Spring 2020 - POL 312 D100

Modern and Contemporary Political Thought (4)

Class Number: 5248

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 2507, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    POL 210 or equivalent, or permission of the department.



An exploration of selected political theories of justice.


This course offers an examination of key themes in Modern and Contemporary political theory. The conceptual focus of the course is on the relation between freedom and subjection as it develops in key texts from Hegel and Marx to Nietzsche, Foucault, and beyond. How do political thinkers conceive of freedom and agency? What relation exists between these terms and the concepts of subjection and domination? What relation do these concepts have to historical and political reality?  At each stage of the course, our analysis is rooted in historical reflection on a series of key events and processes in Modern politics, from the French Revolution to European Colonialism.

This course is reading intensive and places high value on participation. It is designed as an upper division extension and intensification of themes initially developed in POL 210, Introduction to Political Philosophy.


  • Short Essay 20%
  • Two Random Tests on Readings (5% each) 10%
  • Critical Book Review 20%
  • Participation 20%
  • Major Essay 30%


Pick ONLY ONE of the following four books for your critical book review:  

Susan Buck-Morss. Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009. (ISBN 9780822959786)

George Grant. Philosophy in the Mass Age. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1995. (ISBN 9780802072283)

Charles Taylor. The Malaise of Modernity. Toronto, ON: Anansi Press, 1991.  (ISBN 9780887845208)

Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press, 2008. (ISBN 9780802143006)



Basic Writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. Modern Library Edition. Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, 2000. (ISBN 9780679783398)
ISBN: 9780679783398

Michel Foucault. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. (ISBN 9780679752554)
ISBN: 9780679752554

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html