Teaching for 2009-10

This coming year I will be teaching the following courses:

Fall-Winter: POLS 950, our core Ph.D. course for political theory students

Fall: POLS 451, a seminar on pluralism, toleration and public reason.

Winter: POLS 456, a seminar on libertarianism.
Winter: POLS 354, a lecture course on democratic theory.

POLS 451 will be a revised version of this term’s course. POLS 456 will be a new course on libertarianism, in which I plan to read the classics of libertarian thought: Friedman, Hayek, Nozick, maybe even Ayn Rand. The course will focus on standard, “right-libertarianism,” but it will conclude by addressing recent debates about “left-libertarianism” (Vallentyne, Steiner, Otsuka, Van Parijs). References to the main writings in each category can be found here

Laptop Bans

Interesting discussion over at Volokh.com prompted by law prof Eugene Volokh banning laptops from class. He did it as an experiment and then ran a survey and reported back to his colleagues. In general students reported greater levels of attention and interest in class, but found that their notes were less useful. Volokh arranged for one person per class to bring a computer, take notes, and share them. Some commenters in the discussion thread suggested banning internet rather than laptops. Of course there are always web-enabled cell phones, that don’t even need wi-fi, but they’re much less obtrusive. Volokh points out that it would be nice to have research about the effects of the presence of laptops on academic results, rather than just on student perceptions of learning.
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