POLS 325, Political Thought


M/W 3:40-5:25 in RAMS 205. 


Professor Sid Olufs, Xavier 153

phone 8727, email olufs@plu.edu

Office Hours TBD 

Catalog Description. A survey of the origin and evolution of major political concepts in ancient, medieval, and early modern times. Ideas such as the state, obligation, authority, community, law, and freedom will be studied developmentally.

One purpose of the class is to introduce you to the reading material, which includes many canonical ideas.   There are some things college graduates should know, both for content and for making competent criticisms of the content.  The ideas in this course have had, and continue to have, consequences for human affairs.

Another purpose of the class, as important as the first, is to develop several skills.  College graduates should have highly developed skills in reading, writing, speaking, and thinking critically and logically.  These require practice.  Activities and exercises are aimed at working on these skills. 

Please acquire the following text:


         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)

Reading Schedule

The schedule is announced in class, and is also found on the course web page, along with study questions and items to emphasize for each reading.  

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible.  If you have any questions concerning the services available for special needs at PLU call the Services for Students office at ext. 4206.