Assignments for POL 405, Political Ideologies, Spring 2016.

Welcome to the course!

For the Class of April 13th:

As I mentioned last class, the only assignment is to give me evidence that you have made progress on your paper. You do this by demonstrating to me on Wednesday that you have read some of the material that you said you were going to read last week. I would like to meet with each of you individually about this in fifteen minute appointments. I am available from late afternoon onward. Email me ASAP with a time that you wish to meet: 4:00pm, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, and so on. I will confirm the time or negotiate a different time if your choice has already been taken. We will go over your proposal from last class, and I will try to help you sharpen your research question.

See you tomorrow! We do not meet on April 20th because of the student research conference.

July 1 Dhaka Cafe Massacre: affluent background of the ISIS attackers

Seventh-Day Adventism and millenarianism.

Hezbollah and millenarianism.

For the Class of April 6th:

We must now get started on the rest of the semester and your major project: the research paper on your particular area of study. For Wednesday, I want each of you to prepare a report (it will be graded) on your progress/proposal for research that includes the following items:

You should be able to put this all in a two page, typed, report that you read to the class and on which you take questions (from me). I am serious about pushing you to do some good research.

For the Exam of March 30th:

Sorry this is so late. As I mentioned in class last week, the exam will be a combination of short essays and long definitions. The focus will be on the Voegelin material, since we spent more time on readings by Voegelin than on readings by any other author. The essay by Barry Cooper is basically an extension of Voegelin's approach to Islamicism. We also read two chapters from Gregor's book, Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, and two chapters from Minogue's Alien Powers. You should use material from the readings by Graeme Wood on ISIS and Norman Cohn on ancient and medieval apocalyptic myths as examples in your essays. There will be no direct questions on Wood or Cohn. There will be a couple of questions (with opportunity to choose among them) on Voegelin; one mandatory question on your choice of Gregor or Minogue.

Let's look at Voegelin first. The assigned readings were the intro and chapters 1-5 of his New Science of Politics and the two essays, "Science, Politics, and Gnosticism" and "Ersatz Religion" in his book entitled Science, Politics and Religion. Both books are in Modernity Without Restraint. In the New Science, you should be able to explain the following:

You may be asked to offer definitions or explanations of some of these terms in the context of Voegelin's argument or asked in an essay to connect them in Voegelin's argument. Use the chapter outlines in the beginning of New Science (pp. 83-87 of Modernity without Restraint) and the summaries that Voegelin periodically supplies to help to connect the dots.

In the essay "Science, Politics and Gnosticism," Voegelin makes the argument that the will to power or libido dominandi, the "system," and the prohibition of questions are essentially connected, and he uses Marx and Nietzsche to make his case. What is his basic argument here? How are the three connected? How do Marx and Nietzsche exemplify the points that Voegelin wishes to make? He also describes "pneumopathology" and "second realities" in this essay, ideas that are central to Barry Cooper's analysis of Islamicists or Jihadists. What are these concepts?

In "Ersatz Religion," he repeats much of the material on Joachim's historical schema and symbolism, but he also describes the perversion of Christian symbols by gnostics and "gnostic mass movements." What does the perversion allow gnostics to proclaim?

Regarding A. James Gregor's chapters from Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, consider the following:

Regarding Minogues's Alien powers:

I am assuming that if you read the assignments, that perhaps the material by Minogue made more sense to you than the material by Gregor, or vice versa. I want to give you the choice of answering a question on the author—Minogue or Grego—that is more understandable to you. You will not have to answer questions on both, only on the one that you wish. On the other hand, you must answer a couple of questions on Voegelin.

I hope this is useful to you.

For the Class of March 23d:

The last reading assignment before the semester exam is the Introduction in Voegelin's New Science of Politics. I urge you to begin reviewing the assigned readings from the semester: Voegelin, Gregor, Minogue, and Cohn. Clearly, there is more material from Voegelin than from the others, and the Voegelin material is more difficult than the rest, so begin now to review it and to have questions about it and the rest of the material at next week's class.

For the Class of March 16th:

Please read Voegelin's essay "Science, Politics and Gnosticism." Santa will present a seminar paper.

I am going to move the date for the exam to March 30th, a week later that the March 23d date on the syllabus. Since the March 30 exam is, in effect, the final exam for the course, it will give you some more time to digest some difficult material and discuss your questions about it in the two classes before the exam. The exam will cover the assigned material from Voegelin (New Science of Politics chapters 1, 2, 4, & 5, and the two essays "Ersatz Religion" and "Science, Politics and Gnosticism"), the two chapters from Gregor's Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, the essays by Cooper on Jihadism and Wood on ISIS, the chapters by Minogue, and the chapter by Cohn. Let's focus on questions about the Voegelin and Cooper assignments in the March 16 class. Review that material for the class.

I am expecting a substantial research paper from each of you this semester. The paper should thoroughly use a half dozen sources: books and scholarly articles. I want to work with each of you on the paper. Do not expect to put off the research until the last week of class and then dash off an acceptable paper. I am assuming that each of you has some genuine interest in the subject of your paper, so keep looking for sources and information about it now and in the coming weeks.

For the Class of March 2d:

Book Review due Tuesday, March 1st, by 3:30pm. You may email it to me by 3:30, but you must give me a hard copy on Wednesday.

The instructions for book reviews are on the link "Memo: Article and Book Reviews," which is available here or on my main webpage under "Useful Links."

The reading assignment is chapters 4 and 5 of Voegelin's New Science of Politics.

For the Class of February 24th:

First, I have moved the deadline for the book review up one day, from March 2d to Tuesday, March 1st. History has taught me over and over again that reading assignments do not get read if a paper on another subject is due the same day. This way, the paper is due the day before class.

