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Fall 2012 Course Descriptions

Fall 2012 Courses

Violence & Martyrdom

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Course & Class Num: CLAS 3397, 36501
Days & Times: TTH 2:30-4:00 PM
Instructor: Zecher

This course is cross-listed as RELS 4360, 36009 The Clash of Civilizations.

Is there a difference between suicide and martyrdom? Between martyrdom and lawful execution? How can so many groups justify different claims to divine favor by a violent death or something like it? To answer these kinds of questions, this course will look at the surprising ways in which violence was understood in Antiquity. We will explore the Greco-Roman and Jewish discourses of violence and, through these, examine how Christian martyrs emerged as a phenomenon which would—and still does—play a crucial role in shaping secular societies as well as religious.

We will first explore traditions of noble death in Greco-Roman literature—ranging from the death of Socrates to Livy’s History of Rome and Euripides’ tragedies. We will then examine the rise of Jewish martyrdom through selections from Maccabean literature and Apocalyptic texts. We will then explore in depth early Christian notions of martyrdom, for which we will read selections from the Acts of the Martyrs, as well as short pieces from the first centuries like Tertullian’s "Cure for the Scorpion’s Sting," Origen’s "Exhortation to Martyrdom," and Eusebius’ church history.

Classes will be a mix of lecture and discussion over primary texts, evaluated via critical papers and in-class participation.

This course counts as an Honors Colloquium. This course counts toward Classics, Religious Studies, and Phronesis minors.

From Kosovo to Gaza: Military Intervention and Human Security

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Course & Class Num: HON 4397H, 36803
Days & Times: MTWThF 5:30–8:30 PM
Instructor: Faber

Military interventions are an attack on state security and human security. In this course we will consider different types of military interventions and analyse its impact on the security of ordinary people. Who are the providers of human security when the state is unable to fulfill its obligations? In a normal situation, human security is provided by the state through the rule of law. But in a war situation, human security is often provided by non-state actors, not least by the people themselves. We call this 'human security from below'. We will discuss the various concepts of intervention and security and apply them to Srebrenica, Kosovo, Iraq and Palestine. Our aim is to reach a better understanding of the impact of the security component at different levels during war situations.

This course will meet for three weeks in November, for 45 contact hours. The course will be interactive. Students are divided in small groups. Each group will do a class presentation based on one of the cases. Each student has to write a paper (5,000 words). Grades are based on active participation in the course, class presentation, and awritten paper.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements. This course counts as an Honors Colloquium.

Note: Independent study political science credit may be available for this class; see the Student Services Office for more details.

Medical Ethics

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Course & Class Num: PHIL 3354, 10018 
Days & Times: TTH 10:00–11:30 AM
Instructor: Nelson
(petition for Honors credit)

An introduction to issues in medical ethics. The course will divide into two main parts, with more emphasis on the first than on the second.

The first part focuses on "micro level" questions. These include the roles of patients and medical professionals in making treatment decisions: decisions about continuing or discontinuing treatment, issues of patient autonomy, euthanasia and assisted suicide, problems with severely compromised newborns and problems of aging. We may also touch on other topics about the patient physician relation, such as truth telling and confidentiality. The second part will focus on public policy regarding access to health care, health care reform, and perhaps some public health issues.

This course counts toward the Medicine & Society minor requirements. This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements.

Feminist Philosophy

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Course & Class Num: PHIL 3356, 10015
Days & Times: MW 1:00–2:30 PM
Instructor: Freeland
(petition for Honors credit)

This course is an advanced survey of feminist philosophy. We will consider the roles of women in the history of philosophy, liberal vs. radical feminism, accounts of the body in feminist philosophy, recent controversies over “difference” vs. “sameness” feminism, feminist views on science and epistemology, and feminist challenges to more traditional philosophical views about autonomy and the self. No philosophy background is assumed, but there will be regular reading assignments, and students new to the discipline may find some of these readings more dense and abstract than what they are used to. The class will involve roughly 50% lecture and 50% class discussion, sometimes in small groups; grading will reflect the requirements of regular reading, writing, and group participation. There will be five units in the course, covering different varieties of philosophical approaches to and bases for feminism. A unit outline will be distributed via the course website with the schedule of readings and assignments for each unit.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements. This course counts as an Honors Colloquium.

