Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Teaching Political Theory Survey

I just came across this interesting paper which surveys who (e.g. age, gender, rank) teaches political theory in the US, which thinkers they typically teach, and how they teach and assess their theory courses. Well worth the read to help one get a sense of the current state of the discipline. I found the table below especially interesting. I listed just the top 20 (+1 Dewey ;)) thinkers that received the most votes on the questions "should be taught more" and "should be taught less" (click table to view large image):
It appears there is a strong sentiment among those surveyed that Rawls should be taught less, and that the ancients (Plato and Aristotle) ought to be taught more. The three highest scores for "should be taught more" are Plato, Aristotle and Marx, something that coheres with my own view of things. It was curious that Marx also ranked #2 on the "should be taught less" list (Marx, you either love him or hate him I guess). The article also addresses the issues of the purpose of a political theory course, the type of readings utilized, methods of teaching and assessment. It is certainly worth the read and helps give one a better sense of the state of the discipline (at least in the US) today. Cheers, Colin