Please read the handouts by Norman Cohn and Graeme Wood that are in the rack on my office door. Cohn gives us background on the apocalyptic and millenarian literature of the middle ages and Wood argues that ISIS is, indeed, a millenarian movement.

Hope to see all of you next Wednesday evening.

For the Class of February 17th:

Please read the handouts by Cooper and Minogue. Gabe and Gordon will present.

The book reviews are due March 2d, or sooner if you can do so.

For the Class of February 10th:

Please read the handout by Kenneth Minogue. Teresa and Nick will present papers.

For the Class of February 3d:

The reading assignment is (1) the handout with excerpts from Gregor's Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism and (2) the Communist Manifesto, which most of you have already read for Western Political Concepts (sorry Nicolas). Sarah will present the first seminar paper.

As of now, I am under the impression that you are interested in writing your research paper on something relating to the following subjects:

That is a nice mix. Your book review should be on a book relating to your research topic. Start looking for books and articles now; I will also try to help each of you with this process over the next couple of weeks. Keep in touch by email and by visits to my office. The book may be a short one, but you have three or four weeks to review the book, so pick one that is valuable to your research. All the books at this point should be ones that provide a broad introduction or background for your research. I will back off on the length of the reading assignments as soon as I know that you are all working on your own research.

For the Class of January 27th:

Please read chapter 3 of Voegelin's New Science of Politics and the essay "Ersatz Religion" in Voegelin's book of the same name, found in Modernity without Restraint. You should have a good idea of the area of the course you wish to focus on for your research paper, also.

An outline of "Ersatz Religion" is available on this link.

For the Class of January 20th:

Please read chapters 1 and 2 of Eric Voegelin's New Science of Politics, available in the Modernity without Restraint volume available at the bookstore or separately in a book published by the University of Chicago Press.

The material appearing in the New Science of Politics was originally presented in 1951 as a series of lectures at the University of Chicago, one of the premier centers for the study of political theory. When the lectures, and, in 1952, the book, appeared, they provoked considerable debate and controversy. Voegelin appeared to have broken with the conventional approach to political theory, at least as it was known in this country and England, and to have provided political theory with a new set of analytic concepts, but more importantly, with a new method of generating analytical concepts. The work is a difficult one to understand; we shall take it slow. I think you will find your efforts rewarded, however. A few study questions:

We will again discuss the particular ideologies and ideological movements that you want to study this semester, so give it some thought before class.

Sources on ISIS

For the Final 2014:

This was a course on the sources of political ideologies. Speaking very broadly, the readings identified three ancient sources: millenarianism (Cohn's Pursuit of the Millennium), Gnosticism (Voegelin's New Science of Politics and "Ersatz Religion"), and Hermeticism (McKnight's Sacralizing the Secular). We discussed a lot of overlap. For example, Cohn includes the Brethren of the Free Spirit, which he identifies as a Gnostic movement, in his survey of medieval millenarian movements. Voegelin's concept of gnosticism and gnostic mass movements (small "g") arguably applies to Hermetic movements and Hermetic thought as well, because the concept of gnosis as saving knowledge can be stretched to fit both Gnostic and Hermetic salvation—and millenarian thought, too, perhaps. We must balance precision and flexibility when we use these labels and concepts. Going into this exam, you should have a firm grasp of the concepts of millenarianism, Gnosticism (and gnosticism, small "g"), and Hermeticism (Hermetism, the esoteric tradition, the prisca theologia). You should be able to discuss these religions or religious movements, the fundamental distinctions between these religions and movements, and the overlapping concepts used to identify these religions. This is nothing new; we discussed these matters at almost every class. You should do well here.

Regarding Cohn's book:

  1. Going back to the first or second class, you should be able to identify Cohn's central thesis (not the characteristics of salvation, but the three-part argument that he makes in the first three chapters).
  2. You should be familiar with the main biblical and Sibylline sources and ideas of apocalyptic and millenarian scenarios.
  3. You should be thoroughly familiar with at least one of the early messiahs that he discusses (there were at least half a dozen).
  4. You should be familiar with the common theme or pattern that Cohn points to in the flagellants, pauperes, Pastoreaux, and Tafurs regarding the status of the poor and the identification of the Anti-Christ.
  5. You should be familiar with the Beghards, Beguines, and Brethren of the Free Spirit, and the Anabaptists of Münster.
  6. You should know who Joachim of Fiore, Konrad Schmid, the Drummer of Niklaushausen, Thomas Müntzer, and John of Leyden were.
  7. And you should be familiar with the concepts of apocalyptic, eschatology, the prophetae, and millenarian salvation (in Cohn's preface).
Most of these we discussed at length in class; a few, such as the Anabaptists of Münster and their leaders we discussed too briefly. The concepts you should already be familiar with; the individuals and movements you should probably brush up on so that you may describe them in some detail.

I will give you a list of eight of these terms and ask you to identify in detail five of them. The eight will come from this list. Try to provide as much detailed information about them as possible.

Regarding Voegelin's writings:

  1. You should have a basic understanding of the concepts of elemental and existential representation ("societies in form for historical action"), as well as the idea social "articulation" in chapter one.
  2. What is more important is his idea of transcendent truth or transcendent representation in chapter two and the main forms of transcendent truth in history: cosmological (ancient civilizations), anthropological (the classical Greek philosophers), and soteriological or salvational truth (Christianity and its deformation in Gnosticism). Along with this goes Voegelin's particular understanding of "theory" in chapter two.
  3. In the last three chapters, you should be familiar with Voegelin's understanding of Gnosticism and of Joachim's symbols and their effect on the orthodox, Augustinian theory of history during the Middle Ages. Chapter four is crucial.
  4. In chapter five, be familiar with Hooker's analysis of the Puritans. This is an excellent tool for the analysis of ideological movements.
  5. In chapters five and six, be familiar with Voegelin's analysis of Hobbes's political theory: why or how does Hobbes combat Gnostic religious movements? Why does Voegelin call Hobbes's theory itself Gnostic in the last three sections of chapter six?

