Cosmopolitan Political Theory Syllabus

Cosmopolitan Political Theory-380G

Instructor: Rochelle DuFord


Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 10am-11am, via GCHAT and available by appointment for Skype. You also are welcome to email me with any questions you may have.


Course Description: What does it mean to be a citizen? For the most part, we are all citizens of some country. Yet, there are many questions to be asked concerning citizenship: is citizenship of a particular nation-state best for us as humans? Should some other characteristic decide to whom we owe loyalty and other political duties? Should we have global economic interactions? Does citizenship require that we reflect a national culture in our political processes?

Cosmopolitanism, deriving from the greek ‘cosmo’ (world) and ‘polites’ (citizen), is the study of citizenship beyond the boundaries of nation-states. In this course, we will study theories of world-citizenship, the many varieties (political, cultural, economic, and ethical) of world-citizenship, as well as critical perspectives on those theories. Lastly, we will have some focus on global institutions, paying particular attention to the way in which global institutions interact with states and their citizens.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills.
  • Learn how to reconstruct arguments, and how to make arguments (specifically in writing).
  • Practice the skill of articulating disagreements, and providing constructive feedback to classmates.
  • Familiarize students with debates regarding political duties in a global context.

Gen Ed Credit

  • This course is an “H” course, as such it will “enhance students’ understanding of human experience through the study of literature or philosophy.”

This course is a “C” course, as such, students will

  1. Demonstrate understanding of course content through formal academic writing;
  2. Construct effective prose that demonstrates critical thinking and advances sound conclusions, appropriate to the course and discipline; and
  3. Demonstrate the ability to revise and improve their writing in both form and content.


Required Texts:

All required texts can be found under the ‘content’ tab on Blackboard. Texts will be in PDF form, and can be found organized according to ‘week.’ Each week’s texts will be grouped together in a folder for easy access. In each week’s folder you will also find my ‘reading notes,’ which are designed to take the place of a lecture. You will also find one ‘Weekly Lecture.’ This is a lecture which summarizes the week’s readings, and discusses them in conversation with each other and the week’s theme. You should read the ‘weekly lecture’ after you have read all of the week’s readings, and reading notes.

Course Requirements:

As this is a “C” course, nearly all of your completed work will be written.

4 Five-Page Argumentative Papers

Papers (60%):

In this course you are required to write 4 papers, of a five-page length (using the equivalent of 12 point Times New Roman, no larger then 1 inch margins, and double spaced). Each paper should choose one author, reconstruct the author’s argument, then provide your own position on the author’s argument (you will be given more specific prompts to which your papers must be a response).

I will comment on first drafts of papers within 24 hours, to allow you the maximum time to revise. You can view my comments on TURNITIN, by accessing your paper and clicking the ‘grade mark’ tab on the top of the page.

Papers must use MLA or Chicago Style formatting, and the appropriate citation method for the chosen style. For information on style requirements please consult (be sure to consult the following style guides before contacting me with questions concerning style):

MLA: Purdue Online Writing Lab

Chicago: Purdue Online Writing Lab

If you agree with the author’s argument, then you must provide some additional reasons that the author is right. If you disagree with the author’s argument, then you must explain why, and provide reasons to convince someone that you are correct in your disagreement.

In either case, you should provide at least one way in which someone may believe you are wrong, and respond to their objection satisfactorily. (i.e. provide a response to a counter-argument).

First Two Papers (5% Each) Both are Due on JUNE 6 at 11:59 pm.

Revision of First Two Papers (5% Each) Both are Due on JUNE 13 at 11:59 pm.

Third and Fourth Papers (10% Each) Both are Due on JUNE 20 at 11:59 pm.

Revision of Third and Fourth Papers (10% Each) Both are Due on JUNE 27 at 11:59 pm.

All papers for this course will require revision. You will have one week to revise your papers before they are re-submitted

All papers must be submitted to turnitin, there will be a link available on Blackboard.

LATE PAPERS: Late papers will be penalized at 10% per day late. Papers received after 48 hours after the paper deadline will be given a 50%, however, you must still get my feedback, and revise them, if the late paper is a first draft.

5 1-2 page (250-500 Word) expository blog entries (20%).

Each week you are required to compose one blog entry on a text of your choice. You can find the guidelines for blogging under the ‘content’ tab on black board. Blogs are designed to be a place where you provide cursory explanations and engagements with the material. This will help you work on providing argument summaries, reading critically, and thinking critically about the texts.

When writing blog entries, they may be about any of the texts that were assigned that week. However, you may not write a blog entry about a text that someone else has written about until all of the texts have been written about at least once. In addition, if you are writing about a text that has already been written about, you must choose another format for your blog entry. If the first entry does format 2, you may choose format 1, 3, or 4. (For more information on the ‘formats’ and formal instruction for writing blog entries, please consult ‘Guidelines for Blog Entries’ under the Course Documents tab on blackboard.)

What this means is that if you want to write about a particular text, in a particular way, you must complete your blog entry early.

Blog entries are due by Friday at 12:00 (noon) each week. NOTE: Except for Week 5, your fifth blog entry is due on Wednesday at 12:00 (noon) on JUNE 25th.

Late blog entries will receive a 10% penalty per day, and are only accepted up to 48 hours late. After 48 hours, you will earn a grade of 0.

15 responses to blog entries (Worth 5%)

You must respond to at least three other blog entries per week, in the form of interrogating the author’s explanation. You may do so in any of the following ways:

  • Extending the Author’s analysis
  • Challenging the Author’s analysis with critical questions, as well as the background reasons for the question.
  • Providing more details that are important, and that the author has left out.

