Five College Consortium

Democratic Theory

Semester: 
Spring
Year: 
2018
Subject Name: 
Political Science
Course Number: 
308
Institution: 
Amherst College

[PT]  What do we mean by “democracy”? Is democracy the rule of the people? Or is it free and fair elections? Is democracy merely a set of political institutions and practices, such as party systems and electoral structures? Or is democracy something more radical, such as the opposition to any form of domination? How these different meanings operate – how they do and don’t work together – is not always clear. In this course we will examine current debates in democratic theory. Our aim will be to parse different theories of what democracy is and could be. The course will be divided into three parts: Part One will serve as an introduction, questioning the possibility and impossibility of democracy, and paying particular attention to paradoxes of democratic rule. Part Two will focus on agreement, examining logics of consensus and the forms of democracy that might result. In Part Three, we will turn our investigation to disagreement, and the promise of democracy as seen through the lens of more radical and agonistic democrats. Readings will consist of selections from various theorists, including Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Rancière, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Carl Schmitt, Jacques Derrida, and Sheldon Wolin, amongst others. 


Requisite: Must have taken at least one Political Science or LJST course.  Limited to 20 students.  Not open to first-year students.  Spring semester.  Professor Poe.


  

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 
POSC-308-01-1718S

Course Sections

Democratic Theory
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 4.0 Andrew Poe apoe@amherst.edu MW 12:30PM-01:50PM CLAR 100