We spend a
considerable part of our lives in buildings and cities designed for us by
architects and urban planners. What normative considerations should guide the
design of such spaces? What social role should architecture aim to play? And
what criteria should we use to assess whether an architectural intervention is
successful or not? This course
seeks to address these questions by bringing architecture in conversation with
political theory. It examines how political theory can inform our thinking
about architecture, and how the work of architects and urban planners—with its
attention to the specificities of the built environment—can advance our
thinking about politics.
Architecture, Space, and Politics
Stanford University, Spring 2017
Collective action problems arise when actions that are individually rational give rise to results that are collectively irrational. Scholars have thought in these terms about a wide range of political phenomena. We examine their findings and probe the theoretical foundations of their approach. What does this way of thinking about politics bring into focus, and what does it leave out? What role do formal and informal institutions play in resolving collective action problems? And what if the required institutions are absent? Are we, as individuals, morally required to cooperate even if we expect that others may not play their part?
The Ethics and Politics of Collective Action
Stanford University, Spring 2016
What is power? How should we conceptualize it? How should we go about studying it? This course introduces students to various ways of answering these questions. Readings are drawn from political theory, and from a variety of empirical disciplines, including political science, sociology, anthropology, and psychology.
Harvard University, Spring 2013
The high period of German Idealism (from 1781, the date of the publication of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, to the death of Hegel in 1831) is one of the most revolutionary in the history of philosophy. This course uses the central ideas of history and freedom as a guide to survey this period. It also traces how modern conceptions of freedom, the self, and the historical character of knowledge have their origins in the Idealists’ thought.
History and Freedom in German Idealism
Teaching Fellow for Prof. Michael Rosen
Harvard University, Fall 2010 and 2012
This course investigates the central problems of political theory that concern the justification of democracy. Is democratic rule the uniquely just form of collective decision-making? What political institutions best express the democratic values of equality, deliberation, and participation? What are the moral responsibilities of citizens – whose representatives exercise political power in their name? Is democracy a human right? Readings integrate contemporary work in political philosophy with canonical thinkers, including Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and J.S. Mill.
Foundations of Political Theory
Teaching Fellow for Prof. Eric Beerbohm
The Left has identified itself throughout modern world history as a party of opinion that seeks to transform the institutions of society for the sake of greater equality and empowerment. It has claimed to champion the interests of ordinary working men and women. It now finds itself disoriented. The disorientation concerns both its institutional proposals and its assumptions about the ideal and the possible. This course explores the meaning of this disorientation and the way it can be overcome. It does so both historically and programmatically: by exploring the rise and fall in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of the idea of a progressive alternative to established institutions as well as by considering the directions the Left now takes, can take, and should take.
The Past and Future of the Left
Teaching Fellow for Prof. Roberto Unger