Finally, regarding McKnight's book:

  1. What does McKnight mean by "sacralization"? by "secularization"?
  2. What are the sources of the Hermetic tradition? What is the basic pattern of Hermetic thought?
  3. According to McKnight, how did the Renaissance, Marsilio Ficino, and either Bacon or Comte or Marx (pick just one of the three to become expert on) reflect the influence of Hermeticism?
  4. Comparing it to the argument of chapters four and and six in Voegelin's New Science, be able to explain McKnight's argument (on pages 5-6, 16-19, 48-49 that knowledge of the Hermetic tradition fills in an important gap in Voegelin's (and Löwith's) assertion that Gnosticism is the distinctive transcendent truth of Modernity.

This outline—which I am sure some of you think is totally beyond your understanding!—indicates what I would like you to get out of the readings and the course. All three books (as well as the Adams, Price, and Payne essays and Voegelin's "Ersatz Religion" essay) make distinct arguments: they try to prove something or make some basic point. In addition to memorizing details, which is relatively easy, I would like you to try to identify the argument that each author makes. What is Cohn's argument about the basic profile of medieval millenarian movements? He has been much criticized for including accounts of movements that do not fit his initial profile. We talked about this in class. Voegelin is arguing that Gnosticism is the essence of Modernity. What does he essentially mean by this assertion? McKnight argues that Voegelin's basic argument was weakened by his ahistorical conception of "gnostic mass movements" but that the recognition of the Hermetic tradition would make Voegelin's approach more plausible. How does Hermeticism correct Voegelin's argument? Some of this we discussed at length in class. I will ask you two essay questions that focus on these basic thematic questions. Five identifications plus two essays equals one final exam.

Do the best you can at identifying and explaining the arguments of the three writers. Master as much detail as you can. Above all, show me evidence in your essays that you have read and studied the materials, and you will do very well on the exam even if you do not quite master all of their arguments.

Charles Barkley on Racial Ideology

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Reform movements within Islam (Washington Post, March 29, 2015)

For the Class of Wednesday, April 29:

I will be on campus Tuesday morning. I will assume that any paper that I find in the rack on my office door when I arrive has been submitted on time. If you cannot get to campus on Monday, please email me a copy of the completed paper by midnight, Monday, and you will be on time. I need hard copies Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

Once you complete the paper, the final reading assignment for the course is from the McKnight book: please read chapter 2, pages 25-26, 32-36, 41-49; chapter 3, pages 50 to 64; and chapter 5. I am pretty sure that the excerpts that I handed out include all of these pages. If I have assigned pages that I did not give you, read all the above-assigned pages that you in fact have. This marks the third major source of materials for the final—Cohn's Pursuit of the Millennium and Voegelin's New Science of Politics are the other two. See you at 3:30 on Wednesday.

For the Class of Wednesday, April 22d:

Please read to page 25 of McKnight's Sacralizing the Secular, his account of the Hermetic tradition and his concepts of sacralization and secularization.

The ten-to-twelve page research paper is due by 4:00pm Friday in my office (or emailed and followed up with a hard copy next Tuesday). Title page, about 30 footnotes, five or six sources, Selected bibliography in proper form. No table of contents is necessary, but page numbers and subheadings/sections within the paper are a must! See the link for "General Requirements for Research and other Papers" under the "Useful Links" section of the webpage.

For the Class of Wednesday, April 2d:

Please read the Introduction to Voegelin's New Science of Politics on positivism and the fact-value dichotomy. This subject is also addressed in C.S. Lewis's Abolition of Man and in Leo Straus's Natural Right and History. I have copies of both of those sources if you want to read them.

For the Class of Wednesday, March 26th:

Please read chapter 6 of Voegelin's New Science and the essay "Ersatz Religion" in Science, Politics and Gnosticism. I put two copies of "Ersatz Religion" in the rack on my office door.

Please sign up for an appointment to come in and meet me about the paper.

For the Class of Wednesday, March 19th:

No surprises: Voegelin chapters 4 and 5 for Wednesday. These chapters are easier to follow than the first three and contain a lot of important material. They also provide the intro for the next few weeks material on gnosticism, Voegelin's essay "Ersatz Religion," and the remaining chapters of New Science. I will also be emailing suggested readings for your research papers in the next few days. See you Wednesday.

For the Class of Wednesday, February 26th:

The assignment for Wednesday is chapter 2 of Voegelin's New Science of Politics.

You should be collecting concepts as you go through the text. In chapter one, Voegelin gives us

For the Class of Wednesday, February 19th:

Please read chapter one (not the introduction) of Voegelin's The New Science of Politics.

The material appearing in New Science of Politics was originally presented in 1951 as a series of lectures at the University of Chicago, one of the premier centers for the study of political theory. When the lectures, and, in 1952, the book, appeared, they provoked considerable debate and controversy. Voegelin appeared to have broken with the conventional approach to political theory, at least as it was known in this country and England, and to have provided political theory with a new set of analytic concepts, but more importantly, with a new method of generating analytical concepts. The work is a difficult one to understand; we shall take it slow. I think you will find your efforts rewarded, however. A few study questions:

  1. How does Voegelin describe the intellectual atmosphere of human society?
  2. What are the "elemental" aspects of political society? What is another way of describing the elemental institutions of a political society, such as the United States?
  3. What does he mean by the "existential framework" of representative institutions?
  4. What is wrong with relying on elemental institutions to understand the representativeness of a particular society?

