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PO201-30 Political Theory From Hobbes

Department
Politics & International Studies
Level
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Nicola Mulkeen
Credit value
30
Module duration
22 weeks
Assessment
Multiple
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

Political Theory from Hobbes invites students to critically confront the ideas of some of the most important western (predominantly) European political and social thinkers since about 1640, with special reference to their best-known works. These include Hobbes's Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise of Government, Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality and On the Social Contract, Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, Mill and Harriet Taylor's The Subjection of Women, and Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth. The module will also consider how these ideas help us think about contemporary debates in political theory, such as debates about exploitation, marriage, and hate speech.
The module builds on ideas explored in Introduction to Politics during your first year, and it leads towards the third year module, Issues in Political Theory, which deals with present day argument about social justice and the relations between individuals, the state and communities.

Module aims

This module aims to give you an understanding of the political philosophy of some of the most important European writers from 1640 onwards. You will be encouraged to read widely in both the primary and secondary literature concerning these writers. We aim to develop your understanding of how these thinkers’ political convictions are shaped by their views about morality, human nature, and the nature and history of social interaction.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Throughout the module, we will study texts such as the following: Hobbes's Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise of Government, Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality and On the Social Contract, Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, Mill and Harriet Taylor's The Subjection of Women, and Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Interpret and assess critically the best-known texts of some of the most important western European political and social thinkers from Hobbes to Fanon.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how political thought relates to issues concerning human nature, history and morality.
  • Confront and assess complex sets of ideas in political theory, and present and defend your point of view, both orally and in writing.
Indicative reading list

Hobbes's Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise of Government, Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality and On the Social Contract, Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, Mill and Harriet Taylor's The Subjection of Women, and Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth.

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

On completion of this module, you should be able to:

Interpret and assess critically the best-known texts of some of the most important western European political and social thinkers from Hobbes to Fanon.
Demonstrate an understanding of how political thought relates to issues concerning human nature, history and morality.
Confront and assess complex sets of ideas in political theory, and present and defend your point of view, both orally and in writing.

Transferable skills

The module provides students with opportunities to acquire and to develop the following key skills:

Critical thinking and analytical skills. This involves identifying premises and conclusions of arguments; determining whether the conclusions follow from the premises; and understanding the practical implications of theoretical commitments.
Close textual analysis skills. This involves interpreting a complex text, and distilling from it various interconnected lines of argument.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 18 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Seminars 22 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Private study 260 hours (87%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

For private student and independent learning, students are expected to read and study the core and supplementary texts, as well as reflect on each week's seminar questions.

Costs

No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group C1
Weighting Study time
3000 word essay 50%
Online examination (Summer) 50%

1.5 hour examination (Summer)


  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Assessment group B1
Weighting Study time
Online examination (Summer) 100%
  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Exams and essays are marked according to criteria set out in the Undergraduate Handbook

Past exam papers for PO201

Courses

This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics
  • Year 2 of UPOA-M100 Undergraduate Politics
  • Year 2 of UPOA-M16A Undergraduate Politics and International Studies
  • Year 2 of UPOA-M168 Undergraduate Politics and International Studies with Chinese
  • Year 2 of UPOA-M169 Undergraduate Politics and International Studies with Chinese (3 year)
  • Year 2 of UPOA-ML13 Undergraduate Politics and Sociology
  • Year 2 of UPOA-M1RC Undergraduate Politics with French
  • Year 2 of UPOA-M164 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and German
  • Year 2 of UIPA-L2L8 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development
  • Year 3 of UPOA-M165 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Italian
  • Year 2 of UPOA-M162 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Quantitative Methods

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MM Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics (with Intercalated year)
  • Year 3 of UPOA-M168 Undergraduate Politics and International Studies with Chinese
  • UPOA-M163 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and French
    • Year 2 of M163 Politics, International Studies and French
    • Year 3 of M163 Politics, International Studies and French
  • UPOA-M164 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and German
    • Year 2 of M164 Politics, International Studies and German
    • Year 3 of M164 Politics, International Studies and German
  • Year 2 of UIPA-L2L8 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development
  • UPOA-M166 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Hispanic Studies
    • Year 2 of M166 Politics, International Studies and Hispanic Studies
    • Year 3 of M166 Politics, International Studies and Hispanic Studies
  • UPOA-M165 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Italian
    • Year 2 of M165 Politics, International Studies and Italian
    • Year 3 of M165 Politics, International Studies and Italian

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 2 of UECA-3 Undergraduate Economics 3 Year Variants
  • Year 2 of UECA-LM1D Undergraduate Economics, Politics and International Studies
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics

This module is Core option list A for:

  • Year 2 of UECA-4 Undergraduate Economics 4 Year Variants
  • Year 2 of UECA-LM1D Undergraduate Economics, Politics and International Studies
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MW Undergraduate Politics, Philosophy and Law

This module is Core option list B for:

  • UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
    • Year 2 of V7MR Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bipartite with Economics Major)
    • Year 2 of V7MP Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bipartite)

This module is Core option list C for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MW Undergraduate Politics, Philosophy and Law

This module is Option list E for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MW Undergraduate Politics, Philosophy and Law

This module is Unusual option for:

  • Year 2 of UFRA-R1MA Undergraduate French with International Studies