POLS 052. Comparative Political Theory: Chinese and Western Traditions (TH)


This course examines some of the similarities and differences between Western and Eastern traditions of political thought. Through the course, we will introduce the students to the richness of both political theoretical traditions, and critically evaluate some "conventional wisdoms" (e.g. that Confucianism and democracy are antithetical). We will first review the concept of comparative political theory and its methodology, before moving on to discuss a range of classic topics in political theory, such as happiness, liberty and rights. For each topic, we will first review influential voices in the Western tradition before examining influential Chinese texts and exploring whether we may synthesize their insights. We will conclude the course with a discussion of intercultural political dialogue today.

This course does not fulfill the department's political theory requirement - only POLS 11, 12, 100, and 101 fulfill the requirement.  This course is open to those with no political theory background and open to students who are not POLS majors or minors.
Social Sciences
1 credit.
Eligible for GLBL Core
Catalog chapter: Political Science  
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/political-science


Check the Spring 2022 Schedule of Courses

Check the Fall 2022 Schedule of Courses




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