Century of Revolution

Political Thought of the XVII Century

This course will examine, drawing on an interdisciplinary approach, the major developments in European political thought of the Seventeenth century.

The course will begin with an overview of the historical, productive and social characteristics of the principal European countries of the time, analyzing, in particular, structural changes of economy, and demographic, cultural and religious trends.

In addition to authors as Althusius or Spinoza, special attention will be given to the voices of protest of some of the major humanists, social reformers and political philosophers of the period, in particular Campanella, Bacon, Grotius, Pufendorf and the “Levellers”.

In the second part of the course we will consider the contributions of Hobbes and Locke to modern political thought, and the emergence of the liberal state, in light of both the issues and fears raised by “the world turned upside down” and the broader context of fundamental social change. Finally, in the last class the major political theories of the century, learned during the course, will be reviewed and critically compared.


York University

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AS/POLS 3025 3.0 M (W)