Marek Steedman

This website provides everything you need for political theory classes at USM: from Enheduanna to Charles Mills.  Click the tab above to find full syllabi for the course you are taking.  General resources for political theory can be found on the Resources page.

For general information for students visit the College of Arts and Letters Student Resources page.  Check out the new Student Success Center website!

(image in public domain)
The School of Athens, Raphael (1510-11)
Depicts Plato and Aristotle (center) in conversation, surrounded by other important philosophical figures.

You can read more about the painting, and the figures in it, here.  Or, listen to this podcast from the BBC.

And now for something completely different:

International Philosophy: Greeks vs. Germans

Getting in Touch

For quick questions about the class, email is probably your best bet.  Please use the email address above.  You should us a valid usm.edu email account whenever possible.

For discussions about the material, about political theory in general, or if you are simply confused about something we covered in class, office hours are better than email.  Simply stop by my office (see above) during the hours listed below, or email for an appointment.

Fall office hours: TTH 3:45pm-4:45pm, and by appointment


Each theory course is distinctive, but the general structure is similar for all.  I generally use a mix of lecture and guided discussion – but with the emphasis squarely on discussion.  For this to work, you must have read the assigned text with some care before coming to class.  Some (indeed most) of the readings for these courses are difficult.  You are going to have to read these texts slowly, possibly more than once.  You may still not understand them fully. "With some care" does not mean you read it over quickly a few minutes before class.  It doesn't mean you passed your eyes over the whole thing.  Instead, read through the text once, carefully, trying to figure out what it is saying and how.  Take notes, underline the words or phrases that caught your attention.  Then go back to passages that were difficult, thought provoking, or annoying to see why they seemed so.  Be patient, and budget your time appropriately. 

I will provide background information and starting places for discussion, where necessary, but you should be prepared with your own thoughts and reactions (however provisional).  You will be best prepared if you write them down and bring them to class.


I take plagiarism and other forms of cheating or academic misconduct extremely seriously.  If found to be cheating you may receive a failing grade for the assignment, or for the course as a whole.  General guidelines for papers can be found here, along with a statement on plagiarism.


Cell phones, tablets, and other wireless devices may not be operated during class.  Exceptions will be made where requested through the Office for Disability Accommodations; or, where you have purchased an electronic version of the textbook; or, for those with small children who need to be reached in case of emergency.  Requests must be made within the first full week of class. If you insist I will develop some method for penalizing usage. Laptop computers may be used, but must be restricted to taking notes during class. Use of social media sites, email, messaging apps, and so on, is prohibited during class.