On citing Cohn: 1Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium, rev.ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), 105. Thereafter use Ibids and subsequent references, as appropriate.

For the Class of Wednesday, February 12th:

The article review is due Monday, February 17th, by 3:00pm. If I am not in my office, I will put an envelop in the rack on my office door.

The guidelines for writing reviews are here. Everything except point number 5 applies to this review. The review should be no shorter than three full pages, but it need not be any longer than that. Make sure that you identify the author's main point (the thesis) and offer a critique of it. The guidelines explain what to include. Contact me if you have questions.

The reading assignment is the remainder of the Cohn text, chapters 11-13.

For the Class of Wednesday, February 5th:

I would like to start class at 1:00pm, as we discussed. If that is a problem for any of you, let me know as soon as you can.

Please read Cohn, chapters 8-10. I will post some study questions this weekend.

For the Class of Wednesday, January 29th:

The next assignment is Cohn, chapters 4-7.

Chapter Four: Identify (list) and describe briefly a few of the "saviors of the last days" described by Cohn. Which groups of people were identified by these saviors or their followers as the "demonic hosts"? What phantasies influenced these movements?

Chapter Five: What is the point of Cohn's chapter Five? What distinguished the crusades that Cohn describes in Chapter Five from the "official" Third and Fourth Crusades. Who were the "Pseudo-Baldwin" and the "Master of Hungary"? What role might the Sibylline Oracles have played in the events that Cohn describes in this chapter?

Chapter Six: What is the Joachite "prophecy"? What significance did the prophecy have for St. Francis and the Franciscans? What significance did Frederick II have for the prophecy? How did French King Louis VII compare to Frederick II? How might the Sibylline Oracles fit into the legend of Frederick? What other writings carried on the idea of a future Frederick?

Chapter Seven: What was the key difference between the Italian and the German flagellant movements? What provoked the flagellant movements around A.D. 1260? around A.D. 1348? How were the German movements influenced by the apocalyptic phantasies (or cosmic scenarios) described by Cohn in the book?

The assignment for Wednesday, January 22d, is Cohn, chapters 1-3, and the Bible passages listed in the syllabus.

This snow break might be a good time to read ahead or simply get through the assignment.

By way of commentary, I should say that chapters two and three provide support for the second and third parts of Cohn's thesis: what is Cohn's thesis? How do these two chapters--in particular, which examples--together with chapter one, establish the argument for that thesis?

Chapter One: What were the main Old Testament or Jewish apocalyptic stories? What was the main early Christian apocalyptic? ("Johannine" refers to John, the alleged author of the Book of Revelation (or Book of the Apocalypse, as it is translated in some bibles.) Who were the Montanists? What role did St. Augustine play in this development? What were the Sibylline oracles? What were the plots of the Tiburtina and the Pseudo-Methodius? Who was the Anti-christ? How often does he appear in the New Testament? The book Visions of the End by Bernard McGinn is an excellent source of the writings and commentary on the writings mentioned in Cohn's book. Ronald Knox's Enthusiasm has a chapter on the Montanists that fits well with Cohn's account. Both of these books are int he library. Go explore!

Chapter Two: Identify (list) and note the common characteristics of the early messiahs described in chapter two. How do these early messiahs support Cohn's thesis?

Chapter Three: Who are the prophetae described by Cohn? How do the prophetae described in chapter three differ from the early messiahs? How do their followers, the pauperes and tafurs, differ from the followers of the early messiahs and from the other crusaders? Keep Cohn's argument in mind as we work through the book.

As you study, jot down answers to these questions. Compile lists of individuals, events, and writings that Cohn discusses. This is material for which you must take copious notes if you are to get a handle on it. We will discuss the material in class and in quizzes, if necessary.

The following material is from past semesters:

For the Class of Wednesday, April 4th:

As announced, we will go over your first reviews of Gregor and Niemeyer on Wednesday: bring your books! We will also get all of you squared away on your next book review. The first two chapters of Voegelin's New Science of Politics when we return from Break on the 11th. BTW: A couple of you already have attendance issues: don't miss any more classes.

For the Class of March 14th:

The assignments for the next three classes are as follows:

For Wednesday the 14th, please read (1) the Introduction and pages 1-63 of Raymond Ibrahim's Al Qaeda Reader, and (2) the document to which bin Laden's statement, "Moderate Islam is Prostration to the West," responds: "What We're Fighting For". We'll start with the latter.

For the 21st, we will read two articles by Hoffman and Rapoport.

For the class of the 28th, an essay by Barry Cooper. All good stuff.

For the Class of February 29th:

I was able to find four complete copies (each in two parts held together with a binder clip) of the Minogue chapter for the next class. I put them in the rack on my office door. The entire assignment amounts to about 50 pages, so do not put it off until the last minute or you will not do well on the quiz.

Review of the Niemeyer and Gregor chapters on Lenin is due in the rack on my office door on Friday afternoon , March 2d, by 3:00pm. Please talk to me before then about any questions you may have.

The review should be at least 800 words (four pages, double-spaced) and include (1) one paragraph stating clearly and completely Niemeyer's main point about Lenin, (2) one paragraph stating clearly and completely Gregor's main point about Lenin, (3) a few paragraphs discussing some common aspect of their critiques. These first three components should take no more than two full pages. (4) Your discussion or critique of the common aspect of their critiques that you described in the first part of the paper is the fourth component.

Typically, you would cite a bunch of footnotes in the first part of the critique (look at how Niemeyer and Gregor use footnotes or endnotes to support their assertions, and do the same thing), and then just one or two footnotes in your critique section.

For the Class of February 22d (Remember the 4:00pm starting time):

Gregor chapters 4 (Sorel) and 6 (Mussolini) are assigned for Wednesday. Ahmed and Yasin indicated they will give the papers.

