What is the course about?
This course is primarily a forum to explore some key themes and subjects from contemporary and historical political thought. The subject of the books is left broad, with a wide scope for potential texts: from issues of historical importance to radical ideas, all books of political thought are welcome.
At the first session a list of prospective titles will be circulated for potential future books to discuss. Other suggestions from the group will also be very welcome.
n.b. books suggested by the group must be fairly accessible, and of a reasonable length.
The first text we will be discussing is 'How Will Capitalism End?' by Wolfgang Streeck. Reviews:
“The most interesting person on the most urgent subject of our times” – Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian
“Streeck writes devastatingly and cogently … How Will Capitalism End? provides not so much a … forecast as a warning.” – Martin Wolf, Financial Times
“The most interesting person around today on the subject of the relationship between democracy and capitalism” – Christopher Bickerton, University of Cambridge
Note this course runs over four sessions on the following dates: 22/04/20, 20/05/20, 24/06/20, 22/07/20.
What will we cover?
Each session will cover a number of themes of the text:
- What is the argument of the text? Is it conditioned by its historical context?
- The strengths/weaknesses of the argument
- Whether the text is still relevant, and what it might mean in today's world
There will also be scope for more general discussion around the themes and issues raised by the book.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Approach and understand texts from contemporary and historical political thought
- Critically evaluate arguments from both a historical and philosophical perspective
- Express your own opinions on the ideas contained within key texts of political thought.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and requires no previous knowledge. It will, however, require the following:
1) An enthusiasm for reading non fiction and discussing texts in large and small groups
2) A willingness and abillity to do reading and preparation outside of the class. You will be expected to read the
selected text for each session. Please note that these may be up to 400 pages in length.
3) An interest in political ideas
4) An interest in, and ability to listen to, the responses of other students to the work discussed.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Each class will be a discussion of the work selected in the previous session (with the exception of the first, in which will be discussing: 'How Will Capitalism End?' by Wolfgang Streeck). This requires students to read a text in between each session.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need to buy or borrow a copy of each text we read. The class will be encouraged to choose texts that are cheaply available in paperback form.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Check out our range of politics and history courses on offer in our prospectus or on our website.