19TH Century Philosophy

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Course & Class Num: PHIL 3395H, 10013
Days & Times: MWF 10:00AM–11:00AM
Instructor: Morrisson

In this course we will examine nineteenth century philosophy through the lens of its treatment of Christianity. What is the fate of Christianity in the post-Enlightenment world? How do the intellectual developments of the previous three centuries influence the approach to thinking about the Christian God and Christian ethics? We will read Feuerbach, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements. This course counts as an Honors Colloquium.

Introduction to Political Theory

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook 

Course & Class Num: POLS 3310H, 36719
Days & Times: MW 5:30–7:00 PM
Instructor: Hallmark

Ancient political philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle believed that man's nature is revealed not in mere life, but in the good life, the life lived in accordance to reason. They considered man's passions to be base, arbitrary and tyrannical, and they thought the tendency of the passions is, above all, to enslave men. They taught, therefore, that a man is truly free and virtuous only to the extent that his reason predominates and is able to subdue and rule his passions.

On the other hand, modern political thinkers such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau recognized man's passions as the supreme power or force in human nature, and argued that reason can do no more than serve man's basic instincts and desires and guide them to their fulfillment. The moderns believed that they had discovered the true principles of human nature and that, by means of this new understanding of man, new sources of power could be found in politics and natural science. This represented a fundamental break with the ancients.

This course will attempt to come to terms with these two competing views of man and politics by reading the following: Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, selections from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, Discourse on Inequality, and The Social Contract.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements. This course counts as an Honors Colloquium.

Political Thought from Machiavelli and the Renaissance

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook 

Course & Class Num: POLS 3341H, 33172
Days & Times: TTH 2:30–4:00 PM
Instructor: Church

In this course, we will explore modern political thought through two related modern concepts—the ideas of "culture" and the "nation"—as they relate to political society. Culture has become an important concept in recent years with the increasing intensity of the "culture wars" in America, as well as policy disagreements about how to accommodate "multiculturalism." In Europe, politicians and scholars have debated how and whether to defend their "national identity" in the wake of recent immigration patterns. In the first part of the course, we will engage with several contemporary texts to confront these issues and others (works by Charles Taylor, Will Kymlicka, Samuel Huntington). Then, in the second part of the course, we will read several 18th and 19th century authors who developed these notions of culture and nation, in order to understand the original motivation and character of the concepts (works by J.G. Herder, J.G. Fichte, Friedrich Schiller, Matthew Arnold).

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements. This course counts as an Honors Colloquium.

American Political Thought

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Course & Class Num: POLS 3349H, 15290
Time & Location: TTH 10:00 - 11:30, 343 PGH
Instructor: Bailey

Lincoln's famous claim that America was "the last best hope on earth" is now open to debate. But in order to understand this debate, we must first understand America. This course will attempt to accomplish this by encountering the most important political questions posed throughout American political history, particularly during the various "foundings" of America. In addition to traditional political writings, we will read works of American literature.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements, and is an Honors Colloquium.

Contemporary Islamic Political Thought

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Course & Class Num: POLS 4394H, 33196
Days & Times: MW 2:30–4:00 PM
Instructor: Weiher

In the late eighteenth century, the French invaded Egypt and occupied it for three years. This began a period during which Middle Easterners were unavoidably confronted with Western power and culture. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Islamic political thought was dominated by what are variously called the Islamic reformers or the Islamic modernists—Jalal al Din al Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, and Rashid Rida. While remaining committed to Islam, the Islamic reformers favored incorporating Western elements—science, reason, constitutional government—into Islamic societies. This movement, however, took place at the elite level of these societies. The reformers were never able to win over the Islamic masses, nor were they able to propose a specific synthesis between reason and revelation. Their influence began to wane in the 1930s, and by the time of the creation of Israel (1948), their day was over. There followed a twenty year interval during which secular regimes dominated the political landscape. Arab socialism, as manifested most famously in Nasr's Egypt, rejected Islam except to pay lip service to it in order to pacify traditional elements of society. With the defeat in the 1967 war against Israel, secularism was discredited. Those who had been calling for the revival of Islam—Maududi in India/Pakistan beginning in the thirties, Sayyid Qutb in Egypt during the 50s and 60s, and Khomeini in Iran in the 60s and 70s—received a more receptive hearing from peoples who rejected Western political models, whether liberal and democratic or socialist. For Maududi, Qutb, and Khomeini, Islam was above all a political ideology that called for the foundation of an Islamic state. This course examines the work of Afghani, Abduh, Rida, Maududi, Qutb, Khomeini, and Ali Shariati in order to relate Islamic reformism and Islamic radicalism to Western modes of political thought and to each other.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements.