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Program Type: 
Course Code: 
POLS 612
Course Type: 
Course Language: 
Course Objectives: 

This seminar aims to examine major paradigms, debates and questions in classical and contemporary political theory.

Course Content: 

Topics will include the theories of state, the concept of legitimacy, political values, political economy, political culture, political elite and political anthropology. Aristotle, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Tocqueville, Comte, Marx, Shils, Apter, and Lipset are some of the philosophers/scholars whose ideas would be discussed during the seminar.  

Teaching Methods: 
1: Lecture, 2: Discussion based lecture, 3: Case study, 4:Small group work, 5: Seminar, 6: Group work, 7: Research paper, 8: Oral presentation/exam, 9: Survey, 10: Panel, 11: Guest speaker, 12: Activities within a Student Body or Research Project.
Assessment Methods: 
A: Exam, B: Homework, C: Presentation, D: Discussion

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Program 

Learning Outcomes

Teaching Methods Assessment Methods
Demonstrate an understanding of major debates, paradigms, and questions in classical and contemporary political theory.    1, 3 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 A, B, C, D
Discuss the rise of major debates and traditions in political theory.  1, 3 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 A, B, C, D
Trace historical origins of contemporary theories in order to demonstrate the elements of continuity and change. 1, 3, 6 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 A, B, C, D
Discuss applicability of theoretical models with reference to actual cases.  2, 4, 13 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 A, B, C, D
Compare and contrast small or large number of cases through the lenses of (a) political theory.  2, 4, 13 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 A, B, C, D
Analyze primary and secondary sources of classical and contemporary political theory.  4, 5, 6, 8 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 A, B, C, D
Interpret ideas of a political thinker or strands of a political theory within the frame of a research paper.  8, 9, 10, 11 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 A, B, C, D

Course Flow

Week Topics Study Materials
1 Introduction  
2 Max Weber’s types of political legitimacy  Oktay (2012) 

Whimster (2004)

Aron (2009)

3 Political Autonomy in Aristotle’s Politics Oktay (2012)

Aristotle (2010)

4 Fragility of Politics: Machiavelli’s Political Thought  Oktay (2012) 

Machiavelli (1976)

5 Montesquieu’s Spirit of Law: The role of social, cultural and physical factors in politics Oktay (2012)

Montesquieu (1989)

6 Liberal and despotic democracies: civil society and democracy as observed by Tocqueville Oktay (2012)

Tocqueville (2000)

7 Epistemology of Comte’s Positivism Oktay (2012)

Comte (1848)

8 Political Economy of the State in Marxist Thought Oktay (2012)

Marx (2005)

9 Shils: Political Elite and Culture  Oktay (2012)

Parsons and Shils (1951)

10 Lipset: Political Stability Oktay (2012)

Lipset (1983)

11 Apter: Political Values Oktay (2012)

Apter (1973)

12 Political Culture Oktay (2012)
13 Political Anthropology Oktay (2012)
14 Political Modernization Oktay (2012)


15 Conclusions   

Recommended Sources

Textbook Oktay, Cemil (2012) Siyaset Bilimi Yazıları (Alfa Yayınları).

Aron, Raymond (2009) Main Currents of Sociological Thought (New Jersey: Tansaction Publishers). 

Whimster, Sam (2004) The Essential Weber: A Reader (London: Routledge, 2004). 

Aristotle (2010) Politics, trans. Carnes Lord, (University of Chicago Press).

Machiavelli, Niccolo (1976) The Prince, trans. James Atkinson, (Prentice Hall).

Montesquieu (1989) The Spirit of Laws, ed. Anne M. Kohler et al. (Cambridge University Press).

Tocqueville, Alexis de (2000) Democracy in America, trans. Harvey Mansfield (University of Chicago Press).

Comte, Auguste (1848) A General View of Positivism, trans. J. H. Bridges (London: Routledge).

Marx, Karl (2005) Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Penguin Books).

Parsons, Talcott and Edward A. Shils, eds. (1951). Toward A General Theory of Action. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Lipset, Martin Seymour (1983) Political Man: Social Bases of Politics (Heinemann).

Apter, David E. (1973) Political Change (London: Frank Cass).

Additional Resources -

Material Sharing

Documents Required readings and documents can be found both in the Reserve section of the library and in the bookstore. 
Assignments Handouts explaining the assignments will be given in class. 
Exams Exams will be given in class. 


Mid-terms 1 .25
Presentation 1 .25
Research Paper 1 .50
Total   100
Total   100

Course’s Contribution to Program

No Program Learning Outcomes Contribution
1 2 3 4 5  
1 The ability to analyze and critically evaluate basic research models, approaches and intellectual traditions in the field of political science, international relations, comparative politics, Turkish politics and foreign policy. To demonstrate the ability to create innovative and original contribution to the field by specializing and expanding on these models and approaches.         X  
2 To demonstrate the ability to make original contributions to the field with an interdisciplinary approach.         X  
3 A command of basic research models and approaches of political science and international relations discipline and the ability to apply them in academic research and project design.         X  
4 Having the ability to compare, contrast and analyze societal and political systems with an interdisciplinary approach.         X  
5 Having a command of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods and abiding by the highest levels of academic and research ethics.       X    
6 The ability to contribute to the progress of the field of political science and international relations by conducting original and independent studies that produce original thought, methods, models, and applications to the field and/or utilize existing ideas, methods, models, and applications in another field of study.       X    
7 The ability to contribute to the progress of the field of political science and international relations by publishing at least one academic article at a refereed journal and/or by producing or interpreting an original contribution.   X        
8 To develop current and advanced level of data into original thought and research as a specialist. The ability to develop original ideas and methods in the field of political science and international relations.          X  
9 The ability to debate and make presentations within an intellectual framework, and the ability to express oneself in a professional and academic manner. The ability to apply academic writing and presentation methods to dissertations, articles, and project design.         X  
10 Having advanced reading, writing, comprehension and speaking skills in the English language.          X  
11 Having the ability to apply knowledge of political science and international relations discipline to information technologies and traditional tools so as to produce sound solutions to problems.     X      
12 Having the competency to work in the public sector, NGOs, research institutions and the academia.     X      
13 Having empathy towards diverse and differing communities, which will facilitate conducing teamwork at local as well as global platforms.         X  
14 Having competency of comprehending and interpreting local and global issues through information exchange with international academics and students.     X      


Activities Quantity Duration
Course Duration (Including the exam week: 16x Total course hours) 16 3 48
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 16 10 160
Mid-terms 1 18 18
Homework 1 40 40
Presentation 1 10 10
Total Work Load     276
Total Work Load / 25 (h)     11.04
ECTS Credit of the Course     11