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Each seminar runs only subject to sufficient student demand. This seminar explores western political thought at a crucial period in its development, between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. It centres on readings from key texts in political thought, informed by consideration of the wider historical and intellectual context. Among the major themes of the era were the religious strife generated by the Reformations, the intellectual aspiration for rationality, and the increasingly intensive governments developed by western European states, including their colonial ventures. (Foreign language texts are read in English translation: there is no language requirement for this course.)

Sample Syllabus

  1. The Renaissance background
  2. More and Erasmus
  3. Reformation Political thought: Luther & Calvin
  4. Jean Bodin
  5. Thomas Hobbes
  6. John Locke
  7. David Hume, Political Essays
  8. Adam Smith
  9. Voltaire, Political Writings
  10. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality and The Social Contract