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TR 10:00-11:15 AM
To be "radical" means "to go to the roots." In this course, we will explore what it has meant to go to the roots of social and political life, especially in the modern world where self-consciously "radical" movements -- of the "left" and the "right" -- have emerged over the last two centuries. What are the roots of politics? What is "politics," after all? What do we mean by "revolution," "reform," or "reaction"? Are varieties of "radicalism" -- not long ago consigned to the dustbin of history -- re-appearing in our turbulent age? Does the traditional "left-right" axis make sense any longer? Ideas and movements examined will include socialism, communism, anarchism, feminism, fascism, and Islamism.
CHIJI AKOMA AND OLUKUNLE OWOLABI
TR 1:00-2:15 PM
Art and history are political. Indeed, they are more political than we care to acknowledge. The political and economic realities in modern Africa and the Caribbean are not only formed by contemporary structures of governance and global economic forces, but the peculiar histories of slavery and colonialism in these two regions of the world have combined to impact their postcolonial conditions. This team-taught course is a multi-disciplinary endeavor that uses theoretical, conceptual, and empirical knowledge from history, development economics, and political science, to explore the rich and diverse literary traditions of contemporary Africa and its large diaspora in the Caribbean Region. The course not only looks into the political dysfunctions that follow the dark histories of these postcolonial territories, but it also seeks to offer our students theoretical and aesthetic tools with which to appreciate the interface between the political and the cultural.
The first half of the course will be primarily focused on Africa. We will examine how the interaction of European-dominated states and African societies resulted in distorted views of tradition and modernity, contributing to neo-patrimonial forms of governance in postcolonial Africa. We explore this theme through the lens of political theory and literature. The second half of the course turns its focus on the Caribbean, exploring dependency and underdevelopment, as well as the interactions among class, race, and ethnicity in Trinidad, the most culturally diverse of all the Caribbean islands. Along the lines of the latter, we will examine Earl Lovelace’s novel, The Dragon Can’t Dance, to consider the centrality of Carnival in Caribbean consciousness, not simply as a cultural expression, but as the prism through which the complexities of race, ethnicity, and class as powerful factors in West Indian civil society are best understood.
PETER WICKS AND MARY HIRSCHFELD
TR 11:30 AM-12:45 PM
Our economic life raises a number of important ethical questions: At what point does economic inequality become unjust? Are there moral limits on what may be bought and sold? Is a thing's price always a sign of its value, and if not how can its value be determined? Economic theory increasingly influences the way in which we think about rational choice and human welfare, but does the economic approach to human behavior illuminate or obscure the true nature of the decisions we face? In this interdisciplinary, team-taught course we will examine some of the most fundamental questions at the intersection of economic theory, moral philosophy and theology.