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Spring 2013 Courses

Spring 2013 Courses

Introduction to Political Theory

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook 

Instructor: Church
Course Number: POLS 3310H
Class Number: 14850
Day & Time: TTH 10:00–11:30 am

Recurring themes and problems in the study of politics; draws upon classical and modern works.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements.

Liberalism and Its Critics

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook 

Instructor: Church
Course Number: POLS 3342H
Class Number: 35794
Day & Time: TTH 2:30–4:00 pm

The fundamental tenets of liberalism—individual rights, equality under the law, the value of toleration—are so familiar to our political experience that we rarely give them a second thought.  However, many past thinkers have leveled radical criticisms against liberal principles and institutions, and these criticisms continue to arouse political discontent in many parts of the world today. In this course, we will address these criticisms by first examining the origin and basis of liberalism in its classic articulations (Locke and Mill).  Second, we will turn to the criticisms of liberalism from the Left (Rousseau and Marx) and the Right (Burke and Nietzsche) to investigate what the source of these criticisms are, what merit they may have, and finally what implications these criticisms have for contemporary liberal politics.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements.

Classics in the History of Ethics

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook 

Instructor: Morrisson
Course Number: PHIL 3358H
Class Number: 30540
Day & Time: MWF 10:00–11:00 am

What systems of thought have come to shape contemporary Western morality? In this course I will examine this question through readings of Hume, Kant and Nietzsche. The goal of our reading will be to explore three texts that diverge significantly on the origins of modern Western ethical thinking. We will closely consider the roots and implications of these divergences.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements. 

Open and Closed Societies

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook 

Instructor:  Sommers
Course Number: PHIL 3395H
Class Number: 36126
Day & Time: TTH 4:00–5:30 pm

Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual. But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic? Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace? Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country? Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization? Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or might a political order that emphasizes individual freedom be suitable for some cultures but not others? This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives. Texts include Plato’s Republic, Huxley’s Brave New World,  Popper’s Open Society and Its Enemies, Mill’s On Liberty, Berlin’s Four Essays on Liberty, Fukuyama’s “The End of History,” and selections from Marx, Durkheim, and De Tocqueville.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements.

Who Owns Antiquity? The Battle over our Cultural Heritage

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

(Petition for Honors credit.)

Instructor:  Dué Hackney
Course Number: CLAS 2366
Class Number: 34608
Day & Time: M 1:00–4:00 pm

Who owns the past? This class combines the study of ancient objects with readings in ancient primary sources, modern journalistic accounts, and current debates surrounding cultural property. It aims to imbue students with a broad understanding of the issues at stake. We will think about why history matters, what purposes historical narratives and artifacts serve, who gets to interpret them, and why. While we will consider questions of museum ethics and policy, the heart of the class will be far reaching discussions about why we care about the past, when and how we seek to control it, and the influence historical narratives have on current conflicts. In addition to exploring why modern nations seek to own the past by laying claim to the world’s antiquities, we will consider how the aesthetics and artistic movements of different time periods have been influenced by the discovery of antiquities. Finally, we will debate what role the study of antiquity should play in a modern education. 

Course is limited to 20 students; be sure to register early. This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements.

Violence & Martyrdom

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

This course is cross-listed as RELS 4360, 38014 "Clash of Civilizations."

Instructor: Zecher
Course Number: CLAS 3397H
Class Number: 34676
Day & Time: TTH 2:30–4 pm

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 toward Classics and Religious Studies minors. This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements. This course is an Honors Colloquium.

Fifth Century Athens: Readings in Intellectual, Literature, and Political History

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Instructor: Dué Hackney
Course Number: CLAS 4305H
Class Number: 34609
Day & Time: W 4:00–7:00 pm 

This course gives an overview of intellectual trends and political history of fifth-century BCE Athens. Topics include the development of Democracy, the birth of Tragedy, the Persian Wars, Athenian Empire, court system, art and architecture, the Peloponnesian Wars, the Sophistic movement, and the death of Socrates. The readings come from the primary sources of the period, including Herodotus and Thucydides, Greek comedy and tragedy, and the dialogues of Plato. This course was designed for the Classics major and minor, as well as the Phronesis, World Cities, and World Cultures and Literatures minors, but all are welcome. It fulfills the Writing in the Disciplines Core requirement.

