Politics and Theories of the Human (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Olivia Guaraldo
Olivia Guaraldo
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 17, 2020 al Mar 28, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Politics and Theories of the Human The course aims at an in-depth analysis - through an analytical readings of texts – of relevant themes in modern and contemporary political philosophy. Main focus of the analysis will be the relationship between modes of configuring subjectivity (of thinking the subject) and modes of political organization (of thinking the political). This investigation, which is at once political, epistemological and ontological, will put its focus on the relationship modern and contemporary philosophy establishes between concepts and experiences. Expected results will be: - capacity to carry out an analytical and critical reading of complex philosophical texts; - ability to individually elaborate an oral critical-argumentative parcours on the specific issues discussed; - ability to individually elaborate a written critical-argumentative text based on the mandatory readings, discussion in class, personal original elaboration; - conceptual ability to autonomously face philosophico-political problems and dilemmas of our present (i.e.: equality/difference, subjects/power, individual freedom/political order).


The democratic shudder: from Aeschylus to Judith Butler, elements for rethinking political action.
The course aims at investigating the auroral appearance of democratic agency in ancient Greece, moving from Aeschilus’ tragic representation of voting by handsraise (cheirotonìa) in the Suppliants. Through a historical-conceptual analysis of the specificity of Greek democracy, guided by the theoretical lens of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition and by Meier and Veyne’s historical analyses, we will be asking whether it is possible to trace persistencies, periodically re-emerging, of a participatory political agency worth recovering, in order to rethink political aciton in times of severe crisis. Are there specific democratic modes of engagement, emotion, meaning? In order to answer these questions we will try to explore, through Judith Butler’s recent analyses on global protest movements, instances of this persistence.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Adriana Cavarero Democrazia sorgiva. Note sul pensiero politico di Hannah Arendt Cortina, Milano 2019
Domenico Musti Demokratìa. Origini di un'idea (solo Introduzione) Laterza 1995 Introduzione e parte I, Demokratìa.
Gregory Vlastos "Isonomia." American Journal of Philology , 74 1953 L'articolo è disponible sulla piattaforma delle riviste on-line dell'università di Verona
Judith Butler L’alleanza dei corpi. Note per una teoria performativa dell’azione Nottetempo 2015
Christian Meier - Paul Veyne L’identità del cittadino e la democrazia in Grecia il Mulino 1989
Victor Ehrenberg "Origins of Democracy." Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte 1, no. 4 (1950): 515-48. 1950 L'articolo è disponibile sulla piattaforma delle riviste on-line dell'università di Verona
Eschilo Supplici qualsiasi edizione con testo a fronte  
Hannah Arendt Vita activa Bompiani, Milano 1999 in particolare capitoli 1,2, 5

Assessment methods and criteria

Final examination will consist in an oral discussion on the themes of the course. Students will be asked to start with a presentation of a topic individually chosen from those discussed in class (or present in the texts). After this individual presentation the student will be asked about the major theoretical problems dealt with during the course (class discussion and texts). Final evaluation will consider historical-philosophical and historical-political knowledge of the context treated in the course as well as ability to autonomously face philosophical-political dilemmas related to the reality of public life (public debates, public emergencies, public opinion).
The program is the same for attending and non-attending students.
Yet attending students will be asked to participate actively in the course through oral presentations in class of topics and texts relevant for the program: such presentations, together with active and regular attendance of classes, will constitute 40% of the final evaluation.