Summer Timetable

POL321H1S L0101

Modern Political Thought: Progress Through History


This course examines themes in the political thought of the modern era through the careful reading of texts that date from the 19th through the early 20th centuries. This course explores various theories of progress and contrasts them with viewpoints that challenge or question these ideas. It questions whether beliefs in humanity’s progressive liberation build on the same developmental and civilizational theories that legitimated slavery and colonialism. More specifically, its examines whether the rise of modern scientific thought enhances human freedom or gives rise to new forms of subjection. Finally, it considers the implications of our political agency and our power to intervene and reshape our political circumstances once we believe that history unfolds according to a particular pattern or predetermined path. To tackle these inquires, this course contrasts works from East Asian, African American and South Asian intellectuals into critical conversation with Euro-American “canonical” texts. Sequel to POL320HIF


Nakae Chomin, A Discourse by Three Drunkards on Government; Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right; Karl Marx, Selected Writings; Mohandas Gandhi, “Hind Swaraj” and Other Writings; Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality and Ecce Homo and Beyond Good and Evil; W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk.

Format and Requirements

Participation: 10%, Essay: 25%, Midterm: 35 %, Final Exam, 30%


POL200Y1/ POL200Y5/( POLC70H3, POLC71H3)