This seminar explores recent trends in the field of political theory. Contemporary political theory focuses predominantly on new thinking related to justice, identity and democracy. Theories of distributive justice (developed by John Rawls) or communicative action (offered by Jürgen Habermas) often serve as a starting point the reconsideration of political community central to contemporary political theory. In the process of questioning the boundaries of modern political community, the inclusiveness of democracy, or the fairness of justice, political thinkers have moved beyond institutional definitions of politics and democracy. Rather, the subject (in all its forms: political, cultural, or social) and language have emerged as important points through which to understand "the political." As a result, this seminar addresses the politics of identity reflective of race, class, sexuality, gender, or location at work in the formation of democratic community and practice. Recent theories with this attention toward identity at their foundation have suggested new ways to think about democracy by emphasizing deliberation, new forms of citizenship, plurality, and a dissociation of democracy from the nation-state. Issues at the transitional level also closely related to these questions of democracy, including nationalism, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonial politics, are also addressed in the course.
Prerequisites: PG 104.