Course Materials

Government 97: Tutorial -- Sophomore Year  << click for syllabus and course information

This one-semester course is designed to provide all Government Department concentrators with a unified and challenging intellectual experience in the study of politics. The course covers a selection of topics on the theme of "Democracy" and draws on materials ranging from classics in political theory to cutting edge research in the discipline today.

Government 1056: Identity Politics: Pluralism and Democracy  << click for syllabus and course information

Examines the political theory of pluralism. What is the difference between identity politics and interest group politics? When should democracies recognize and accommodate particular religious, racial, cultural groups (or others) in awarding rights or benefits, providing exemptions from the law, and guaranteeing political representation? How much self-government should groups be permitted to exercise over their members? Readings combine legal cases and historical and contemporary political theory.

Government 1061: Modern Political Philosophy

Reading and Discussion of the basic concepts of Political Philosophy.

Government 1056: Identity Politics  << click for syllabus and course information

Reading and Discussion of concepts of indentity in political thinking.

Moral Reasoning 68: Legalism: Ruly and Unruly Thought and Practices   << click for syllabus and course information

"Legalism" refers to rule-making, rule-following, and legal reasoning. This course considers the omnipresence of legalism in every aspect of our lives—from criminal due process to Harvard course requirements to the rules made and enforced by voluntary associations like the Boy Scouts. Public law is only one of many systems of rules under which we live. Our social universe is jurisgenerative.

The course invites students to explore the distinctive characteristics of legalistic modes of thought and the moral justifications offered for legalism. We will also consider a variety of moral objections to legalism and the power of romantic resistance to rule-making and rule-following. Legalistic practices and institutions—juries, university disciplinary committees, contracts, "truth commissions", and others—provide materials for reflecting on the use and misuse of rule-making and rule-following.

With readings from literature, court cases, and works in moral and political philosophy, students will contend with justifications for making laws and rules, for following them, and what happens when the various systems of law under which we live conflict: the obligations of citizenship and the demands of faith, for example, or public rules of fairness and the internal rules of private membership groups, or the civil law of marriage and the marriage practices of cultural groups.