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PSCI 293 The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass

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  • Spring 2017
    Abraham Singer
    Spring 2017 — R 14:00 - 16:40
    Course Syllabus

    This course will be an in-depth study of Frederick Douglass's political philosophy. Often thought of as a political activist, orator, or statesman, we will read Douglass's work as that of a political theorist who offers novel insights into the nature of freedom, power, equality, race, and citizenship. We will begin by familiarizing ourselves with two traditions of political thought that Douglass worked within: republicanism and prophetic social critique. We will then spend the majority of the semester carefully reading most of Douglass's work -his autobiographies, his speeches, and writings- in historical context, in order to understand his theory of politics and society. Depending on time, we may also consider the impact of Douglass's thought on 20th century figures like Du Bois and Malcolm X. This course is an upper-year seminar, which assumes some familiarity with political philosophy; the reading load will be heavy and the seminar format will require a lot of student participation.