Let's make the article review due on Friday, March 2d, rather than Wednesday, February 29th. You should also be thinking about a book to review. I have a couple of ideas for you so let's talk before Spring Break.

For the Class of February 15th:

Please read chapters one and two of Gregor's Marxism, Fascism & Totalitarianism. Karam and Yasin will present the three-page seminar papers. (Please email me as soon as you select the chapters on which you will speak and I will advise you on how to proceed.)

We will be reading several chapters from this book by Gregor, and since it is based on analysis of Marxism and relevant writings, you must have some familiarity with Marx's writing to make any sense of it. Those of you who have taken POL 211 have read the Communist Manifesto. If you have not yet read it, please do now.

Also, following up on the assignment for last time, I think it would be helpful for the class to have frequent quizzes to (1) encourage all of you to read all of the assignments and (2) give me some indication of how well you are studying and comprehending the material. Thus there will be a quiz on the Gregor chapters with more emphasis on chapter 2 than on chapter 1. Look up all the words with which you are unfamiliar; I will put a couple of vocabulary questions on the exam. The grades on the quizzes will be folded into the grades for the class presentations and the final exam. Identify Gregor's main points in each chapter and in each section of the chapters: he writes very logically. Everything he says he says for a purpose and he announces his purposes clearly at the outset of his arguments. He provides the basis for good lessons in reading comprehension; let's take advantage of what he provides.

For the Class of February 8th:

Please read chapter 3 ("Total Critique and Total Revolution") and 6 ("The Ethics of Existence") in Niemeyer's book. Omar will present a paper on chapter 3; Ryan will present on chapter 6. As I mentioned last time, I think I will give a short quiz at the beginning of class to encourage all of you to read the material. We had a good discussion last time, but there was not a lot of evidence that the questions came from the readings. In order for a small class to succeed, everyone has got to be prepared most of the time. So please read the assigned material.

For the Class of February 1:

Please read chapters one and two from the Niemeyer book, Between Nothingness and Paradise. Ahmed will present a seminar paper on one of the chapters; I would be glad if one of you volunteered to present another. Beginning next week, two students will present, and I will proceed in alphabetical order backwards starting with "Z."

Sorry to be so late with the questions. In chapter one of Between Nothingness and Paradise, Niemeyer is constructing his concept of the axiological critique of society, which he presents on the last two pages of the chapter. (1) Is Niemeyer's conception consistent with Voegelin's idea of the axiological immanentization of the eschaton in Ersatz Religion? Think through the connection between Voegelin's idea of "immanentization" or derivation and Niemeyer's conception of "critique." (2) Apply each of the six characteristics of the axiological critique that Niemeyer lists on the last two pages to the "theories" of each of the four writers he discusses in the chapter: Meslier, Morelly, Mably, and Babeuf. Does the theory of each of these men bear all of the characteristics that Niemeyer lists?

In chapter two, he constructs his concept of the teleological critique. He again articulates that concept in the last few pages of the chapter. (1) As with the axiological critique, compare Niemeyer's concept with Voegelin's concept of teleological immanentization (or derivation) of the eschaton. Are they similar? How? (2) Do the theories of each of the men Niemeyer studies in chapter two—Turgot, Condorcet, and Fourier—have each of the seven characteristics that Niemeyer adduces? Do you see any fundamental differences between the ideas of Turgot, Condorcet, and Fourier?

Please jot down your responses to these questions. I will ask you about them in class and may ask you to hand in a copy at the end of class, so have something to give me. Keep it brief! I simply want to see how well you are understanding this material. It is hard to get used to at first.

For the Class of January 25th:

Please read the two essays I handed out in class: Gregor's "Ideology of Fascism" and Voegelin's "Ersatz Religion." For each essay, identify the author's main point: his "thesis." Sum up in as concise a manner as you can what each author's fundamental point is.

For the Final:

The exam will consist of one question aimed at evaluating your understanding of the Hermeticist tradition as distinct from the Gnostic and millenarian traditions that we have studied this semester.

For the Class of April 20th:

As I thought about some of your comments and questions on the assignment this past Wednesday, I suspect that you might not be clear regarding the assignment. Let me restate it. On Wednesday, I want each of you to report to the class on the research that you have been doing. The report should be in the form of a short (two or three pages only) seminar paper that you read to the class. Tell us what you have done. No footnotes; no title page; copy for you, copy for me; more copies if you can do it.

The research paper itself should be five or six pages with all the appropriate formalities—title page, footnotes, question you addressed, and your reasoned response-thesis. I thought this went without saying; this is always the form in which a research paper is presented. The sources you cite should include the book that you reviewed and at least two other sources—articles, chapters of books, books. In other words, a short, not extensive list. You may hand in the research paper on or before Monday, April 25th, by putting a hard copy in the rack across from my office door. I cannot make the deadline any later.

For the Class of April 13th:

Well, now, I detect a certain amount of lassitude here that has me concerned. A couple of you owe me papers; a couple of you have already exceeded the unexcused absences; no suggestions for readings from the Wessinger text. In a class this size, we must all fulfill our commitment or the whole enterprise sinks. The sliding is probably due to exhaustion—yours, not mine—which is understandable, but I will not let the course slip away. I'll keep this assignment short, but I will expect you to read the two articles. First, please read Grant Underwood's article on the Mormons, pp. 43-61; second please read Massimo Introvigne's article on the mass suicides of the Solar Temple followers, pp. 138-157. Both are in the Wessinger text.

See you Wednesday at 2:00pm. Remember, we are starting an hour and a half earlier. Class should be over by 3:30pm.

For the Class of March 30th:

Yo! I just remembered that you are working on your reviews, and while that does not preclude an assignment, it would be better perhaps if the assignment were shorter. Let's put off the Niemeyer article on "Autonomous Man" until next week. Please read just the Voegelin essay and the Niemeyer essay on "Loss of Reality." These fit closer the readings we have just completed.