This course counts toward the Phronesis minor requirements.

Myth and Dreams among Ancients and Moderns

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Instructor: Armstrong
Course Number: CLAS 4353H
Class Number: 34607
Day & Time: M 4:00–7:00 pm

This course will look to the function of myths and dreams as they play out in certain key texts from antiquity, and how modernity in turn uses the concepts of myth and dreams in the reception of ancient culture. Assignments will include dream analysis, so all wild dreamers are welcome.  Readings will draw from Egyptian, Greek and Roman literature as well as modern authors like Bachofen, Schiller Nietzsche and Freud.

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

The Lence Seminar: Tyranny

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Instructor: Hallmark
Course Number: POLS 4394H
Class Number: 38551
Day & Time: TH 5:30–8:30 pm

The goal of the seminar is to recapture, to the degree possible, the essence of a Lence course. This will not be easy. For those who knew Professor Lence as a teacher, colleague or friend, no explanation of him is necessary; for those who did not know him, no explanation will ever suffice. While this is true, the Honors College and the alumni who conceived the seminar—all students of Professor Lence—are in agreement that the seminar is quite worth the effort, because it will provide a unique educational experience, while at the same time keeping the memory of Professor Lence alive. It is anticipated that members of the Honors College and former Lence students will play an active role in the seminar, and there may be special events, guest lecturers, or classes that are team-taught. 

I took my first class with Professor Lence in the fall of 1974. It was a selected topics class, POLS 368T – “Tyranny,” that met in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays in 302 AH. So, for the inaugural Lence Seminar, I have decided to go back to my beginning and reexamine the topic I first studied with Professor Lence nearly 40 years ago. The course will, for the most part, follow Professor Lence’s original syllabus, although I have taken the liberty of dropping some thinkers (positivist Gustav Bergmann and Marxist Herbert Marcuse) in favor of others (Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Montesquieu). 

The course will begin, as it did before, with an article by Leo Strauss. Xenophon’s Hiero, which is a dialogue between the tyrant Hiero and the poet Simonidides regarding the life of the tyrant, will come next, followed by Plato’s Republic, portions of Aristotle’s Politics, Machiavelli’s Prince, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Richard III, and two fables by Montesquieu, Lysimachus and Sulla and Eucrates. The two plays by Shakespeare reflect the influence of my teacher Harry Jaffa, along with Allan Bloom and others who view Shakespeare as a serious political thinker. Montesquieu’s two fables, especially Sulla and Eucrates, are remindful of the Hiero, so the course will come full circle, from the Ancients to the Moderns. 

Registration for this course requires the instructor’s approval. Contact Terry Hallmark ( or Andy Little ( for details.

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

The Political Economy and Ethics of Market Processes

Undergraduate Catalog  Honors Coursebook

Instructor: Granato
Course Number: POLS 4394H
Class Number: 35790
Day & Time: MW 1:00–2:30 pm

This course studies the relation between citizens and market processes. The course covers three broad areas. The first area of emphasis is on introducing students to a variety of market mechanism concepts.  This includes the role of prices in allocating resources and the process of creative destruction. The second area focuses on the role of government in market processes and how that influences citizen choice, the relation between citizens and the government, and the consequences for material well-being. The third and final area centers on the ethics and morality of the market mechanism viewed from a classical liberal perspective.

Students who take this course will be required to evaluate all issues by asking the following questions: 1) What are the alternatives to a particular viewpoint?; 2) What is the cost (i.e., trade-offs) of the particular viewpoint?; and 3) What is the hard evidence supporting a particular viewpoint? 

Using these three questions and integrating them with the course material, students will develop basic competency in:

  • The use of analytical tools for purposes of interpreting important issues in public policy.
  • Expressing abstract and applied ideas and arguments.
  • Abstract—and critical—thought.

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