Study Abroad and Exchanges



POL3100 : History of World Political Thought

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The history of political thought is often narrowly conceived as the history of political thought in the West, specifically Western Europe. The problem is that political thought has existed throughout the world before and after the dominance of the West. This module examines the sources of world political thought and compares key thinkers and ideas. There are important issues about the content of political thought and what counts as classics of political thought. By examining a wider range of political ideas outside of the Western tradition, a better understanding of political thought can be attained. The aim is to rethink all of the basic concepts and approaches to political thought, Western and non-Western. The very act of comparison raises fundamental issues. It will require the students to examine hermeneutics and the metaphysics underpinning political thought at a depth that will not have been achieved in earlier stages. This module is at the cutting edge of the emerging field of comparative political thought.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Introduction
2. Theoretical Problems in Comparative Political Philosophy
3. Comparative Political Thought Methodology
4. Buddha and Early Buddhism as Political Thought
5. Confucius and the Literati
6. Socrates and ‘Classical’ Political Thought
7. Political Thought of the Mauryan Empire
8. Political Thought in the Han Dynasty
9. Hellenic and Roman Political Thought
10. Indian Buddhist Metaphysics
11. Neo-Taoism in East Asia
12. Neo-Platonism and Christianity
13. The Later Indian and South Asian Political Tradition
14. Buddhist Political Thought in East Asia
15. Classical and Persian Influences on Early Islamic Political Thought
16. Popular Religion and Zen Buddhism in East Asia
17. The Rise of Neo-Confucianism
18. Medieval Islamic and Western Political Thought
19. Confucian ‘Revival’ in East Asia
20. The Challenge of the Lu-Wang School
21. Religious Conflict and the State in Europe
22. Liberalism, Imperialism and World History
23. Social Unrest and the Right of the Left
24. Religious Conflict and the State in Europe
25. Historicism and Romanticism in East Asia
26. Enlightenment and Revolution in the 'West'
27. Islamic Enlightenment and Reform
28. Liberalism, Imperialism and World History
29. Social Unrest and the Rise of the Left
30. Philosophy and Right-wing Political Thought
31. Anti-colonialism, (Non)Violence and (Dis)Unity
32. Neo-Liberalism, Analytical Philosophy and Postmodernism
33.Return to Origins?

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture331:0033:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Individual consultation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1155:00155:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

There is much new and challenging information in the module so traditional lectures and seminars have been the best way to convey the information to students.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1M1004000 word research project
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The type of comparison to be undertaken in the research paper is discussed every week in the seminars and there is a dedicated compulsory consultation session during which the student can discuss and receive feedback on their plans for the research paper.

Reading Lists