Global Political Thought

For too long, the study of political theory has displayed an unjustifiable Eurocentric bias. The emergent sub-field of “comparative political theory” (or “non-Western” political theory) seeks to correct the canon’s prejudices. In this course, we will critically examine what “comparative political theory” is and what it would mean to “deparochialize” political theory. In addition to studying the rich heritage of non-western political thought and deepening cross-cultural theoretical understanding, the subfield of comparative political theory provides an opportunity to examine assumptions within western theoretical traditions by situating them in particular historical and geopolitical contexts.

Week 1: Deparochializing Political Theory

  • Andrew March, “What is Comparative Political Theory?” The Review of Politics 71 (2009): 531-565.
  • Michael Freeden and Andrew Vincent, “Introduction: The Study of Comparative Political Thought,” in Comparative Political Thought: Theorizing Practices, eds. Freeden and Vincent.

Week 2: Kongzi (Confucius)

  • Kongzi, The Analects, selections.

Week 3: Laozi

  • Laozi, The Daodejing

Week 4: Césaire

  • Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism

Week 5: Fanon

  • Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, selections.

Week 6: Fanon

  • Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, selections.

Week 7: Gandhi

  • Mohandas Gandhi, Hind Swaraj or Home Rule

Week 8: Gandhi

  • Mohandas Gandhi, Selected Political Writings, ed. Dalton, selections.

Week 9: Maoism

  • Mao Tse-Tung, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, selections.

Week 10: The Space-Time of Politics

  • Youngmin Kim, “Cosmogony as Political Philosophy,” Philosophy East and West 58, no. 1: 108-125.
  • John Borrows, “‘Landed Citizenship’: Narratives of Aboriginal Political Participation,” in Citizenship in Diverse Societies, eds. Kymlicka and Norman.
  • Achille Mbembe, “At the Edge of the World: Boundaries, Territoriality and Sovereignty in Africa,” Public Culture 12, no. 1: 259-84.
  • Raquibuz Zaman, “Islamic Perspectives on Territorial Boundaries and Autonomy,” in Islamic Political Ethics: Civil Society, Pluralism and Conflict, ed. Hashmi.

Week 11: Alfarabi

  • Alfarabi, The Political Writings, ed. Butterworth, selections.
  • Muhsin Mahdi, “Introduction,” in Alfarabi’s Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.

Week 12: Alfarabi

  • Alfarabi, The Attainment of Happiness.

Week 13: Islamism

  • Hassan al-Banna, “Toward the Light,” in Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought, eds. Euben and Zaman.
  • Syed Qutb, “Signposts Along the Road”; “In the Shade of the Qur’an,” in Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought, eds. Euben and Zaman.
  • Roxanne L. Euben, The Enemy in the Mirror: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism, selections.

Week 14: Global Feminism

  • Li Ju-Chen, “Flowers in the Mirror,” in The Essential Feminist Reader.
  • Qasim Amin, “The Liberation of Women,” in The Essential Feminist Reader.
  • Kishida Toshiko, “Daughters in Boxes,” in The Essential Feminist Reader.

Week 15: Global Feminism

  • Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Huda Sharawi, “Speeches at Arab Feminist Conference,” in The Essential Feminist Reader.
  • Association of African Woman for Research and Development, “A Statement on Genital Mutilation,” in The Essential Feminist Reader.