Democracy Courses at UChicago

Featured course

Democratic Erosion

In Spring 2019, and again in Fall 2020, Professor Susan Stokes taught the innovative cross-university Democratic Erosion course. This course is part of a consortium of nearly 50 institutions that each offer a variation on this course, which teaches students to evaluate threats to democracy in the United States and abroad.

Democratic Erosion was by far one of the best classes I took at the University of Chicago. The combination of hyper-relevant course material, a diversity of interesting readings, and a set of presentations from many of the authors themselves made the experience unforgettable.” —UChicago undergraduate student Justin Saint-Loubert-Bié

2020-21 Courses Related to Democracy

Over the coming months and years, the Democracy Curriculum will embark on a process of reviewing the democracy-focused courses available to UChicago undergraduate students. This process may lead us to the creation of new structures (sequence, cluster, minor, etc.) focusing on democracy; as we are in the beginning of this journey, we don’t yet know what the outcome will be. In the meantime, for the benefit of students, we have compiled the list below of courses that cover various aspects of democracy.

Note that we have listed each course once, rather than repeating cross-listed courses. This list is drawn from on the 2020-21 College catalog. If you are aware of any courses that we have missed, please email Kevin Kromash at kkromash@uchicago.edu.

 

Anthropology

ANTH 29601. Populism and Its Discontents. 100 Units.
Populism and its Discontents is a reading-based undergraduate discussion seminar. Populism is currently the word on everyone’s lips. But what does it mean? We begin with the ambiguous status of populism in current public debates; populism is at once imagined as the lifeblood of genuine democracy and at the same time as the dark force that threatens democracy from within. Why should this be? Questions to be covered include, but are not limited to, the following: Are there progressive and regressive forms of populism? Does populism look different in today’s social media-saturated world than it did a hundred years ago? Does populism in the Global South force us to reconsider what we think we know about its Euro-American variants? Students will be asked to complete assignments drawing on the assigned readings and audiovisual materials and on contemporary media sources.
Instructor(s): William Mazzarella     Terms Offered: Offered Spring 2019; will not be offered in 2020-21.
Prerequisite(s): PQ: 3rd or 4th year standing
Note(s): This is a 3CT Capstone Course
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 28078, HMRT 29601

ANTH 29604. Topics in Critical Theory: Constitutionalism and Rights. 100 Units.
Historicizing and theorizing constitutionalism, rights and the law from the South. Particular empirical focus on South Africa, will also draw on Indian, other African and Latin American material, and think Euro-American genealogies of law and rights from these global Southern locations.
Instructor(s): Kaushik Sunder Rajan     Terms Offered: Autumn. Autumn 2020
Prerequisite(s): 3rd or 4th year standing
Note(s): This is a 3CT Capstone course.
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 29604

 

Cinema and Media Studies

CMST 20904. Media Wars. 100 Units.
Media practices and discourses evoking war or violence are common today, such as the “weaponization” of social media; “cyber warfare” and attacks; “online battlefields;” “guerilla” media tactics; “The Great Meme War” and “Infowars.com,” to name a few. In relationship with terms suggesting that we live in an age of “post-truth” dominated by “fake news” or “fact-challenged” journalism, the media wars of today may seem unique to the twenty-first century. But in fact, the history of the use of media to either combat or spread ideas dates back centuries to the earliest phases of mass media and communication. In this class, we will proceed historically, broadly conceiving of media to include print and visual, cultural, and artistic forms, cinema, television, and the internet. While we will explore how media have historically been used to construct or counter dominant systems of representation, we will also discuss how different media forms function formally, learning to analyze how they construct discourses of truth as texts (documentary; propaganda). This class will also function as a contemporary research laboratory where students will be asked to track, evaluate, and theorize contemporary or historical media that are taking part in a so-called “media war.”
Instructor(s): Jennifer Wild     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Please note: Students who have previously completed the course “Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Media Wars” are not eligible to receive credit for this class.
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 30114, GNSE 20114, SIGN 26061, CMST 30904, MAAD 10904

 

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

CRES 21748. Global Human Rights Literature. 100 Units.
This course surveys key human rights texts (philosophical texts, literary works, and legal documents) of the 20th and 21st centuries. By reading global literatures alongside international human rights instruments, and by treating literature as an archive of ideas that circulate among a literary public invested in human rights, this course explores the importance of art and literature to legal and political projects and provides students with the opportunity to conceptualize the role of narrative for human rights advocacy and human rights imaginaries. We will chart the rise of the global human rights movement, beginning with the 1940s up to our contemporary moment, paying close attention to key human rights issues such as genocide, citizenship, enforced disappearance, detention, apartheid, refugee crises, and mass incarceration. Readings will include works by Anna Seghers, Primo Levi, Hannah Arendt, Jacobo Timerman, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Rigoberta Menchú, Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo, Antije Krog, Dave Eggers, and Albert Woodfox.
Instructor(s): Nory Peters
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 21748, CMLT 21748

