Spring 2017

The State and Violence

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-159


Sayres S. Rudy (Section 01)


[PT] 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 proceeds generally from nineteenth-century to twenty-first-century authors, including Brown, Butler, Cocks, Scarry, Aretxaga, Marx, Mill, Weber, Nietzsche, Elias, Foucault, Habermas, Deleuze, Balibar, Zizek, Mbembe, and others. The course will include three critical essays, with an option for one long essay with instructor permission. 

Limited to 30 students. Spring semester.  Visiting Lecturer 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.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2017