For four thousand years, solutions for practical problems in communities (“polis”=cities) have prompted reflection (“theoria”) that accelerated after the pre-modern emergence of competing territorial central European “nation-states”. What is the history and future of political institutions for SCS students specially selected to be promising leaders in a national and global capital like DC, attending the world’s flagship Jesuit University which embodies social justice (among 500 globally and 27 nationally)? You encounter an evolving six trillion dollar worldwide war on terror, an emerging global pandemic of 8.5 million, 450k deaths, 118k in the USA, 270 million global migrants and mass mobilizations of protest in 2000 cities and towns in the USA and sixty nations, against racism, violence, police brutality and for justice and equity for peoples of color, especially “Black Lives Matter”. What common toolboxes of tools can help? This course covers key historical figures, political institutions and processes with main examples focusing on USA national and local government and examples from around the world. Students reflect on their actual or proposed professional experiences within the nation’s capital, nationally and globally. The course is designed to engage highly motivated and talented students who wish to move on to careers in the public or private sector, government consulting, electoral politics, lobbying, homeland security or further academic study. Weekly readings, videos, lectures, posts and class time cover the historic legacy of political philosophy, basic principles of the national government: structure, powers and operations of Congress; the presidency and the Supreme Court, the bureaucracy; citizenship, elections, public opinion, justice system, media studies, political parties, lobbying, civil rights movements and pressure groups—with their theoretical roots (Premoderns; Plato, Aristotle; Moderns; Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Fascism; colonialism; Achebe, Baldwin; postcolonialism, Orientalism and representation; Fanon, Said; Postmodernity/consumerism; Jameson; gendering of citizenship in four feminist waves; critical race theory, Hooks; intersectionality-Crenshaw; LGBTQ, Black, Latinx, Chicanx, Asian, etc). Why does this matter? Today some 190 geographic, political entities called “states” and those sharing a cultural identity called “nations”, include some 87 democracies of different kinds for nearly half the world’s population, amidst global demands in industrializing and post-industrializing regions for “greater democracy” for all citizens “created equal,” whether or not they live in official democracies.
Note: This course is required for the International Relations concentration.