On Violence and Politics
General Catalog Course Title:
Great Themes in the Rhetoric of Legal and Political Theory
Terms Offered:
Fall 2012

This course is about twentieth century legal and political theories of political violence. We examine theoretical attempts to define political violence and to establish distinctions internal to it (war, revolution, forced labor, security campaigns, terrorism, assassinations, capital punishment). We also explore a number of theoretical approaches aiming to distinguish violence from other formations and practices, such as power, politics, non-violence, rule of law, ethics, etc. Approaches critical of some of these distinctions are also introduced. Rather than attempt to better define violence, our first objective is to explore the legal and the political concepts that twentieth century preoccupation with violence engendered. Our second objective is to trace what different theorizations have enabled and foreclosed during the twentieth century. Some of the questions we will ask include: What is at stake in the demarcation of violence? How did the events of the twentieth century contribute to these demarcating inquiries? And what are the constitutive effects of these inquiries?

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.