POLS 325 Paper Assignment, Fall 2013


 As stated on the syllabus, "Everyone will write a paper on a question to be announced in class. The paper will be from 7 to 10 typical double spaced pages in length and address themes or concepts found in several authors. Several versions of the paper will be submitted as we attend to different steps of the writing process. (30% of course total)"

Susan Moller Okin argues (in Women in Western Political Thought, p. 10) that "women cannot simply be added to the subject matter of existing political theory, for the works of our philosophical heritage are to a very great extent built on the assumption of the inequality of the sexes." She adds (p. 11) that her book is about only one type of inequality. This is a general difficulty in political theory.  For example, Wolin does not do much with gender or race, but they turn out to be significant features of our politics.  Most of the theories we study in the class work with inequalities.  How so?  Do our ideas about ethics entitle some people to more privileged positions in politics? 

Your paper will address this question by comparing how three of the theorists described in class handle the relationship. The purpose of comparison is so that you, like Okin, can point out the ways that assumptions about people and their proper relationships with each other become embedded in visions of the political.

Due dates are as follows (others may be added, depending on results of each of these): 

Oct. 2—bring to class a one page description of the paper, including your choice of three authors and brief characterizations of their core ethical and political concepts.  We will have a workshop on developing a critical perspective for the paper.  You will read and comment upon two of your peers’ papers. 

Oct. 21—bring to class two pages of your paper, in which you use text evidence to develop a claim.  We will have a workshop on using text evidence to support a claim.  You will read and comment upon two of your peers’ papers.

Nov. 6—bring to class the first three pages of your paper. This will demonstrate your approach to the question, show how you use text evidence, and help focus attention on writing issues.  You will read and comment on at least one of your peers’ papers. 

Dec. 4—final paper is due.


You may find useful this page of advice to authors, including a guide to those correction symbols. 


last updated April 2013.