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POL 302 Political Ideas

This course examines political ideas from a variety of historical, cultural and social contexts. It includes perspectives from both the "mainstream" of traditional European-American political thought, and perspectives from other cultures, ideologies and traditions that often challenge the assumptions of dominant thinking in both the United States and the international community. The goal is to provide students with the understanding necessary to evaluate U.S. political institutions and ideas, and participate as citizens.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 1, 1998 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Analyze differing philosophical interpretation of such political concepts as democracy, equality, liberty and justice at an upper division college level.
  • Create and articulate one¿s own perspective through reflection and synthesis of contending points of view.
  • Critically analyze and evaluate original texts from selected political thinkers.
  • Evaluate arguments that political thinkers have used to justify political beliefs and programs at an upper division level.
  • Write clearly and analytically at a level consistent with upper division university standards.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility

  • Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
  • Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.
  • Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.
  • Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.
  • Identify ways to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.