NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ810897
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-1551-2169
On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Teaching Political Theory to Undergraduates
Johnson, Jeffrey Alan
Journal of Political Science Education, v4 n3 p341-356 Jul 2008
This paper argues that the standard approach to teaching the history of political thought does not serve the ultimate goals of political theory education, and that alternative approaches are needed to make the history of thought appropriate for undergraduates. A history of political thought for life ought to enhance a person's capacity to act as a political animal in three ways: as a moral person, as a free person, and as a citizen. But the most common practices in teaching the history of political thought suffer from the same criticisms that have been leveled at contemporary research in political theory, thereby undermining the study of political theory for life. Teaching the history of political thought should be based on a model where classical texts serve as Socratic gadflies that provide alternative perspectives on the perennial questions posed by contemporary political practice. Two alternative models can integrate both traditional approaches to the history of political thought with contemporary political practice to produce a history of political thought for life that is appropriate to the purposes of undergraduate education in political theory. (Contains 1 table and 9 notes.)
Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A