Summer 2020  |  POL 1201 Section 001: Political Ideas (82878)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
Completely Online
Class Attributes:
UMNTC Liberal Education Requirement
Online Course
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
06/08/2020 - 07/31/2020
Off Campus
Virtual Rooms ONLINEONLY
Enrollment Status:
Open (31 of 33 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
This course serves as an introduction to the study of political theory. Political theory analyzes the meaning and significance of fundamental concepts in politics. Starting from such basic concerns as the nature of politics, humans, power and justice, political theorists explore how these basic starting assumptions organize the norms, practices, and institutions of political and social order. To explore these topics, the field turns to key texts, as well as to political and social events and other media (film, historical documents, etc.). In this introductory course, students will investigate some of the basic texts in political theory, with the goal of learning how to read texts more analytically and to address fundamental questions in political theory. Among the topics that might be the nature of justice and injustice, political obligation and civil disobedience, democracy and other forms of governance. Students who complete this course will understand the deep issues about the nature of politics, will have learned to read and to analyze complex texts. They will also have had the opportunity to reflect upon their own ethical engagement in political life and upon the ways in which historically, political ideas change.
Class Notes:
Class Description:

Aristotle once called human beings "political animals,"meaning that, unlike gods or the other animals, we naturally create institutions to govern ourselves. What those institutions should look like, what values they should embody, and who should be in charge prove to be difficult questions that Aristotle leaves for us. Building on Aristotle's definition, this course offers an introduction to political theory, a sub-discipline of political science. By exploring some of the core issues and concepts of political theory, students will grapple with a number of "big questions" about politics in history and in the present: Why and how does politics matter in our everyday lives beyond the voting booth? On what basis is political authority seen as legitimate? How should we understand and embody political values like justice and equality in our own lives? What is the role of economics (capitalism, socialism, etc.) and economic inequality in the creation of political order? What should we think of the use of violence or non-violence in contemporary politics and protests? To explore these "big questions," we will relate historical readings to contemporary "hot-button" issues here in the Twin Cities, the US, and the globe.

50 Pages Reading Per Week
9-10 Pages Writing Per Term
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
9 January 2017

ClassInfo Links - Summer 2020 Political Science Classes

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