Imagining the Body Politic: Constitutional Art and Theory from Antiquity to the Present, HUMS 264a (Fall 2019)
Do visual representations of social and political principles have a peculiar power to produce, reproduce, and disturb social and political relations? To what extent might represented principles, with their contradictions and ambiguities, themselves somehow be pictorial, metaphorical, or figurative? This course is an examination of art and metaphorical thinking in the socio-political realm from Plato through Renaissance republicanism to the modern state.
William Klein studied the history of political thought under Quentin Skinner at Cambridge, and J.G.A. Pocock at Johns Hopkins. After completing his Ph.D., he worked as a carpenter and a free-lance writer and editor for more than a decade. He comes to Yale from NYU, where he taught in the honors program and was chair of Law, Ethics and Religion in Global Liberal Studies. He has published studies on the history of constitutional and political thought from Thucydides to Hobbes, and he recently edited a collection of dialogues held at NYU’s Villa La Pietra, entitled Democracy and Dissent. He is currently completing a study on the history of ideas and imaginings surrounding civil strife.