POLSCI 495 - Undergraduate Seminar in Political Theory
Fall 2022, Section 001 - Work, Virtue, Citizenship
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Political Science (POLSCI)
Department: LSA Political Science
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
Enforced Prerequisites:
One of the following: POLSCI 101, 301, 302, 307, 309; or PHIL 366; or GTBOOKS 191 or 192.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


Can we imagine the United States without the work ethic? What did the U.S. founders think about work? How does the work ethic shape the practice of good citizenship in a liberal democratic republic? Does diligent work make you a model American citizen? Does work enhance virtue? Are there more and less virtuous ways for the state to organize and regulate work, for employers to manage workers, and for consumers to spend in the marketplace? Until the mid-twentieth century, a shorter workweek was a central goal of the labor movement; should this goal be revived? What is the appeal of more leisure time? Or, would more leisure time be risky, leading to corrosive, stagnant idleness? Is there a universal or “best” way to theorize the experience of work (something you will be doing for many years)? How will robots and automation shape the nature of work in the future? This class will look at traditional ways of thinking about work, virtue, and citizenship AND will explore your normative thinking about how these issues are best understood as we move towards the future. We will look at political theory texts, as well as a range of other kinds of texts (sociology texts, labor history, journalism, memoir, political science) to analyze these questions.

This course is in the Political Theory Subfield.

Course Requirements:

Grades will be based on pop quizzes on the readings, in-class group work, group presentations, and take-home essays. Your course grade will also depend on your ability to discuss the reading in the seminar conversation.

Intended Audience:

Fourth-year LSA students who have taken political theory classes, one prior political theory class minimum, who have strong reading and writing skills, and who are interested in thinking about political theory, work, and moral questions.

Students who have not completed one of the enforced prerequisites but have done a similarly theory-driven course should reach out to the instructor to inquire about permission to enroll.

Class Format:

This class is a seminar. There will be limited lectures. The class will mix full class discussion, small group discussion, reading quizzes, and student presentations. Plan to do the reading before coming to class.


POLSCI 495 - Undergraduate Seminar in Political Theory
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
Tu 12:00PM - 3:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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