I have decided to assign two articles by Niemeyer, both of which are in the wall rack across from my office—"Loss of Reality," and "Autonomous Man"—and also one of the essays from Voegelin's Science, Politics and Gnosticism: the Introduction and "Science, Politics & Gnosticism" (the first full essay).

For the Class of March 23d:

Please read the rest of McKnight's book on Sacralizing the Secular.

For the Class of March 16th:

Please read the short article on Gnosticism and Hermeticism by van den Broek and the long excerpt from Stephen McKnight's Sacralizing the Secular for class. The book reviews will be due Friday, April 1st (no fooling).

For the Class of February 23d:

Please complete the Cohn text and read the first two chapters of Jonas's Gnostic Religion. Copies are in the rack on the wall across from my office door. Nick, I assume that you have a copy of Jonas's book, so I only put three handouts in the rack.

For the Class of February 16th:

After posting the assignment earlier today, I have had second thoughts and hereby amend the assignment. I hope this does not mess any of you up for this week. Instead of skipping chapter 9 in order to finish the Cohn text this week, I have decided to go with my original plan of reading the whole text, even if it carries over to next week. So please read chapters 9, 10, 11, and, if you can, 12. For next week we will read Cohn (chapter 13, or 12 & 13, depending on how much we discuss this week) and also the Jonas chapters. This week I will provide material on neo-Platonism as promised.

Please read chapters of Cohn—chapter 9, 10, which reviews the sources for the last chapters of the book, and chapters 11 & 12, which recount several famous incidents that are of particular importance to students of political history: the story of the Taborites in chapter 11 and of the intellectual journey of Thomas Müntzer in chapter 12.

These journals may also be of use to you:

Studies in Conflict and Terrorism

Terrorism and Political Violence

Politics, Religion & Ideology

For the Class of February 9th:

The article review is due Friday, February 4th; bring questions about the review, also. As I mentioned in class, the article review should be about three pages long and should/may use the material assigned thus far in class for commentary and critique purposes.

Please read Cohn, chapters 6 to 8. That puts us a couple of chapters behind the syllabus, but we are still in good shape. Pick up a vocabulary sheet from the rack on the wall across from my office door. I'll put the extras there on Friday.

For the Class of February 2d:

After watching the weather reports for the past week (most of which suggested that we would be getting another huge load of snow just in time for class Wednesday), it now seems that we might actually have a chance to have class on Wednesday. Instead of doubling the assignment and trying to cover chapters 1-6 of Cohn on Wednesday, let's add only chapters 4 & 5: we will definitely cover chapters 1 through 5 on Wednesday. Bring questions about the text with you.

For the Class of January 26th:

See the announcement on the main webpage relating to possible snow Wednesday afternoon.

Please read chapters one, two, and three of, as well as the introductory material to, Norman Cohn's Pursuit of the Millennium. Identify the question that he set about to answer in the research represented by the text. What is his central thesis? How do chapters one, two, and three reflect that thesis?

Read also the article by Rapoport or by Hoffman that you are to review. Take a look at the general requirements for an article or book review at the link "Memo: Article and Book Reviews" under the "Useful Links" section of the main web page. Review is due Friday, February 4th.

As I mentioned in class, I will adjust the level of assignments to the size of the class. I do not want members of a small class to get swamped with work.

The assignment for Wednesday the 19th is listed on the syllabus—the Bible readings and the chapters by Knox and Tuveson. In the subsequent weeks, we will be working through the Cohn text. The article review will be due on February 2d. I have copies of both the Hoffman and the Rapoport articles in my office, if you want to pick one up before class; otherwise, I will hand them out next week.

I think you will really enjoy the material we are studying this semester. I am glad you are along for the trip. Take a look through the book list at the end of the syllabus to see if any title/subject attracts your interest. I am familiar with the books and can answer questions you may have about them.

The material below is from past semester and is probably not relevant to this semester's course. Take a look at it if you wish.

For the Class of April 21st:

I placed copies of chapter 8 of Richard Ellis's Dark Side of the Left in the rack on the wall across from my office door. I also attached to the chapter some prefatory materials from the book that discuss the background to Ellis's study. Only chapter 8 is assigned; look at the other matierial if you can. The chapter is different from the one I use in POL 211, but it also concerns environmentalism. Let's start class at 7:00pm to give you a bit longer to read the material. I know the papers are due tomorrow, too. Sorry for the terribly late posting.

For the Class of April 14th:

The "Approaches to Political Ideologies" link is up and running.

Class will be held from 2:00 to 4:00pm; if our usual room is taken, I will secure another one.

Ryan and Max will present seminar papers on the ideological nature (or not) of the Islamist authors that we have read thus far. Each paper should offer evaluations of a half dozen or so of the authors.

Final drafts of research papers are due on April 21st.

For the Class of April 7th:

As we discussed the past two classes, the main assignment for Wednesday is a five-page paper reflecting your research on the semester research paper. You need not read the whole five pages, but be prepared to read much of it to the class as if it were an ordinary seminar paper. The only additional reading assignment is from the Princeton reader: chapter 9, Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Islam and Democracy.

Also, as I mentioned, I would like to reschedule the class of April 14th, so we will discuss alternative times for that week.

For the Class of March 31st:

Let's see if I have this straight: chapters 2 and 14 for next class, with Marc presenting a seminar paper (with relatively few footnotes) on chapter 14. Right? Since chapter 14 is very short, let's add another very short chapter: chapter 17 (The Taliban).

