Saving the Republic: Lessons from Plato for our Time
Fall 2021 not offered
GOVT 357Z, CSPL 357Z
|Course Cluster and Certificates: Service Learning
More than two thousand years ago, Plato addressed the pressing issues of the day: the rise of the oligarchy, dwindling of public deliberation, increasing political factionalism, and erosion of credible information. Some argue that the lessons of his Socratic exchanges, captured in The Republic, are valuable to this day. In this course, students will immerse themselves in 403 B.C.E., a crucial moment in Athenian democracy. Following a close reading of The Republic, the classroom will become the Athenian state. Each member of the class will assume a particular place in Athenian society and in the factions of the day using highly-developed roles from the Reacting to the Past curriculum. As members of the gathered assembly, students will debate divisive issues such as citizenship, elections, re-militarization, and the political process. Then, students will develop, rehearse, and publicly perform a one-act play at the Russell Library in Middletown. The play will be set in ancient Athens and will demonstrate factionalism, information asymmetry, political brokering, and other political issues of that era. Following the performance, the students will engage the audience in a Q&A about the relevance of the play's themes for today. Students will be assessed in five ways: 1. Content quizzes on The Republic, 2. Written preparation for debates/assemblies, 3. Oral presentations in debates/assemblies, 4. Contribution to the class public performance, and 5. A short paper analyzing The Republic's relevance for contemporary United States.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)