cod. 1010339

Academic year 2021/22
2° year of course - Second semester
- Mario TESINI
Academic discipline
Storia delle dottrine politiche (SPS/02)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Acquire a deeper and more sophisticated knowledge of the origins and the historical development of Western political thought, particularly in relation to the history of Europe and the current debate on the connection between the pluralist experience of Nation-States and the recent development of the european construction.
- This course will help students to understand the main themes and authors of the Western political tradition in the historical contexts where they developed.
- Students are expected to be able to analyze and interpret past and present national and international political scenarios.
- They are also supposed to elaborate an independent critical textual analysis, and to associate different authors to their political thoughts.
- By analyzing political thinkers’ thought on the controversial issues of national and european identities, students will be able to clearly develop critical ideas on the main questions related to modern and contemporary politics.



Course unit content

By focussing on the works of some of the most important Western political thinkers, the course will address the origins and development of the concept of Europe in ancient and modern history. This knowledge will be helpful to understand the political experiences of past epochs and of the contemporary world too. The teaching will follow two lines. On the one hand, it will discuss some of the most relevant historical events that shaped the history of Europe, from ancient times to the modern age. On the other hand, the course will address the works of some of the classic authors in the history of political thought and in the contemporary debate who partcolarly considered the issues of national traditions and european identity. For further information and explanation concerning textbooks, office hours, seminars and tutorial activities (even on specific requests by the students) check 'Metodi didattici' section).

Full programme

The origins of the idea of Europe and subsequent developments; considerations on some of the main concepts of the political european thought: state and sovereignty; civil society; law of nature; rule of law; equality; revolution, social reform; authority and liberty; Constitution; Revolution; representation; democracy and liberty; socialism; liberalism; totalitarianism. The historiographical debate concerning the link between History and Politics in the contemporary european context.


A. Zannini, Storia minima d'Europa. Dal neolitico a oggi, Il Mulino; Europa. Storia di un'idea e di un'identità; Il Mulino.

Teaching methods


Students can make proposals for minor group seminarial discussions focused on the analysis of texts (even in the original version). The relationship between the text and the historical context (by stressing the several institutional, socio-economic and philosophical features) is one of the most prominent aims of this optional teaching activity.
During lectures visual instruments (e.g. instance slides, PPT) are not normally used but constant reference is made to visual sources, which can be easily found online. Students are warmly invited to make use of these suggestions.

Assessment methods and criteria

During the exam students should take into consideration:

a) Mastery of basic elements, factual as well conceptual, concerning the course.

b) Assurance in relating events concepts authors and works to their historical context.

c) Use of a correct and accurate language.

d) A critical (not simply mnemonic) attitude will be greatly appreciated.

Other information

Students particularly interested in the course, especially those who are thinking to write a thesis in the field, but unable to attend, can directly get in touch with the professor.