For the 7th, all of you will present papers based upon your research-paper research. The papers should be about five pages long and be based on four or five sources. All of your research papers should ultimately be critiques or evaluations of a theory or a movement in light of a conception of ideology that we have studied in the course. Your paper for the 7th need not offer this critique but only reflect your understanding of the theory or movement that you will be subjecting to the critique.

Though no one will present a seminar paper on the assigned readings on the 7th, I would like to continue with a reading assignment for that class and also at least one class thereafter from the Princeton reader. Chapters of interest to me are 4, 15, 16, 17. I am open to your input, also. I think Marc indicated interest in chapter 7. Take a look through the reader and see if there is a chapter that you might want to include.

We also want to include a chapter from the Richard Ellis Dark Side of the Left later in the course. I will select a chapter from that text and perhaps material from Hofstadter's Paranoid Style for the last couple of weeks of the semester.

For the Class of March 24th:

I hope you have been working on your papers. The readings for Wednesday will introduce us to "Islamism" or, as some would call it, "Islamicism." Please read three chapters: chapter 3, Mawdudi on Islamic Law; chapter 6, Khomeini on Islamic Government," and pages 1-27 of the Introduction.

For the Class of March 17th:

For the Class of March 10th:

As I indicated in class, I am posting a mid-term grade of "B" for each of you in the absence of exam and review papers. I do not place a lot of weight on these high school mid-term grades. If you are having serious problems in the course, I suspect that we will have ample opportunity to discuss the problem because of the small size of the class. So take the mid-term grade for what it is worth.

Please read chapters (not lectures) three and four, pp. 110-183, of Hitler and the Germans, and the excerpt from Hermann Rauschning on the nature of the Nazi revolution. Elizabeth will present, and anyone else may volunteer. At the present rate, I will double up the presentations in coming weeks so that each of you presents two seminar papers this semester.

The reviews are due in my office on Friday, February 26th.

As we discussed, you should also be beginning your term paper research. ELizabeth on "Islamo-fascism," Chris and Ryan on aspects of communism, Marc on Italian fascism, Max and Lindsey on ???. I want to work with you on these papers, but I will not let you put off the research and the writing until the end of the semester. We are shooting for a first draft in the first week of April.

For the Class of February 24th:

First, for the mid-term grade report I will submit a "B" for each of you in the course at this time. That will get the fascist administrators off my back and allow me to move the deadline for the review. I am moving the deadline for the review to Friday, February 26th. Have them in my office before 4:00pm that day, when I will probably leave campus. As always, you MUST hand in a hard copy, but you may meet the deadline by emailing it to me before 4:00pm Friday as long as you give me a hard copy by the next work day--in this case, Monday. Since I know who's who in this small class, there is no need for ID#s: you can put your names on the papers.

The reading assignment for Wednesday is Voegelin, Hitler and the Germans, chapters one and two. Marc will present the paper. Anyone else may also volunteer to do so.

Given the loss of the class period last week, I will replace the in-class mid-term with a take home mid term due some time after Break. We will talk about that Wednesday evening.

For the Class of February 10th:

Please read chapter three of Niemeyer and chapters one and two of Minogue. You should have your books for the book review selected. We will move the due date for the review back to TUESDAY, February 23d. That will give me a day to grade them and return them in class on the 24th. Guidelines for reviews are in a memo available via a link on the main web page under "Useful Links."

For the Class of February 3d:

Please read chapter two of Niemeyer, Between Nothingness and Paradise. Chris will present a three-page seminar paper.

Also, look over the three books I mentioned to you for the book review: Bakunin's God and the State, an anarchist manifesto; Lenin's The State and Revolution; and Sayyid Qutb's Milestones. As alternatives to Qutb on Islamicism, there are also works by Al Qaeda theoretician Ayman Al Zawahiri ("Knights under the Prophet's Banner," or three essays: "Loyalty and Enmity," "Sharia and Democracy," and "Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents"), and the Ayatollah Khomeini ("Islamic Government"). All of these alternatives are somewhat longer than the Qutb piece. No more than three students on one book. Be prepared to select one by class on Wednesday. Chris selected Lenin; Elizabeth selected Bakunin.

For the Class of January 27th:

Please read chapter one, Natura ex Machina in Niemeyer, Between Nothingness and Paradise. I will present a seminar paper on the chapter. "Natura ex machina" is a play on what other phrase? What distinguishes the theories of Meslier, Morelly, Mably, and Babeuf? Why, according to Niemeyer, is one of these theories different from the rest? What is Niemeyer's concept of the "axiological critique"? Why "axiological"? Does his "archetype" of socialism accurately reflect the theories he has analyzed? Do the contents of the chapter justify his title for the chapter?

Jean Meslier writings.

Morelly's Code of Nature.

For the Class of January 20th:

Welcome to the course!. As I explained during the first class, this first assignment is larger than usual in order to give us an introduction to all of the subjects that we will be studying this semester: Marxism-socialism, fascism-Nazism, and Islamicism. Read all three articles as quickly as you can; you can then go back and focus on areas of interest. Please read Cooper's article on "Jihadists," Tucker's essay on the Marxian Revolutionary Idea, and Gregor's article on the Ideology of Fascism.

The material from below is from last Spring. The layout and the subject matter of that course was much different, so this semester's course will be much different.

For the Final:

As I indicated in class, of the three main texts that we studied--Cohn's Pursuit of the Millennium, Tuveson's Redeemer Nation and Ibrahim's Al Queda Reader--the material in Cohn's and Ibrahim's texts seem closer in subject matter to each other than either is to Tuveson's text. Expect the questions on the exam to reflect this breakdown.

