DEMOCRACY & DISOBEDIENCE
A Legal Studies Course
Professor Andreas Teuber
Department of Philosophy
Waltham, Massachusetts 02254
Tuesday & Fridays 1:30-2:30 PM
and by appointment
Office Hours: To be announced
Office Hours: To be announced
The course focuses on the relation of the individual to the state
and, in particular, on the theory and practice of non-violent resistance (civil disobedience),
its aims, methods, achievements, and legitimacy.
Articles on Reserve
- The course is divided into five parts:
- I. An opening section in which the examples of
Antigone, Socrates, Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King will be
II. A second section which will include a closer look at the
strategies of resistance employed during the Civil Rights movement
and the Vietnam War, as well as a search for answers to the
question: "For what purposes and under what circumstances can
civil disobedience be justified?" - including, but not limited to,
disobedience for publicity, disobedience as an act of conscience, as
a First Amendment right, as the violation of a law thought to be
unconstitutional, and as a plea for reconsideration of an
"immoral"law in light of a shared standard of justice. The second
section also includes a general examination of the nature of
obligation and an examination of the relationship between obligation
III. A third section which will explore the role of civil
disobedience in a democratic society, the conflict between authority
and autonomy and the grounds for giving one's allegiance to any
state at all.
IV. A fourth section devoted to an examination of several contemporary
examples of non-violent resistance, in particular, non-violent resistance in opposition to world trade agreements in Seattle, Washington, D. C. and Prague, disobedience in China and Northern Ireland, and the use and/or
abuse of civil disobedience at abortion clinics.
V. And a concluding section devoted to a study of the future of democracy in this country and throughout the world.
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Primary texts will be available at the University Book Store:
Sophocles, ANTIGONE, Dover
specially prepared Reading Packets: Civil Disobedience: Theory &
Practice and Democratic Theory: Problems and Solutions
are at the heart of the required reading for the course and will be on
electronic reserve and on reserve in Goldfarb Library. A list of
these articles is provided below..
Plato, THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF SOCRATES, Dover
Thoreau, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AND OTHER ESSAYS, Dover
King, LETTER FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL, A. J. Muste Institute
Walzer, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AMERICAN, Marsilio Press
Wolff IN DEFENSE OF ANARCHISM, Harper and Rowe
Bedau, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN FOCUS, Hackett
Levine, TOWARD A FAIR AND DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY, Rowman and Littlefield
Barber and Schulz (Editors), JIHAD VS. MACWORLD, Ballantine
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ARTICLES ON ELECTRONIC RESERVE
The following articles are available on the WEB through
Reserve (ELRS) accessible by Password. These articles are
to you on the WEB if you enter the appropriate code
You may download any artcile for your own personal use:
- Articles on Reserve:
- 1. Doris Hunter, On the Bhagavad-Gita
- 2. Reuven Kimelman, Non-Violence in the Talmud
- 3. Leo Tolstoy, Non-Resistance to Evil: Letter to Ernest Crosby
- 4. David Daube, The Women of the Bible and Greece
- 5. Margaret Hope Bacon, Non-Violence and Women
- 6. Thich Nhat Hanh, Feelings and Perceptions
- 7. Gene Sharp, Non-Violent Action: An Active Technique of
- 8. Gene Sharp, The Technique of Non-Violent Action
- 9. Allan Solomonow, Can Non-Violence Work in the Middle-
- 10. Liane Ellison Norman, Peace Through Strength
- 11. Jesse Wallace Hughan, Pacifism and Invasion
- 12. Mohandas K. Gandhi, Non-Violent Resistance
- 13. Harris Wofford, Jr., Non-Violence and the Law: The Law
- 14. Harrison Tweed, Bernard Segal, & Herbert Packer,
Civil Rights and Disobedience to Law
- 15. William Taylor, Observations on the Strategies of Protest
- 16. Louis Waldman , Civil Rights-Yes!; Civil Disobedience-No!
- 17. Albert Bigelow, Why I am Sailing This Boat into the Bomb-
- 18. Bertrand Russell, Civil Disobedience and the Threat of
- 19. Declaration of Conscience and A Call to Resist
- 20. Carl Cohen, Law, Speech, and Disobedience
- 21. Richard Boardman. Letter to Local Board No. 114
- 22. Tom Jarrell, Confessions of a Two-Time Draft Card Burner
- 23. Charles Wyzanski, Jr.. On Civil Disobedience and Draft
- 24. Noam Chomsky, Lewis Feuer, Paul Goodman, & Irving
A Symposium on Civil Disobedience and the Vietnam War
- 25. Richard Wasserstrom, The Obligation to Obey the Law
- 26. Fred Berger, Symbolic Conduct and Freedom of Speech
- 27. A. John Simmons, Tacit Consent
- 28. John Rawls, Legal Obligation, Fair Play, and Civil
- 29. Ronald Dworkin, Political Obligation and Community
- 30. Alasdair MacIntyre, Is Patriotism a Virtue?
- 31. Hanna Pitkin, Obligation and Consent - II
- 32. David Lyons, Obedience to Law
- 33. Ronald Dworkin, Civil Disobedience
- 34. Brian Barry, Is Democracy Special?
- 35. Susan Mendus, Losing the Faith: Feminism & Democracy
- 36. Ronald Dworkin, Civil Disobedience and Nuclear Protest
- 37. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (excerpts)
- 38. Peter Singer, Equality and Its Implications
- 39. Richard Norman, Does Equality Destroy Liberty?
- 40. Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty
- 41. Frithjof Bergmann, Freedom and Society
- 42. Gerald Dworkin, Autonomy
- 43. Elizabeth Wolgast, Pornography and the Tyranny of the
- 45. Robert Paul Wolff, In Defense of Anarchsim
- 46. Robert Dahl, After the Revolution
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The course meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thuirsdays: 1:10 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Four medium-length papers are required on topics growing out of the readings and class discussions. The papers should be about 5-6 pages in length, preferably typewritten.
Paper topics will be available at least ten (10) days before a paper
is due. It is wise to make a copy of a paper before handing in the
original. If you are working on a computer, make a back-up. Paper
topics will be available at least ten (10) days before a paper is due.
There will be a quiz in class. There will be no other written examinations, final or otherwise.
Grading will be broken down as follows: 30% for your strongest essay, 25% for your next best effort, 20% for the next, and 15% for the essay which is least successful of the
four. The quiz will count 10%.
Although class attendance will not be taken directly into account in
considering an overall grade for the course, attendance is required,
and failure to attend may result in a lowering of your grade. You are
allowed two unexcused absences.
Two films will be shown during the semester: "The Montgomery Bus Boycott" from EYES ON THE PRIZE and STOPPING
HISTORY, a documentary about protest against the proliferation of nuclear weapons on Friday, November 7th. (times to be announced).
Small Group Discussions
In a course this large discussion groups can be very helpful. Occasional discussion sections will be scheduled especially after paper topics are handed out and before a paper is due.
Discussion groups will give you an opportunity to explore some of the complex
issues of the course in greater depth.
I will hold office hours from 2:00 to 3:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays and by appointment. My office is located in Rabb, Room 306. If you wish to leave messages for me, you may do so at the Philosophy Department Office, Rabb 305, or by phone at
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