Fall/Winter Timetable

POL381H1S L0301

Topics in Political Theory

Privilege and Opportunity


This course will examine (1) a certain kind of privilege, i.e. monopolization of a good or advantage by a more-or-less-closed group, and (2) opportunity as the absence of privilege or an attack on privilege, via extension of access to that good or advantage to those outside the group. We will study, from the perspective of normative political theory drawing on empirical knowledge, historical and current instances of privilege based on a variety of group memberships (e.g. aristocratic birth, class, gender, race, religion), and policy disputes arising from contention over opportunities to access various goods (e.g. the ownership, control, and use of land; employment; housing; education; privacy; freedom of movement; and personal security). The course will end by discussing contemporary liberalism as a project devoted to attacking privilege and demanding wider opportunity, rather than being primarily about rights, discourse, or modes of justification.



Format and Requirements

Two short papers (1100-1500 words; 45%); Three-hour course exam (45%); Participation (10%).


POL200Y1 or POL200Y5 or (POLC70H3 and POLC71H3)