Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Political Freedom and Oppression: Cinematic Explorations

Instructor: Don Habibi

The theme for this course will be an examination of two major concepts in political philosophy: freedom and oppression. Although these terms are widely used, they are often misunderstood. What is the essence of liberty and liberation? What does it mean to be oppressed and victimized? How can one be imprisoned or enslaved, and at the same time be free? How do these concepts differ in the context of competing political ideologies (i.e., liberalism, communism, and fascism) or economic systems, such as socialism and capitalism? The aim of this course will be to deepen our understanding of these key concepts, ideologies, and economic systems through the study of high quality, artistic motion pictures and seminal philosophic texts.

Among the readings for this course will be classics such as The Communist Manifesto and On Liberty, as well as contemporary texts such as Economic Justice. Among the films we will see will be works by Sergei Eisenstein, Andre Tarkovsky, John Ford, Elia Kazan, Leni Riefenstahl, and Volker Schlöndorff.

Expect to be challenged by 'must-read' books and thought-provoking films that capture both the wondrousness of life and the harshness of the human condition.

Last Update: February 6, 2017