UCLA Professor Brian Walker, the voice behind Political Science 10 — Introduction to Political Theory (website) (feed), has an infectious enthusiasm for political theory that makes this course a joy for his listeners. The course surveys the work of two conservative theorists, Aristotle and Confucius, and two liberal theorists, John Stuart Mill and Henry David Thoreau.
In his first lecture, Walker relates the story of his own road-to-Damascus moment, when he decided to study political theory. After growing up as a “nerdy” kid in a working-class family in eastern Canada, he attended college as a pre-law student, but soon grew disenchanted and dropped out. Then, as he was working as a manual laborer, picking apples in the orchards of British Columbia, it came to him that that political theory had the juiciness and conflict of law along with the intellectual rigor that he loved in philosophy. So he hitchhiked back to Montréal, enrolled at McGill University, and began the road that led him to the lecture hall at UCLA.