Truth, Justice, and The Nature of Politics

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
07 February 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L200 Politics,
BA L201 Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA L202 Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L203 Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA L225 Politics and International Relations,
BA L226 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA L227 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
BSC L222 Politics and International Relations,
BSC L223 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L224 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL234 Politics and International Relations,
MPOLL235 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL236 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

We study some fundamental texts in the `Western` tradition of political thought and seek to examine the assumptions underlying these texts as well as the implications they have for us today. We will explore profound themes such as truth, justice, democracy, liberty and equality, and what it is to live `a good life.`

We will take care to locate these texts in their respective historical contexts to better understand them as political acts. That is, these authors were responding to their particular contexts and trying to effect change. Our purpose in engaging with these texts is not to canonize them; rather, it is to understand their contribution to the history of the western world – for better or for worse.

Module aims

The concepts and debates taught in this module constitute the bread and butter issues of politics. Anyone interested in politics and related fields should therefore find the content of value both as a citizen, and across numerous professions, including positions in the law, and with NGOs, think tanks, political parties, and the civil services.

If a student`s specialisation is in empirical political science, the normative study of politics develops students` sense of which empirical questions and topics are morally important and why. Thus, the course is useful for students preparing to undertake postgraduate research in political science.

Module learning outcomes

1. To introduce students to the study of the history of political thought and to stimulate interest in the topic.

2. To familiarise students with key concepts in political theory such as freedom, rights, equality, and with debates that surround these concepts.

3. To equip students with the understanding of the relevance of political theory to the study of politics. These are not esoteric texts; they are profound political acts with current relevance.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

2 hour seminar


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Test 1  14/11/2023  40% 
Coursework   Test 2  12/12/2023  60% 
Coursework   Reassessment without attendance 2022-23 ONLY IF REQUIRED BY EXAM BOARD  28/03/2024   

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Laura Montanaro, email: lmonta@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Laura Montanaro
Module Supervisor: Dr Montanaro, lmonta@essex.ac.uk Module Administrator: Nicola Rowley, govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 40 hours, 34 (85%) hours available to students:
6 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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