Thursday, January 14, 2016

Spring 2016 Courses

The semester approaches and I have drafted new versions of my "Modern Political Philosophy" course as well as a democratic theory course entitled "The Power of the People." I'm also supervising eight outstanding thesis writers in the Political Science department, so it will be a busy winter and spring!

In "Modern Political Philosophy" (draft syllabus here) I'm teaching Adam Smith for the first time as well as devoting a few weeks to colonialism, multiculturalism, and the politics of recognition with readings from Frantz Fanon, Nancy Fraser, Axel Honneth, Audra Simpson, and Glen Coulthard. When I taught a course on capitalism at Deep Springs a few years ago I first recognized the proximity of Smith and Marx; teaching them in succession leads students to see how much the latter emerges from the former and thus how communism can really follow from capitalism. My addition of readings around questions of recognition also stems from the last time I taught "Modern Political Philosophy" at Bryn Mawr when I saw how much students wanted to think more about multiculturalism and issues of identity in diverse societies. Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks is so brilliant and my experience teaching that as a prelude to work on contemporary work (in my Hegel and the Politics of Recognition course at Deep Springs in Spring 2014) showed its effectiveness in opening up these questions even to students insulated from the struggle for recognition.

"The Power of the People" (draft syllabus here) examines democracy and democratic theory with a special emphasis on deliberative democracy. This course owes a lot to conversations with two of my good friends from graduate school and especially David McIvor, who taught a very similar course at Colorado State last year. I'm excited to teach contemporary work by folks like Danielle Allen and Jeffrey Stout as students consider what democracy could mean beyond national elections, both at the grassroots level in the United States as well as around the world. I'm also experimenting with a critical literature review aimed at helping students to join the research conversation about democracy so that they can contribute to (and popularize) this work.

I will post final versions of these syllabi in the coming week under Teaching.