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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2009

GOV 382M • Liberalism and Multiculturalism

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38505 W
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
PAR 301

Course Description

Have contemporary liberal political thinkers successfully resolved the problems of justice posed by racial and cultural diversity or do their answers to such questions point to deeper failures of liberalism as a philosophical tradition to address fundamental problems of modern political life? This course will explore these questions by focusing on debates among contemporary liberal thinkers with respect to the relative importance of collective identity and membership on the one hand, and individual freedom and agency on the other hand. We will focus on the debate between theories of liberal neutrality and liberal defenses of minority group rights that emphasize the centrality of culture and community to individual freedom, as well as paying close attention to critics of liberalism who claim that liberal multiculturalists have failed to resolve the question of how to deal with illiberal cultures and others who argue that the entire project of liberal multiculturalism is ethnocentric and philosophically contradictory. The over-arching aim of the course is to assess the status of contemporary liberalism by focusing on multiculturalismwhich has been one of the principal areas of debate among liberal theorists and their critics in recent years.


Readings will include: John Rawls, Political Liberalism Charles Taylor, The Politics of Recognition Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship Susan Moller-Okin, Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Chandran Kukathas, The Liberal Archipelago Iris Marion Young, Inclusion and Democracy


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