Spring 2012

The State and Violence

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-106


Sayres S. Rudy (Section 01)


This course explores two concepts that conventional political thought conceives as polar and co-constituted limit conditions: state and violence.  We will take up two core issues about the state-violence nexus.  First, we will engage normative debates over the state as defeating or overcoming violence (liberalism) versus the state as normalizing and deepening violence (anarchism, Marxism, post-structuralism).  Second, we will take up empirical trajectories of state practices, especially current discussions about a transition from sovereign to post-sovereign modes of identity, power, and subjectivity.  The course combines the comparative and political theory subfields, emphasizing short readings read and discussed closely and critically.  This class is introductory but challenging, working generally from nineteenth-century to twenty-first-century authors, including Marx, Mill, Weber, Nietzsche, Elias, Foucault, Habermas, Deleuze, Balibar, Zizek, Mbembe, and others. Requirements include class presence and three critical essays, with an option for one long essay with instructor permission. 

Limited to 30 students. Spring semester.  Visiting Professor Rudy.

If Overenrolled: Senior political science majors who need the class to meet graduation requirements will have first priority, followed by senior, junior and sophomore political science majors, respectively, then senior non-majors on down to freshmen non-majors.


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2017