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

Ella Street
Ella Street
Visiting Lecturer, Government