Conservatism: Politics and International Relations of the Right - PO669

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 6 15 (7.5) DR P Cunliffe checkmark-circle


The curriculum is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected by the module convenors to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare at least two thinkers. The module is structured around lectures and seminars.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Reconstruction, 1500 words, 30%
Essay, 3000 words, 60%
Seminar participation, 10%

Indicative reading

Hegel, G.W.F. Elements of Philosophy of Right. Ed. Allen M. Wood. Trans. H.B. Nisbet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Avineri, S. (1972) Hegel's Theory of the Modern State, esp. chs. 5-9
Avineri, S. (1968) 'Hegel revisited', Journal of Contemporary History 3(2),
Dallmayr, F.R. (1993) G.W.F. Hegel: Modernity and Politics
Hardimon, M. O. (1992) 'The project of reconciliation: Hegel's social philosophy', Philosophy and Public Affairs 21(2)
Hardimon, Michael O. (1994) Hegel's Social Philosophy: The Project of Reconciliation, ch. 1
Houlgate, S. (1991) Freedom, Truth and History, ch. 3
Singer, P. (1983) Hegel (Past Masters series), Marcuse, H. (1986) Reason and Revolution: Hegel and The Rise of Social Theory
Taylor, C. (1977) Hegel
Ottman, H. (1984) 'Hegel's Philosophy of Right: changing paradigms for its interpretation', Clio 13(4)
Wood, A. (1990) Hegel's Ethical Thought, introduction
Wood, A. (1993) 'Hegel's ethics', in F.C. Beiser (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Hegel
Westphal, K. (1993) 'The basic context and structure of Hegel's Philosophy of Right', in F.C. Beiser (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Hegel

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
demonstrate an advanced and critical understanding and knowledge of conservative views on the state, the market, society and international relations
demonstrate in-depth first-hand knowledge of some of the key writings of major conservative thinkers
critically engage with the coherence and diversity in the conservative political tradition
demonstrate extensive knowledge of the major debates within the conservative political tradition
understand critically the political, historical, and social context within which conservative thinkers have developed their theories and ideas
demonstrate detailed understanding of some of the major criticisms of conservative politics
demonstrate a rigorous ability to analyse, make use of and criticise the secondary literature on conservative thinkers and their ideas.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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