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The civic republican response to "Liberalism and Its Critics"

Faculty Advisor




citizenship, curriculum, learner outcomes, undergraduate education

Abstract (summary)

Political theory instructors are often familiar with the syllabus themed "Liberalism and its Critics." Liberalism, however, is often narrowly and teleologically defined as the progressive expansion of human freedom. Further, counter or alternative narratives leave students as mere critics without constructive insight into the balance of individualism and cosmopolitanism. With these problematic approaches in mind, this article offers a civic republican viewpoint to supplement the limited approaches in "Liberalism and its Critics." The course proposed by the authors reframes common methodology to include civic republicanism as a parallel and sympathetic intellectual development to liberalism, at times intertwined, and at others anticipating and supplementing its deficiencies. This article first shows the deficiencies of the inadequate narrative/counter-narrative approach and highlights why civic republicanism presents a novel approach to teaching theory. The authors then provide a possible course description with specific learning outcomes, a recommended course structure with suggested readings, and some concluding considerations on implementing such a course.

Publication Information

Mascarenhas, D. M., Barkalow, J. B., Trosky, A., Murphy, G., & Westler, B. (2019). The civic republican response to “Liberalism and Its Critics.” Journal of Political Science Education, 15(4), 535–542.


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