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POLI.3070 American Political Thought (Formerly 46.307)

Id: 005608 Credits Min: 3 Credits Max: 3


America, wrote George Santayana, is a young country with an old mentality. European political thought has deeply shaped American political values and institutions, but at the same time, America is not Europe. America is a young country, with a comparatively short history, that has been shaped by strange things; the "empty" freedom of the frontier, Indigenous occupants, unfathomable natural resources, intense religious fervor, and unprecedented human suffering. In short, America has its own distinctive tradition of political thought. In this course, we will explore the sources and threads of political thought in the American experience, drawing on both canonical political thinkers as well as popular and critical sources. We will begin with the Puritan colonial founding and continue through the present. This course highlights the relationship between learning the history of political theory in America and coming to our own contemporary political understandings. To that end, course work emphasizes reflective and contemplative practices, including a field trip to nearby Walden Pond.

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