Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-112
Jonathan M. Obert (Section 01)
Violence lies both at the very heart of political institutions, such as the state, as well as the expression of political beliefs. Focusing on domestic rather than international forms of conflict, this course will address questions of what violence is, how it is organized in society, and what it means to those who use it. We will first identify ways to think about violence as a political activity—why do actors choose violent over non-violent means of resisting governments or expressing dissent? Is violence ever rational? What purposes does it serve? How is violence different from other kinds of political interaction like arguing or debating? Next we will think about how violence is organized—that is, how do political leaders, parties, police forces, and paramilitaries, for example, try to control and manage the use of force? When do private individuals and groups choose to protect themselves and when do they turn to the state? Building on the theoretical interventions of scholars such as Arendt, Weber, Sartre, and others, we will use empirical studies of the political use of force from around the world to ask how violence shapes political phenomena such as elections, protest movements, taxation, and nationalism.
This seminar course is designed both to facilitate engaged classroom discussion as well as improve analytic skills. Throughout the course we will engage with the arguments and contentions of a number of key theoretical and empirical works, which will provide a foundation for critical reading and reflection through writing. The core assignment of the course is a 12-15 page paper, which we will break into a number of sub-assignments, allowing students to learn organizational skills involved in managing larger projects and providing feedback and opportunities for re-drafting.
Limited to 16 Students. Fall semester. Professor Obert.
How to handle overenrollment: Dean handles this.
Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: The seminar will focus on the related skills of close reading, engaged discussion, and critical writing. The core assignment of the course is a 12-15 page paper, which we will break into a number of sub-assignments, allowing students to learn organizational skills involved in managing larger projects and providing feedback and opportunities for re-drafting.
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM LYCM 325
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM LYCM 325
|On Violence||Harcourt Brace Javanovich,||Hannah Arendt,||Amherst Books||TBD|
|Among the Thugs||Vintage||Bill Buford,||Amherst Books||TBD|
|Violence: Reflection on a National Epidemic||Vintage||James Gilligan,||Amherst Books||TBD|
|Are Prisons Obsolete||Seven Stories||Angela Davis||Amherst Books||TBD|
|In Defense of Flogging||Basic Books||Peter Moskos||Amherst Books||TBD|
These books are available locally at Amherst Books.