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Violence and the State
CHUM 316
Spring 2010
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 316

Violence is a problematic and paradoxical concept in modern politics. On the one hand, effective control over the means of violence affords modern states the power to preserve peace, maintain the rule of law, and guarantee rights within their territories. On the other hand, the state's overwhelming capacity to inflict violence has the effect of turning the state (and specifically its military, penal, and security apparatuses) into a threat to the population, to democracy, and to political and biological life in general. In this reading-intensive seminar, we will explore how modern political theory has approached this dilemma and how violence has been conceptualized by philosophers and by political and social theorists in the Euro-Atlantic tradition. We will examine how these authors explain the sources, functions, and dynamics of violence; and we will critically assess their proposals for how violence should be wielded by and against the state. The reading will be organized according to the following thematic clusters: (1) violence and human nature; (2) the state monopoly of violence; (3) state violence: war and terror; (4) violence and the law; (5) violence against the state; (6) violence and democracy.

Essential Capabilities: Interpretation, Writing
This seminar promotes the interdependence of practices of interpretation and writing. Regular writing assignments are designed to emphasize writing as a continuous intellectual practice and as essential to interpretation.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on SEP-30-2023
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