Faculty of Arts


Modern Political Thought

Please note: this is archived course information from 2019 for POLITICS 209.


Political opinions are many. Viable political theories appear fewer. This course explores contemporary political theory. Students will learn about the history and theoretical structure of political opinion and debate in the twenty-first century. Students are encouraged to use this knowledge to discuss and analyse contemporary ethical and political questions.

The main focus of the course is the late twentieth century/early twenty-first century liberal theory of political authority. Along the way, students explore certain challenges which liberalism faced/faces and how liberal thinkers have responded. Specific topics include Marxian thought, indigenous rights, the ethics of war, global justice and feminism.

Combining the material essential for basic understanding with sophisticated theory, this course should be of interest to any student curious about exploring his or her ethical and political commitments. In particular, it should appeal (in no particular order) to students of political or social thought, indigenous studies, international relations theory, philosophy and law.

Course Outline

This course is designed to help students:

  • Gain knowledge of primary currents in contemporary political theory
  • Develop critical perspectives on that work
  • Develop skills in constructing arguments and analytical thinking and writing
  • Learn how to apply these to contemporary politics

View the course syllabus

Availability 2019

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Dr Stephen Winter


Coursework + exam


POLITICS 209: 15.0 points


15 points at Stage I in Political Studies or Politics and International Relations and 30 points in the BA

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