Political Literacy

Goals of the course: At the end of the course students will be able to:

Understand the foundations of major governmental and political systems around the world. Comprehend the major themes and debates in politics, and how they fit into the political spectrum.

Materials/Reading for the course: Will be provided by the instructor.

Outline: Mondays 6:05-6:55pm, Fridays 6:05-6:55pm


Class No.



Class 1 (1hr)

Introduction to the course

What are politics, exactly? What makes something political or not? Introductions and course expectations, rules, and assessment guidelines. Work with students to find their interests and passion in civic life.

Class 2 (1hr)

Why government?

Introduction to Hobbes and Locke and their theories on the origins of government, the state of nature, our expectations of government and its expectations of us.

Class 3 (1hr)

Traditional political philosophies

Introduction to classical liberalism, conservatism, and socialism. How they exist in the modern world.

Class 4 (1hr)

Major types of government

What are Democratic and authoritarian governments? How do they function, what role do they play in the world?

Class 5 (1hr) 

Major systems analysis: The United States

Modern issues in American politics, the role of the US in international affairs, the makeup of government.

Class 6 (1hr)

Student presentations on a political topic of their choice. Should use some kind of visual media.

Class 7 (1hr)

International systems

A review of the structures and efforts by major organizations and institutions to shape our world.

Class 8 (1hr)

Where do the people fit in?

A review of what role citizens in a democracy play, what is civil society, how is it expressed, how states are balanced against internally.


Assessment Overview: Students will be assessed based on completing assigned readings, completing and presenting a midterm project, writing reflections on class discussions, and completing an in-class quiz at the end of the term.

Expectations from Teacher: This is an introductory course, so students are not expected to have any political science education. Students should be in class on time having read any assigned materials. Students will be expected to share their opinions and perspectives in class, and work together in a respectful manner.


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