New Coordinates in Political Theory Project

Like many political theorists, I have inherited a curriculum structured around the history of the Western canon, probably formalized in the latter third of the twentieth century.  I am the sole political theorist at Southern Miss, and so I teach the full historical sequence, from Homer to Charles Mills.  The core curriculum is a three course 'history of political thought,' with break points in familiar places: Plato to Machiavelli; Hobbes to Nietzsche; "20th century."  American political thought is segmented off in its own course.  There is no true Intro course. You can find my existing syllabi here.

My 'New Coordinates in Political Theory' project is aimed at redesigning this curriculum, over the course of the next five years.  As the title suggests, the goal is to re-imagine the spatial and temporal coordinates of political theory, with the gamble that doing so will also reconfigure the problems we (students and instructor) theorize and the conceptual resources we bring to bear on those problems.

The project is inspired in part by the work referenced here, as well as more generally by work in Comparative Political Theory.  But while this project intersects with that of Comparative Political Theory (CPT), it isn't defined by it.  This is partly because I am interested in re-thinking what should count as basic training in the field (rather than the creation and legitimation of a subfield within the field); partly because I am at least as interested in non-canonical 'Western' voices (Christine de Pizan, for example); and partly because I share some of Andrew March's reservations about CPT itself.

The whole project is therefore intentionally experimental, and so I plan to blog about it here, and invite comment, suggestions, and criticism. I will post here as I build the syllabus, providing my initial (if inevitably ill-formed) thoughts, as well as some resources for exploring the authors discussed. I hope to continue this practice as I teach the 'ancient' course for the first time, with some discussion of what works, and what doesn't. The five year time horizon will allow me to teach the full revised sequence at least twice. You can comment publicly on the posts here, or reach me directly through the contact page.