Social & Political Philosophy I (PHIL*6600) | College of Arts

Social & Political Philosophy I (PHIL*6600)

Code and section: PHIL*6600*01

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: Monique Deveaux


Method of Delivery:

Weekly seminar meetings, in-person or (if circumstances require) over zoom.

Course Synopsis: Grounded & Engaged Approaches in Political Theory/Philosophy

This course examines the shift in recent decades away from ‘ideal theory’ and towards more grounded and engaged approaches to normative theory/philosophy. These approaches share a belief that there is value in theorizing in ways that center people’s lived experiences (vs. starting from abstract principles and norms). We’ll read both philosophical defenses and examples of these alternative approaches to ‘doing’ theory differently, which proponents say can better help us to understand social power and oppression, as well as the responses by social movements. These include ‘realist’ approaches; political philosophy that makes central use of empirical research, such as qualitative interviews and ethnographic studies; engaged, participatory, and solidaristic approaches to normative theorizing; Indigenous, grounded/place-based theorizing; and dialogic, democratic, and reciprocity-based approaches to theorizing. The thinkers we may read include Brooke Ackerly, Luis Cabrera, Angela Y. Davis, Glen Coulthard, Raymond Geuss, Genevieve Fuji Johnson, Matthew Longo, Charles Mills, Ingrid Robeyns, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Kyle White, Jonathan Wolff, and Deva Woodly. 

Assignments & Means of Evaluation:

  • Oral expression (in-class/video class discussion): 15%
  • 10 short written reflections pieces (due before class): 15%
  • Oral presentation + written version of presentation (2000 words/5-6 pages): 25% 
  • Final research paper (6000-7000 words, or 14-17 pp.): 45% (due mid-December)

Required Textbooks:

This course uses online resources.

* Please note:  This is a preliminary web course outline only.  The Philosophy Department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.