Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT9033 (AF:281411 AR:177820)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
2nd Term
Course year
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The aims of the course are consistent with PISE’s overall purposes, insofar they intend to promote and further the following abilities:
To know in general the fundamental themes and problems of the Western political tradition, its roots, its legacies, and the developments brought about by contemporary debate
To understand the historical and cultural paths of Western political thinking
To relate the main issues of western political thought with their historical and cultural context
Having completed the course, students will be familiar with a variety of positions and concerns within democratic and anti-democratic theories, as well as their major thinkers. Students are expected to:
Be familiar with the principal theoretical topics in the study of Modern Western political thought;
Connect the main political issues with their historical and cultural context
Compare different thinkers and identify their differences and consistencies regarding similar topics;
Examine current debates in such fields as democracy, antipolitics; populism.
Have developed key skills relating to: an understanding of substantive and conceptual issues, and scholarly debates; an ability to analyse different theoretical positions;
No prior familiarity with the specific subject matter is necessary but a previous course in modern and contemporary history is advisable
Main Topics:
The foundations of Modern political thought;
Social contract theories;
Revolutionary and counter-revolutionary thought;
Conservatism; Constitutionalism
Liberalism, democracy and imperialism at the turn of the XXth century;
Marxism, socialism, social democracy
Fascisms and Communism: challenges to liberal democracy
Christian Democracy;
Antipolitics; Populism.
Student attending classes will be provided with selected essays from:
Q. Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, CUP;
The Cambridge History of Political Thought, Cambridge University Press, 2008
Other texts presented and commented upon during classes.

Student not attending classeswill contact the teacher to agree upon a special programme They will be provided with the above mentioned selected essays; they will also study one book chosen among the following:
J.W. Mueller, Contesting Democracy: Political Ides in Twentieth-Century Europe, Yale University Press, 2011;
D. Bell, Essays on Liberalism and Empire, Princeton University Press, 2016;
Zeev Sternhell, The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition, Yale University Press, 2009
The oral test is aimed to prove the achievement of the above mentioned didactical purposes. More specifically, the first question checks the mastery of a well defined topic’s outline, the ability to frame it in its historical background, and to express oneself clearly and effectively; the second question checks the command of advanced theoretical notions, the proficiency in operating interrelations among them and the ability to conceptualize; the third checks the ability to analyze and comment quotations from selected authors.
Lectures, selected readings of key literature and authors
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 29/04/2020