Nicholas Tampio

Oct 5, 2023

Teaching Political Theory

A Pluralistic Approach

Edward Elgar Publishing 2022

Nicholas Tampio, a political theorist at Fordham University, has a new book that focuses on teaching political theory. For many of us who teach political theory, this is another welcome addition to the growing library of texts that are designed to broaden and expand the scope of not only what is taught in political theory courses, but how this vital area of study is conveyed to students, and how students interact with complex and important texts. Tampio explains his thinking about how political theory undergirds our understanding of politics itself and political science as a discipline, thus the book not only discusses how to teach political theory and how to design courses in political theory, but it also makes the case as to why political theory is important and an overarching part of political science as a discipline.

Tampio, in the early section of Teaching Political Theory: A Pluralistic Approach (Edward Elgar, 2022), provides a useful guide to the different kinds of approaches to political theory as a discipline and the different ways that it can be studied and taught. The rest of the book is broken up into two sections, one on designing courses in political theory and more options to be included in a contemporary syllabus. The second section of the book is titled “Teaching Political Theory Today” and Tampio explores different subject matters and foci that open up a discussion of political theory concepts. In our podcast conversation, Tampio explains that he is not trying to prescribe particular texts or a particular way of teaching, so much as exploring avenues of inquiry that have worked for him in his classes over the years, and how he has worked and recrafted his approaches to teaching, especially teaching political theory. Teaching Political Theory: A Pluralistic Approach is an accessible and engaging text that provides a kind of conversation about teaching in general, with a particular focus on how to engage ideas and texts that might seem initially abstract, especially to contemporary undergraduates.

Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-host of the New Books in Political Science channel at the New Books Network. She is co-editor of The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (University Press of Kansas, 2022), as well as co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012). She can be reached @gorenlj.bsky.social

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Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI.

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