Meg Mott | Dalrymple 29B | 802-451-7556
sample program courses what plan looks like
"Political theory might be defined in general terms as a tradition of discourse concerned about the present being and well-being of collectivities. It is primarily a civic and secondarily an academic activity." Sheldon Wolin
At its most basic level, political theory considers the nature of power. Political theorists ask philosophical questions about politics, using both lived experience and imagined communities to look for answers. Over the ages, political theorists have been both the creators and destroyers of governments; all of this activity purely on the strength of their prose.
Political theory at Marlboro pays close attention to the constitutive effect of language. The words on the page and the grammar in our minds, define and declare the limits of our political imaginations. All political theory classes and tutorials focus on careful reading and authentic writing. Writing is key to the activity of theorizing. Besides considering the discourse of published theorists we'll use our papers to consider the well-being of our current collectivities.
In a recent article in PS:Political Science and Politics(July, 2005), Nicholas Tampio gives us some good advice on how to write political theory. Tampio draws on the three metamorphoses from Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra as metaphors for the three stages of a political theory essay. "First, become a camel, i.e., someone who carries the weight of inherited values and traditions. Then, transmogrify into a lion, i.e.., someone who resists established ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. Finally, become a child, i.e., someone who sees the world through fresh eyes" (392). Whether in a class essay or a plan paper, political theory asks you to fundamentally change yourself as a way of changing the world.
It is highly recommended that students take RLP in their sophomore or junior year.
Classes offered in the Fall of 2007:
SAMPLE PROGRAM OF STUDY
First Two Years
- Study broadly! Any course from any discipline offers grist for the theoretical mill.
- An introductory political theory class
- An introductory political science class
- If you haven't taken RLP yet, try and take it this year.
- Two intermediate and/or advanced theory classes.
- Writing Political Theory
- Analyzing Social Change
- Creative Non-Fiction
- Get focused! Take a class that focuses on a specific text or a specific region
- Writing Political Theory
Introduction to Political Theory (Fall 2007) Mott Anglo American Political Imagination (Fall 2006 Mott Latin American Political Imagination (Spring 2007) Mott The Body Politic (Spring 2006) Mott
American Jurisprudence (Fall 2005) Mott Feminist Social & Political Thought (Spring 2007) Mott Analyzing Social Change Rummel Politics of Materiality (Fall 2006) Mott Early Modern Political Thought (Spring 2006) Mott
Writing Political Theory Mott Contemporary Political & Social Thought (SSC 63) Levy Introduction to Poststructural Theory (CDS 448) Birjepatil
COURSES OFFERED OCCASIONALLY or as needed:
Politics of Education Mott Medieval Political Theology Mott