New course, PSCI 291: Politics, Virtue & Leadership
Professor Sara Rushing, Department of Political Sciences, is teaching a new course, PSCI 291: Politics, Virtue & Leadership, for the Year of Engaged Leadership. The course will meet M-W-F 11-11:50 am. This course is organized around the following questions: What makes a character trait a “virtue”? What defines the tradition of “virtue ethics”? What can we learn from critically analyzing how specific virtues are defined in different religious and cultural contexts, historical moments and political (i.e. power) formations? What does contemporary discourse on leadership look like, and what does engaging this discourse teach us about “virtue,” “leadership,” our contemporary political and economic life, and our society’s values, ideals and anxieties? Do ethical considerations ever impose limits on effective leadership? Must there be “followers” for there to be a leader? Does this mean that thinking about leadership implies thinking hierarchically? Is that a problem? Finally, what is “servant leadership”? Over the course of the semester we will primarily explore texts in Western political thought from the Classical, Medival, Modern and Contemporary eras. We will also draw on sources from Confucian thought, which is distinctly concerned with the question of virtuous leadership. This course will involve two fifty minute lectures a week and one smaller section lead by a Teaching Assistant. A wide variety of readings will be touched on in lecture, but the assigned readings for the week will be explored through engaged discussion in section.
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