UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

POLS2211 History of Political Ideas

Credit 6 points
  Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Not available in 2017UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Political Science and International Relations major sequence
  • Category B broadening unit for Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Design students
  • Level 2 elective
Content This unit examines how past thinkers have grappled with three major ideas within the history of political thought. The semester is divided into equal parts dealing with the topics of freedom, justice and democracy. From the ancient Greeks to contemporary philosophers, these concepts have held longstanding interest and remain of central concern to contemporary political discourse. The debate on all three topics is as alive and unresolved today as it was 2000 years ago. The thinkers studied may include historical figures such as Plato, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, J. J. Rousseau, J. S. Mill and Karl Marx.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) communicate an understanding of the field of the history of Western political thought, its central preoccupations, and its main methodologies; (2) provide an historically informed description of the key values of freedom, justice and democracy and explain the importance of these ideas in Western political thought and political practice; (3) explain how thinking about the above ideas has developed over time, including as a response to scholarly debate; (4) demonstrate an appreciation of the tensions among, and different interpretations of, these values; (5) describe differing interpretations of key texts in the history of political thought; (6) demonstrate an appreciation of the importance of historical context for the interpretation of texts on political ideas; (7) utilise the various methodologies of political philosophy to analyse, compare and evaluate texts; (8) communicate information, ideas and argument related to the field in a coherent and logical manner in both written and oral forms; (9) work effectively in a collaborative manner as a member of a tutorial group; (10) demonstrate research skills appropriate for locating and assessing relevant primary and secondary materials; (11) demonstrate practiced skills of problem analysis and critical reasoning applied to the subject matter of the field; and (12) undertake enquiry-based learning and research on topics related to the field.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) written work; (2) examination; and (3) a tutorial participation and presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit rules
Prerequisites: any Level 1 Political Science and International Relations unit
Incompatibility: POLS3311 History of Political Ideas
Contact hours lectures: 20 hours; tutorials: 9 hours

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.