2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Behind the News: Power and Politics in Our Daily Lives


Fall 2011 quarter

Charles Pailthorp philosophy , Matthew Smith political science
Fields of Study
American studies, government, history, law and public policy, philosophy and political science
Preparatory for studies or careers in
history, philosophy, political science, law, journalism, politics and government, and public policy.

Power can be as direct as a blow to the head or as subtle as the lyrics of a song. The dimensions of power, the way it operates in the world to constrain choices and provide opportunities gives shape to our daily lives. This program will examine different ways philosophers and theorists have understood power and assessed how it is deployed in politics and practice.

We look forward to close study of works by: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Christopher Hill, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, David Harvey, Michel Foucault, Steven Lukes and others.

Each student will be expected to gain authority over a controversy currently found in the news. The choice of controversies will be limited to a selection made by the faculty or suggested by a group of students. Each person will conduct their own inquiry into the chosen controversy, but each must find a small group whose members will support one another’s work. A preliminary list of possible areas: homelessness, reproduction, social revolutions, global warming, global economy, diminishing middle-class expectations, immigration, initiative campaigns, campaign finance, land policies, intellectual property and technology, collective bargaining... For others, follow the news. This work will culminate in a 15 pp. essay and a formal presentation of all work that meets a high standard.

This program is an excellent choice for students new to Evergreen and for those returning to undergraduate study after a period of work or travel.Faculty will take care to introduce students to collaborative, interdisciplinary work, and research topics will be designed to make sense from a practical, applied perspective. Our understanding of power and how it is deployed will be directed towards the consequences of power in our daily lives and how our choices can help shape these outcomes.

Academic Website
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$50 for entry fees.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
March 16th, 2011 New program added.