CRES 18804. America in the Nineteenth Century. 100 Units.
This lecture course will examine major conflicts that shaped American life during the nineteenth century. Focusing on contemporaries’ attempts to seize upon or challenge the nation’s commitment to the ideals of liberty and equality, we will examine pivotal moments of contestation, compromise, and community building. Central questions that will frame the course include how were notions of freedom negotiated and reshaped? What were the political and socioeconomic conditions that prompted the emergence of reform movements, including antislavery, women’s rights, temperance, and labor? How did individuals mobilize and stake claims on the state? How were the boundaries of American citizenship debated and transformed over the course of the century?
Instructor(s): N. Maor     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to 1st- through 3rd-yr students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 18804, AMER 18804, LLSO 22106, HIST 18804

CRES 27538. Racial Universalisms. 100 Units.
This course will discuss the relationship between race and universalism. At first glance, one might think of their relationship as one of opposition: particularities of race are transcended by claims to universal rights. The universalism of equality, this view would suggest, stands against divisions drawn along racial lines. But closer inspection reveals that the interplay between race and universalism is a more complex one, such that the affirmation “Black Lives Matter” can open up a horizon of universality whereas it is precisely the universalism of “All Lives Matter” that speaks to the violence of white supremacy. What is the relationship between the struggle for black rights and the struggle for universal rights? Can universalism operate by way of race? Could it be that the universal has a color? Or are there counter-hegemonic ways of staging discourses of universality that break the links between universalism and whiteness, such as, for instance, in the universalist claim to self-determination among colonized peoples? Moving from the Haitian Revolution and the politics of anti-colonialism to contemporary debates about “identity politics” and struggles for universal justice, this course will provide an introduction to debates around race and the language of rights. Particular attention will be given to “epistemologies of ignorance,” which have provided theoretical tools to understand the systematic and racialized blinding effects that universalist discourses might entail.
Instructor(s): Niklas Plaetzer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 21538

CRES 27605. United States Legal History. 100 Units.
This course focuses on the connections between law and society in modern America. It explores how legal doctrines and constitutional rules have defined individual rights and social relations in both the public and private spheres. It also examines political struggles that have transformed American law. Topics to be addressed include the meaning of rights; the regulation of property, work, race, and sexual relations; civil disobedience; and legal theory as cultural history. Readings include legal cases, judicial rulings, short stories, and legal and historical scholarship.
Instructor(s): A. Stanley     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 37605, LLSO 28010, HMRT 37605, CRES 37605, HMRT 27061, HIST 37605, AMER 27605, HIST 27605, GNSE 27605

 

East Asian Languages and Civilizations

EALC 24202. Citizenship in China: Concepts, Practices, Dynamics. 100 Units.
How are instances such as the arrest of Gui Minhai, a publisher and Hong Kong business owner who was born in China but has a Swedish passport, in Thailand – apparently by Chinese authorities -, and the large-scale eviction of migrant workers in Beijing due to the lack of residency permits in their own country, related? They raise questions as to how citizenship, i.e. in this case membership in a community, a country/nation state, or a social system is defined and which rights and duties it entails, as well as what are the prerequisites for obtaining and loosing it. In this class we will discuss concepts of citizenship and analyze their representations in modern Chinese society. This includes historical and conceptual-history dimensions and encompasses notions of citizenship that are pertaining to the local, national (incl. empire/civilization), and the global level. Over the course of the semester we will touch upon topics such as forms of inclusion into (and exclusion from) the emerging Chinese ‘welfare’ model (“social citizenship”), political representation and participation (“political citizenship”), law and rights (“legal citizenship”), domestic and international (im)migration, nationalism, and many more. Basic knowledge about Chinese society and politics as well as Chinese reading skills are helpful, but not a strict requirement for participation in this course.
Instructor(s): A. Ahlers     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Knowledge of Chinese helpful but not required.
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 34202

EALC 24508. Human Rights in Japanese History. 100 Units.
This course examines how the modern concept of “rights” and “human rights” localized in Japan and how different parties in Japan have used the language of human rights in attempts to remake Japan’s social, cultural, and legal landscape. We will explore a wide range of topics including the translation of Eurocentric rights talk in East Asia, colonization and decolonization, statelessness and migration, transitional justice and reconciliation, biopolitical rights and bio-citizenship, indigenous rights, and women and gender-specific rights. Throughout the course we pay special attention to the ways in which rights talk and human-rights politics in Japan intertwine with the country’s efforts to modernize and build the “nation within the empire” and, after its defeat in WWII, to close off its “long postwar” and reconcile with its neighbors. This is an introductory course, and no previous knowledge of Japanese history or the international history of human rights is required. However, you should be prepared to read (and watch, browse, and listen to) a wide array of primary and secondary sources that destabilize the most common vocabulary and concepts we take for granted in contemporary human-rights talk such as race, state responsibility, and the very notion of universalism so central to the idea of human rights.
Instructor(s): K. Pan     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 25408, HIST 24508

 

Economics

ECON 28620. Crony Capitalism. 100 Units.
The economic system prevailing in most of the world today differs greatly from the idealist version of free markets generally taught in economic classes. This course analyzes the role played by corporate governance, wealth inequality, regulation, the media, and the political process in general in producing these deviations. It will explain why crony capitalism prevails in most of the world and why it is becoming more entrenched also in the United States of America. The course, which requires only basic knowledge of economics, welcomes undergraduates. Grades will be determined as follows: 40% by the sum of all the homework, 30% by class participation and 30% by the final. Registration for this class concludes at the end of week 1.

