Course description

What does it mean to be free? What does freedom require? How do capitalism and neoliberalism shape the way we think about freedom, and the possibilities for freedom? These are some of the questions we will consider together over the course of this class. We will begin with early modern and influential accounts of government by consent and the relationship between the individual and the state (Hobbes, Locke); we will then reflect upon the origins of inequality and the possibility of self-rule in modern society (Rousseau) and consider whether and how capitalism and neoliberalism threaten or support freedom (Marx, Brown, Tolentino). In the final week of the course, we turn to the American case, and examine the competing visions of freedom that inform the American imaginary. We will study thinkers who attend to the legacies of slavery and to the contradictions at the heart of the American project and interrogate the role of prophetic language and the idea of redemption in American political thought and practice (MLK, Morrison, Baldwin).

Summer 2024: Online course

Section ID:GOVT 3796 001-LEC
Session:Summer 3-week 1
Class dates:June 3-21, 2024
Final exam/project due:Friday June 21, 12 PM - 3 PM / Online (see Final exams)
Time / room:M-F 12 PM - 3 PM / Online
Mode of instruction:Online (sync)
Max. enroll:30
To enroll:

See Register and Dates & Deadlines for enrollment information.

See Online Learning FAQs.

This course is open to all registrants, including undergraduates and precollege students.