I handed out a list of terms for the Cohn text earlier this semester (I probably cannot find another copy, so if you misplaced yours, try to get a copy from a classmate) and indicated several important terms and identifications on the list. Since Cohn's subject and the Islamic radicalism that is the subject of Ibrahim's (and Murawiek's) books are both religion-based radical theory and movements, you should be able to draw specific parallels and make specific distinctions between particular medieval Christian and contemporary Islamic movements and sects. The brief outline of some present-day approaches to political ideologies, set forth on the web site link, may also be of help to you. Regarding Tuveson, you should be familiar with the origins of the so-called "post-millennialism" variant of millenarian thought that characterized the American millenarianism Tuveson mostly describes. You should also be familiar with several of the literary works, historical events, and American policies that reflect American millenarianism. The Price, Adams, and Paine readings are all part of the phenomenon that Tuveson is describing, and in fact he discusses Adams's essay at length.

There will be two or three essay questions; if there are only two essays, there will also be some concepts for you to define or groups/individuals/doctrines/works to define or identify. This is where material on hermeticism and material from Voegelin's essay seem to fit in. I will not pick obscure terms, but I intend to be thorough. Your essays and responses should (1) reflect your reading and studying of the assigned materials and (2) precise, specific--not general and unsupported--references to material from the readings.

Bring a few blue or black ink pens to class with you Wednesday evening. See you then!

For the Class of April 15th:

Let's make sure I have this straight: the papers will be presented by Jhon and Katherine, unless you reallocate them among yourselves. Regardless, we need two papers this week and two papers next week, when the research papers are also due.

The reading assignment is from Ibrahim, Al Qaeda Reader: please read (1) the al Zawahiri interview and the bin Laden writings on pages 175 to 208 and (2) the bin Laden essay "Moderate Islam Is a Prostration to the West," pages 17 to 61. The bin Laden statement "Why We Are Fighting You" is a response to an American statement, "What We're Fighting For," and the essay "Moderate Islam Is a Prostration to the West" is a response to a Saudi reply to "What We're Fighting For." The Saudi reply is entitled ""How We can Co-exist." Both "What We're Fighting For" and "How We Can Co-Exist" can be found here. Both are on the website.

For the Class of April 8th:

Reading for Wednesday the 8th, Tuveson, chapters 4 and 5. Katherine and Jhon are in the involuntary volunteers. Shall we bgin earlier than 6:30pm on Wednesday? Because that is the regular time and because a change may adversely affect one or more of you, I will not change the time (or room) unless I get the OK from all of you, so please email me before Wednesday to let me know.

Research papers due April 22d.

For the Class of April 1st:

As anniounced, please read the remaining two articles by al-Zawahiri: "Sharia and Democracy," and "Jihad . . . ." (I do not have the text with me). We will return to Tuveson next week.

For the Class of March 25th:

The reading assignment is the essay "Loyalty and Enmity" by Ayman al-Zawahiri in The Al Qaeda Reader, pp. 63-115. I strongly urge you to read as much of the introductory materials and commentary in the book as possible. Ryan is presenting. Look for similarities and parallels in the content of al-Zawahiri's essay with the other materials that we have read thus far in the course. Is this "ideological" material? Why or why not?

For the Class of March 18th:

For Wednesday, please read chapters 2 & 3 of Tuveson, Redeemer Nation. Germary will present a paper. Katherine and Tyler: need your paper topics ASAP.

For the Class of March 11th:

Another good class. David and Tyler should present seminar papers on the Adams and Price material, directly linked from the online syllabus for the class; add Paine, too, if it is not too late. (I have just checked the links for Adams, Paine, and Price, and they are working.) This is the reading assignment. Please email me with you interests for a research paper: I will also individually email you. Let's not put this off. Have a good break. (I put your reviews in the rack on the wall across from my office door last Friday as promised.)

For the Class of February 25th:

First, good class tonight. Good discussion and contributions by each of you. I think you will enjoy the articles for next week on Hermeticism and Gnosticism, also. Both articles are very introductory and do not adequately connect hermeticist thought with political thought, but the subject is fascinating. I also want you to think about what part of the course so far you want to do your research paper on. Please email or talk to me about this if you wish.

For the Class of February 18th:

Please read chapter 13 of Cohn and the article by Bruce Hoffman on "Holy Terror" that I handed out in class. Katherine will give a paper. David, Tyler, Bailey or Jhon may give one, too! Why not live dangerously and present a seminar paper before you have to.

For the Class of February 11th:

The review of the Voegelin essay is due. The reading assignment is the Rapoport article, "Fear and Trembling." Copies of the article are in the rack on the wall across from office door at Rowley 62A. Look in the "335" slot. I suggest that you try to work in some reference to the Rapoport article in your Voegelin review. I

See the Memo: Article and Book Reviews for more general information about article reviews and for the basic requirements. Your article review should be three to five pages long. The proportion of summary to commentary is extremely important. One-third to one-half of the review should consist of your commentary or evaluation or critique of Voegelin's essay. As I explained in class, you should identify and explain Voegelin's main point or thesis. Application of this thesis to material in Cohn or in Rapoport's article or, preferably both, is a good idea.

For the Class of February 4th:

That was a good class. I expect all of you to participate in the class discussions, and almost all of you did Wednesday evening. Keep it up!

As announced in class, the reading assignment for next class (February 4th) is Cohn, chapters 7, 10, 11. Ryan and Katherine will present papers. The review of the Voegelin essay, "Ersatz Religion" (what does "ersatz" mean?) will be due the 11th. Start reading it soon.

Welcome to the Course. The material in this course is, I believe, the most interesting in political science, if not in all literature. I really hope you enjoy the class. The readings for the first class are listed in the syllabus. Thereafter, look here each week for the assignments.

Voegelin's six characteristics of modern gnostic mass movements from Science, Politics and Gnosticism

Christian Science Fiction

A great site for Marxist primary and secondary sources is Internet Library.

Roots Syllabus with Reading List