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Courses / Modules / PAIR2011 American Political Thought

American Political Thought

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 5
Module lead
Russell Bentley
Academic year

Module overview

For many people, the phrase “American political thought” either has an obvious meaning – some version of liberal democracy, surely – or it is a contradiction in terms – America has politics, but seems to exercise little thought. This module sets the record straight. We will dive into a unique blend of cultural and political history, contemporary politics, political ideas – a blend that, as we shall see, allowed an improbable candidate like Donald Trump to win a presidential election. This module will refute the sceptic and show that American political thought is a significant intellectual tradition that actually goes back to the 17th Century. However, as we will see, this tradition is never developed through abstract scholarly theorising. It is developed by flesh and blood political actors in actual political circumstances. This is a political theory module for those who like their theory to be genuinely political. We will study ideas in action – how they emerge through political action and how they continue to be shaped and transformed by the challenges of political events and changing social circumstances.