HHIA03501U HIS, Who Ruled Democratic Athens? Political Science Approaches to the Classical Athenian Democracy

Volume 2013/2014
Module I-VI [MA Programme, 2008-Curriculum]
MA-elective: [MA-elective Programme, 2008-Curriculum]
Internal BA-elective for BA students of History: [BA-elective studies, 2013-Curriculum]
Who Ruled Democratic Athens? Political Science Approaches to the Classical Athenian Democracy
Democracy is arguably the greatest legacy offered by the ancient world. Through the centuries it has offered inspiration for the development of the modern democracies we now inhabit.

Differences in no small part reflect the diversity of approaches offered by political science. Over the last half a century political science has become increasingly divers in character offering a plethora of insights as well as inspiration for political scientists and historians. This development is in part a result of an ongoing discussion of a fundamental dilemma: is political science really a science? And if it is, what should be the subject of study? What exactly is ’politics’? And where and how should we look for ’the political’?

The course will introduce students to central and current theories and methods of political science. These will primarily be explored through their application to a particular historic polity, namely Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

Course objectives (clarification of some of the objectives stipulated in the curriculum):

Core texts:
- Theory and Methods in Political Science. Ed.: D. Marsh. Palgrave, 2002 (second edition).
- M.H. Hansen: Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes. Structure, Principles, and Ideology. University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.
- J. Ober: Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens. Rhetoric, Ideology, and the Power of the People. Princeton University Press, 1989.

Supplentary texts (articles and monographs to be read in excerpts):
- W.R. Connor: The New Politicians of Fifth-Century Athens. Princeton University Press, 1977.
- N.F. Jones: Ancient Greece: State and Society. Upper Saddle River, 1997.
- M.H. Hansen: ‘On the Importance of Institutions in an Analysis of Athenian Democracy’. C&M 40. 107-113.
- V. Gabrielsen: ‘Naval and Grain Networks’ (forthcoming).

Group instruction / Seminar
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Total
  • 56
Type of assessment
Other under invigilation
Criteria for exam assesment