PSCI 598-304 Tuesdays
Radical Democracy 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.
Professor Anne Norton
We often take democracy as an undisputed good, yet it is hard indeed to find any praise of democracy in the Western canon. Contemporary political theory and Western political systems both treat democracy as a danger and the people as a problem to be managed. This seminar is intended to question those assumptions. We will read both canonical and less known works from a variety of traditions: Thomas Paine, the Antifederalists, Schmitt, Wolin, Rancière, Swabian peasant rebels, Caribbean pirates, al Farabi, Rousseau. We will also look at diverse sites of democratic practice, from the ancient Near East and the Norse althing to New England Townships. The course will also question the relation of democracy to rights, liberalism, equality and property. Aspects of the course will be drawn from and sympathetic to theorists understood as radicals and from others regarded as politically conservative, especially libertarians and others suspicious of the state
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