Political Literature

Why This Class

Politics is the study of power and how it makes people behave—and you want your student to be wary of its potential to inspire both greatness and corruption. Nothing conveys those lessons quite like a story that illustrates power dynamics in action. This course exposes your student to several of the best of those stories.

Mentors in this course guide students through a series of both fictional and real-life accounts of the impact of power on human relationships. Through thoughtful discussions and writing assignments, students investigate the factors that decide who holds power and how it changes hands. They contrast ideology and patriotism and personal conviction versus public duty. In the process, students see themselves reflected in the characters they study and refine their ideas about what it means to be free.

Students emerge from this course with enhanced respect for power—and for the personal and societal constraints that keep it in line. They feel inspired to be mindful stewards of whatever power they may hold.

Overarching Questions

What role does appetite play in determining power?

What is the proper relationship between personal conviction and public duty?

What conflicts exist between political ideology and patriotism?

How does an effective revolution gain followers?

What is the purpose and result of sacrifice?

Reading List for Live Course

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Animal Farm by George Orwell

A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt

Sophocles I by Sophocles

One of Ours by Willa Cather

Reading List for Self-Paced Course

A Man for All Seasons: A Play in Two Acts by Robert Bolt

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

Bridge at Andau: The Compelling True Story of a Brave, Embattled People by James A. Michener

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Course Details

Recommended Grade: 11th (Junior)

Prerequisites: None

Estimated Weekly Hours: 5 (Classic), 7 (Honors)

Format: Live, self-paced

Credits: 0.5