Class History of Political Ideas and Theories

  • Presentation


    he social, cultural, geopolitical and ideological turbulence that affects peaceful relations between citizens of (complex) contemporary societies requires that Political Science and International Relations students develop the capacity for critical and informed thinking about the political quality of ideas, doctrines and ideologies disseminated in the public sphere. In this context, the knowledge provided by the curricular unit of History and Theory of Political Ideas, from Classical Antiquity to Contemporaneity, can contribute to mitigating the effects of ideas, theories and doctrines that threaten the well-being of the citizens of these (complex) societies.

  • Code


  • Syllabus


    1. Concepts of idea, ideology, doctrine and theory.

    2. Classical Antiquity: Greece and Rome

    2.1. Athenian democracy vs. Spartan authoritarianism

    2.2. Government of men vs. rule of laws

    2.3. Republicanism vs. Imperial Period

    3. Medieval Times: the religious justification of political power

    4. Renaissance.

    4.1. The autonomy of the politician in relation to ethics and religion.

    4.2. The Protestant Reform.

    5. Modern Period.

    5.1. Contractualisms: State of Nature vs Political Society.

    5.2. Universal Human Rights

    6. Contemporary Era:

    6.1. Enlightenment vs. conservatism

    6.2. Authoritarianisms, totalitarianisms and democracies

    6.3. Individual vs. collective freedoms: liberals and libertarians.

    6.4. Justified and unjustified discrimination.

    6.2. Rights of animals, of nature and of future generations.

    7. The new theories.

    7.1. Feminism.

    7.2. Ecologism. 

  • Objectives


    Students should:

    Understand how ideas can be translated into ideologies, doctrines and theories.

    Know the main authors, ideas, theories and essential works of the Western political thought.

    Critically analyze the political ideas, theories and doctrines.

    Develop argumentation skills and critical thinking.

  • Teaching methodologies and assessment

    Teaching methodologies and assessment

    Theoretical classes with the presentation of syllabus contents through excerpts from texts from the bibliography.

    Theoretical classes will be organized by thematic content according to the program, with the direct involvement of students expected through debate on those  contents.

    The preparation of reading sheets is an integral part of the final evaluation. This reading sheet can be about an article, a book, or a film related to the subject contents. Films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, directed by Milos Forman, or Schindler's List, directed by Spielberg, are explicitly related to the contents of the UC.

    The  evaluation process comprises two alternative modalities: continuous or through an exam.

    In the continuous assessment, the weighting value of the three elements is as follows:

    50% - written test.

    40% - the creation of a reading sheet for an article, book chapter or a film.

    10% - participation

    The exam will consist of a written test.

  • References


    Arendt, H. As Origens do Totalitarismo, trad. de Roberto Raposo, D. Quixote,: Lisboa, 2ª ed, 2004 [ 1948 ], ISBN:972-20-2909-6.

    Kant, I. Resposta à Pergunta: O que é o Iluminismo?, in A Paz Perpétua e Outros Opúsculos, Trad. Artur Morão, Edições 70: Lisboa, 1988 [1784], ISBN: 972-44-0539-7.

    Maquiavel, N. O Príncipe, trad. introdução e notas de Diogo Pires Aurélio,  Temas e Debates, Círculo de Leitores: Maia 2012, ISBN: 978-989-644-193-7.

    Pereira, M. H. R. Hélade. Antologia da Cultura Grega.   Universidade de Coimbra: Coimbra, 1982.

    Pereira, M. H. R. Romana. Antologia da Cultura Latina.  Universidade de Coimbra: Coimbra, 1986.

    Ryan, A. On Politics. A History of Political thought from Herodotus to the Present. Allen Lane: United Kingdom,  2012, ISBN. 978-0-713-99364-6. 

    Touchard, J. História das Ideias Políticas, vols. I, II, III, IV. Publicações Europa-América: Mem Martins,  2003.

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