Consent (Gen Ed 1138)





How can we recognize the link between ethical acts of consent in personal life (marriage, sexual experience, contracts) and the essential role that citizenship plays in democratic states during both war and peace?


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Elaine Scarry

Consent will be studied in four domains:  Part I-the relation of consent and the body in marriage, in medicine, and in state citizenship; Part II – the act of consent and dissent in war (beginning with the dissent of Achilles in the Iliad and including readings up to the present); Part III – freedom of movement, freedom of entry and exit in citizenship (including contexts where right of movement has been denied); Part IV – consent as the basis of cultural creation. The nature of individual and collective deliberation is at the center of the course throughout.

Readings include: philosophic accounts of consent (Plato, Locke, Rousseau), case law (Plessy v. Ferguson, Pratt v. Davis, Schloendorff  v. Society of New York Hospital), constitutional writings (Federalist Papers 4, 7, 8, 23, 25, 27-29, 41; Madison’s Record of Federal Assembly; Ratification Debates ),  plays (Euripides’ Hecabe, Sophocles’ Philoctetes, five U.S. suffrage plays), poetry (Iliad), films (Philadelphia StoryIt Happened One Night), novels (Tale of Two Cities), and historical narratives ( Thucydides selections, Underground Railroad narratives).

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See also: Ethics & Civics