Spring 2011

Political Emotions

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-71


Andrew Poe (Section 01)


[PT] This course explores debates on the place of emotions in democratic politics. While many political theorists once considered political emotions as dangerous (at worst) or unnecessary (at best) to a well-functioning democracy, some have recently sought to challenge this assumption and have re-conceptualized political emotions as central components in democratic politics.

To make sense of this debate, this course investigates the following questions: What are political emotions? Do some emotions help smooth the functioning of democratic politics more than others? What is the role of emotion in the formation of political allegiances? What, if anything, is the relationship between political obligation and feeling? (Between justice and feeling? Between freedom and feeling?) Do we need to understand emotion better in order to conceptualize – and perhaps enact – the functioning of central democratic processes?

The first half of the course delves into the parameters of "political emotions" as a general conceptual category; engaging arguments on what emotions are and how emotions function provides a framework for the second half of the course, which examines particular emotions as presented in the works of a variety of prominent political theorists.

Spring semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Poe

If Overenrolled: Preference given to upper classmen who have taken a previous course in political theory or LJST.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011