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PLS 3311 -- Ancient and Medieval Political Thought

This course guide will help you locate articles and books for Dr. David Speak's PLS 3311 course assignment on Pre-Renaissance Political Theorists (including Confucius, Plato, Alfarabi, and Medieval Christian writers).


This guide for PLS 3311 will offer some specific ways and locations to search for scholarly/peer-reviewed articles and books in researching your chosen Pre-Renaissance Political Theorist.

Search Strategies

When devising a search strategy for using the library's resources, you can try simply typing your chosen Theorist. For example:

  • Confucius
  • Plato
  • Alfarabi

If you retrieve an unwieldy number of results, try a narrower search by including a phrase with the Theorist' name, such as:

  • Confucius AND "political ethics"
  • Plato AND "political thought"
  • Alfarabi AND "political philosophy"
  • Augustine AND "political theory"

(include the quotation marks; this searches the words as a phrase rather than as separate words)

Name Spelling Variations

Before starting your search, run a quick Google search of your Theorist' name to see if there exist variant spellings. For example, Alfarabi is also known as:

  • Al-Farabi
  • Alfarabius
  • Farabi

So when searching Alfarabi in a library datbase, use this example of a search string, including the "OR"s, to find articles that use any four spelling variations:

Alfarabi OR Al-Farabi OR Alfarbius OR Farabi