MA Political Science - Political Theory Pathway (Research Route)
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
|Unit level||FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
Critique and thinking critically are usually considered essential practices in the contemporary humanities, indeed, being able to think critically is often lauded as theprincipal gain of a good university education. These kinds of claim are rarely backed up by any account of what critical thought actually is and what makes it so special. There is a growing body of work within the critical disciplines themselves that questions this and asks if the claims made for critique aren't a bit overblown. This course is an opportunity to explore this debate, which is a discussion about the meaning and value of a humanities education in contemporary society - what are we doing in the university and why?
The overall aim of the course is to explore the idea of thinking critically in a critical way. Critique is the dominant motif of contemporary humanities education; as academics we often claim that the lasting effect of our endeavours is the cultivation of a distinctively critical intelligence in our students. But critique's hegemony has occasionally been challenged. Is it anything more than a kind of 'virtue signalling' dressed up as epistemology?
The course aims:
- To develop and explore critical thinking about critique
- To discuss what is meant by the phrase 'critical theory' and how this has changed.
- To explore the uses of critique in multiple disciplines and from multiple perspectives.
- To assess the enduring significance of critical theory as a way of approaching key debates and topics in contemporary humanities and social sciences.
- To assess the relationship between critique and a range of practices, including those in art, politics and the academy.
Students will develop:
- An in-depth appreciation of the scope, aims and character of contemporary critical theory as it is found in and across multiple disciplines
- Enhanced understanding of the meaning of 'critique', and of thinking critically, as against other ways of reasoning
- Ability to form opinions and make arguments concerning the current status of critical theory as a branch of study in the human sciences
- Advanced understanding of individual authors in the critical tradition, including Kant, Marx, Adorno and Foucault, gained through engaging with primary texts and a range of secondary literature
- Advanced understanding of the practical implications of thinking critically
Teaching and learning methods
10 * 2 hour lecture/seminars, focused on key readings and student-led discussion
Written assignment (3000 word essay) 100%
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Graeme Kirkpatrick||Unit coordinator|