Additionally, you must respond in some substantive way to each person who responds to you. Responding “that seems right” or “I agree” without providing reasons are considered non-substantial responses and will not receive any credit.

Responses to blog entries are due by Sunday at 11:59 pm each week. NOTE: except for your Fifth set of blog responses. In week five, all work must be completed by JUNE 27th, at 11:59 pm.

Weekly Quizzes (15%):

You will have a weekly reading quiz, composed of 10 questions, that must be completed on SATURDAY of each week. There will be true and false, multiple choice, and fill in the blank questions. The quizzes should be easy to complete if you have completed the readings, as well as read the lecture notes. Once you begin the quiz, you will have 20 minutes to complete it. Quizzes are open book and note, however, if you run out of time, your quiz will not be able to be completed. You may take the quiz at any time on Saturday, however be sure that you are prepared once you have opened it. You will not be able to ‘re-take’ the quiz.

Your first reading quiz will also have questions concerning the syllabus, be sure to read it in full.

NO LATE QUIZZES WILL BE ADMINISTERED. If you know in advance that you will not be able to take the quiz on Saturday, I will make it available for you earlier in the week, however, you MUST contact me PRIOR to Saturday to use this option.

**NOTE: in Week 5, your final reading quiz will be administered on FRIDAY, JUNE 27th.**

Breakdown of Grading:

Papers and revisions (60%)

Blog entries (20%)

Blog Responses (5%)

Weekly Quizzes (15%)

Course Policies:

This course is conducted completely online. This means that while you can take the course from anywhere, a reliable internet connection is necessary. Technological difficulties, failure of internet connection, etc. are not justifications for failing to complete the assigned tasks on time. Contact me immediately if you believe you are having technological difficulties with the course.

Distance Learning

Because this is a distance learning course, reliable internet access is a necessity. It will also be necessary to have access to word processing software, as well as to a PDF reading software. If you will have any difficulty with these things, please contact me immediately.

Additionally ALL COURSE COMMUNICATIONS WILL BE COMPLETED VIA YOUR UNIVERSITY EMAIL ADDRESS AND THROUGH BLACKBOARD. You must check your email every day (I will send announcements and reminders via email) and you should check the course blackboard site every day for announcements and assignment guidelines.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct will be dealt with harshly in accordance with Harpur College policies. The Student Academic Honesty Code can be found at: Any instance of plagiarism will be reported to the honor council. Additionally, you will fail the course.


I am committed to maintaining an accessible digital classroom for all course participants. If you require accommodations, please forward me the official letter stating the accommodations you are owed, and I will implement them.

Other Information:

I will keep a continuously updated “Lexicon” in the “Course Documents” page on blackboard. It will contain explanations of terms that have specific meanings and uses in political philosophy, or philosophy in general. Be sure to let me know if you are confused about any concepts or terms in the readings (or in my reading notes/lectures). I’m happy to explain them, and chances are you aren’t the only person who doesn’t know. I will explain the term and update the lexicon for everyone else to access as well.

All assignments and rubrics will be posted in the “Course Documents” page, as well as in that individual week’s content folder.

Any changes to the syllabus will be announced to the class with at least 5 days notice (I do not expect any syllabus changes).

Final grades are final. No work will be accepted after June 27, 11:59. There will not be opportunities for extra credit. The best way to succeed in the course is to be timely with your reading as well as completion of the assignments. Contact me if you have extenuating circumstances and we can discuss your options.

Schedule of Readings and Assignments:

Week 1: Historical Approaches to Cosmopolitanism

Seneca- Selections from On the Private Life

Kant- “Perpetual Peace” and “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose”

Nussbaum- “Kant and Stoic Cosmopolitanism”

Blog 1 due at Noon, Friday

Week 2-Humanity, Citizenship, and Associative Duties

Peter Singer- “Famine, Affluence and Morality”

David Miller- Selections from On Nationality (Part One of Chapter One “National Identites, and Chapter Two, “The Ethics of Nationality”

Samuel Scheffler- Selections from Boundaries and Allegiances: Problems of Justice and Responsibility in Liberal Thought (Chapters Three and Four-“Families, Nations, and Strangers” and “Liberalism, Nationalism, and Egalitarianism”

Blog 2 due at Noon, Friday

**Papers 1 and 2 are due at 11:59, Friday, JUNE 6*

Week 3- Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Culture

Lea Ypi-“Basic Rights and Cosmopolitan Justice from an Enlightened Localist Perspective”

Kawame Anthony Appiah- “Education for Global Citizenship” and Selections from Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers

Jeremy Waldron “Minority Cultures and the Cosmopolitan Alternative”

Blog 3 due at Noon, Friday

**Revision of Papers 1 and 2 are due at 11:59, Friday, JUNE 13**

Week 4-States and International Relations

John Rawls– Selections from Law of Peoples

Thomas Pogge– Selections from “World Poverty and Human Rights”

Gillian Brock– “Cosmopolitanism versus Noncosmopolitanism: The State of Play” in Monist

Blog 4 due at Noon, Friday.

**Papers 3 and 4 are due at 11:59 on Friday, JUNE 21**

Week 5-Governance, Law, and Economics

Luis Cabrera: Selections from Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State

David Held: Selections from Cosmopolitanism: Ideals, Realities, and Deficits

Robert Went: “Economic Globalization Plus Cosmopolitanism?”

Blog 5 due at NOON, WEDNESDAY

**Revision of Papers 3 and 4 are due at 11:59 on Friday, JUNE 27th**

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