Thinking about political things in a liberal arts framework means, first of all, thinking about what our sources for knowledge might be. This course proposes that we turn to works of literature - novels, plays, poetry - as a way of rounding out more traditional narrative sources. We begin by examining what this might entail, through reading such works as "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "The Apology of Socrates," and then considering a couple of essays by Milan Kundera. These will provide a working overview of the intellectual history in which we find ourselves. We will then move to literature, looking at plays, short stories, and novels for their political insights. The core themes will invite students to explore the role that interactions with others - politics - plays in establishing the meaning of "the good life." We will return to King, Socrates, and Kundera at the end of the course to see whether our understanding of politics has been extended or enriched by the addition of sources outside "political science."
- Teacher: J J Barlow
JC_SEMESTER: 22 W