Available as an iCourse
Evan Lowe | Session A: Class # 24088
Evan Lowe | Session B: Class # 31041

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)

T/Th 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. | Sean Beienburg | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 19891
T/Th 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. | Catherine Craig | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 22902
M/W 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. | Jacob Boros | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 25012
T/Th 10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. | Evan Lowe | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 27949
M/W 1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Stephen A. Seagrave | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 28717

Available as an iCourse
Jacob Boros | Session A: Class # 34705
Jacob Boros | Session B: Class # 24089

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 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. | Trevor Shelley | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 24253

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.

M/W 1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Luke Perez | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 20111

Moral and Political Thought

CEL 305 Classical Political Statecraft

Examines political leadership, ambition and the common good in the texts of thinkers from the Ancient world. From thinkers as diverse as Sun Tzu, Thucydides and Tacitus, to Plato, Cicero and Dante, asks questions about the essence of the common good, justice and war as they were lived and discussed by the contemporaries of the age. Proceeds through discussion and student-led presentations of the enduring questions these texts raise.

M/W 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. | Luke Perez | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 34753

CEL 394 The Psychoanalytic Movement: Freud and Social Thought

Get a handle on psychoanalysis with this thorough introduction to Freud’s own writings and become acquainted with two leading traditions of post-Freudian psychoanalysis: the German (Horkheimer and Adorno, Marcuse) and the French (Lacan) traditions. Throughout this course, you and your classmates will discuss what Freud and his followers tell us about history and society – as well as what history and social thought tell us about psychoanalysis.

T/Th 3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. | Johnson K. Wright | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 27633

CEL 494 Politics & Literature (L)

Professor Zachary German

What does the author of the "Chronicles of Narnia" have to say about politics, civic life, and the human condition? This course explores the political, philosophical, moral, and theological thought of C.S. Lewis. Students will engage with a selection of Lewis’s most thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction works. 

T/Th 1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Zachary German | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 24254

CEL 494 Modern Political Philosophy: Machiavelli, Montaigne, Descartes

Each of these philosophers introduced a distinctive characteristic of modern life. Machiavelli put forward a new theory of self-interested politics. Montaigne advocated toleration. Descartes proposed a new scientific method of obtaining knowledge to improve human existence.

W 4:50 p.m. - 7:35 p.m. | Catherine Zuckert | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 27214

CEL 494 Classic Texts in Political Philosophy and Justice

Colleen Sheehan

Provides an overview of the four major periods of political thought--ancient, medieval, modern and post-modern--and engages students in close readings of classic texts from each of these periods. The concept of justice serves as an organizing theme, complemented by analyses of other political concepts such as virtue, the common good, natural law, rights, liberty and equality. Texts include: Plato's Republic, Aristotle, Politics, St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica, Machiavelli's The Prince, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, John Locke's Second Treatise of Government, Hamilton, Madison, Jay's The Federalist and John Rawls' A Theory of Justice.

W 4:50 p.m. - 7:35 p.m. | Colleen Sheehan | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 33550

American Political Thought

CEL 394 Race and the American Story

M/W 3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. | Stephen A. Seagrave | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 27588

CEL 394 Lincoln: Rhetoric, Thought, Statesmanship

What might we learn about statesmanship today by studying someone who lived more than 150 years ago? In this course, you will examine what Lincoln said, thought, and did. Take this course to reflect on the characteristics, challenges, and possibilities of statesmanship in a democratic society, and to think more deeply about liberty, equality, democracy, constitutionalism, and union.

T/Th 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. | Zachary German | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 34883

CEL 494 American Constitution II

What civil liberties do you have under the US Constitution? We begin with a discussion of the Founding and earlier understandings of rights, before moving broadly through the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment, with reference also to the Arizona Constitution. This is the second of a two-part sequence on the U.S. Constitution and its development.

T/Th 3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. | Sean Beienburg | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 27586

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 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. | Ross Emmett | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 34755

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.

T/Th 3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. | Andrew Humphries | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 28927

CEL 394 Debating Socialism

This class explores the concepts of value, economic calculation, and the Socialist Calculation Debate in relation to the viability of central planning in a modern economy. What is "value" and what relation does it have to money prices? What problems would a socialist commonwealth face in assigning value to resources? Is socialism of a central planning variety a viable alternative to capitalism? What is the relationship between totalitarianism, democracy, capitalism and socialism?

T/Th 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. | Andrew Humphries | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 34798

Leadership and Statesmanship for the 21st Century

CEL 394 Civilian-Military Relations

Is the military too “woke?” Does the American public still trust the military to be both apolitical and effective? Does the military have too much influence over military affairs? Is there a civil-military crisis? We will examine these questions, and others, using case studies that focus on the Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations.    

T/Th 1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Bruce Pagel | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 19892

CEL 394 Leading a Life of Meaning


Retreat to the mountains with Aristotle, Cicero, Shakespeare, and contemporary poetry to reflect on questions of life, love, and leadership in this 3-credit course in Prescott, AZ.

Susan Carrese | March 6, 2023 - March 11, 2023 | Class # 29061

CEL 394 Leadership & Service: Israel & The West Bank

Susan Carrese | May 12, 2023 - May 20, 2023 | Class # 28987

CEL 394 Law of Armed Conflict

“Targeted killings” and drone strikes, cyber warfare, and war crimes are all subject to the law of armed conflict (LOAC). In this course, you will explore these issues, and more, focusing on how LOAC is applied on the modern battlefield, including the war in Ukraine. This class will expose you to the complex legal challenges warfighters often face in armed conflict.   

T/Th 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. | Bruce Pagel | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 34776

CEL 494 Strategies of Political Leadership

This course examines the political skills of America's most revered leaders, such as Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Reagan, and shows how pure politics is the foundation and handmaid of American statesmanship.

M 4:50 p.m. - 7:35 p.m. | Henry Olsen | Tempe Campus | Session C: Class # 27214

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.