 

English Language and Literature

ENGL 17950. The Declaration of Independence. 100 Units.
This course offers an extended investigation of the origins, meanings, and legacies of one of the most consequential documents in world history: the Declaration of Independence. Primary and secondary readings provide a series of philosophical, political, economic, social, religious, literary, and legal perspectives on the text’s sources and meanings; its drafting, circulation, and early reception in the age of the American Revolution; and its changing place in American culture and world politics over nearly 250 years. (1650-1830, 1830-1940) In addition to the noted class times, there will also be discussion sections to be scheduled once the class begins.
Instructor(s): Eric Slauter     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 27950, HMRT 17950, FNDL 27950, SIGN 26039, HIST 17604

ENGL 24545. The Rise of Free Speech: Aesthetics, Politics and Censorship, 1857-2020. 100 Units.
This course will consider a variety of historical debates and controversies surrounding the concept of freedom of speech and expression, from 19th century obscenity law through instances of 20th century political and economic repression and on to the concept’s cooptation by right-wing free market discourse and debates about hate speech in the present. Case studies from 19C-21C literature in English and English-translation. (Fiction, Poetry, 1830-1940, Theory)
Instructor(s): Zach Samalin     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 24545

ENGL 26660. The Rise of the Global New Right. 100 Units.
This course traces the intellectual genealogies of the rise of a Global New Right in relation to the contexts of late capitalist neoliberalism, the fall of the Soviet Union, as well as the rise of social media. The course will explore the intertwining political and intellectual histories of the Russian Eurasianist movement, Hungarian Jobbik, the American Traditional Workers Party, the French GRECE, Greek Golden Dawn, and others through their published essays, blogs, vlogs and social media. Perhaps most importantly, the course asks: can we use f-word (fascism) to describe this problem? In order to pose this question we will explore the aesthetic concerns of the New Right in relation to postmodern theory, and the affective politics of nationalism. This course thus frames the rise of a global new right interdisciplinary and comparatively as a historical, geopolitical and aesthetic problem.
Instructor(s): Leah Feldman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 26660, ENGL 36661, REES 26660, REES 36661, CRES 36660, SIGN 26050, CRES 26660, CMLT 36660

 

History

HIST 18101. Democracy in America? 100 Units.
This course will explore the unlikely career of democracy in US history. Throughout its past, the United States has been defined by endless and unpredictable struggles to establish and extend self-government of one kind or another-even as those struggles have encountered great resistance and relied on the exclusion or subordination of some portion of society to underwrite expanding freedom and equality for those enjoying the fullest benefits of citizenship. American democracy has also relied on a conceptual separation between state and society that has necessarily broken down in practice, as political institutions produced and sustained economic forms like slavery or the corporation, social arrangements like the family, and cultural values such as freedom-even as private interests worked their reciprocal influence over public institutions. Over the course of the quarter we will explore this contested history of democracy in America through a close reading of classic texts, including Tocqueville’s famous study, contextualized by the most current historical scholarship. Small, incremental writing assignments and individual presentations will culminate in a final essay that can emphasize philosophical/theoretical or historical/empirical questions according to students’ interests. Students will also have the option of conducting their own original research to satisfy some portion of the coursework, which may lead to subsequent internship opportunities with relevant faculty.
Instructor(s): J. Sparrow     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): History in the World courses use history as a valuable tool to help students critically exam our society, culture, and politics. Preference given to 1st- and 2nd-yr students.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28101

HIST 18901. Inequality, Politics, and Government in US History. 100 Units.
This class explores the relationship between social inequality and political democracy in US history. How have American political institutions dealt with and reflected the contradictions of “all men are created equal”? What is the meaning of political citizenship in a socially stratified society? How have social movements and conflicts shaped the institutions of state and the meaning of citizenship? The class touches on slavery and freedom; land and colonialism; racial discrimination; labor relations; gender and sexuality; social welfare policy; taxation and regulation; urban development; immigration; policing and incarceration. Assignments: One primary document analysis (2-3 pages), one secondary reading paper (3-5 pages), and a final paper analyzing a particular political movement, conflict, or policy (10-12 pages).
Instructor(s): G. Winant     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): History in the World courses use history as a valuable tool to help students critically exam our society, culture, and politics. Preference given to 1st- and 2nd-yr students.
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 18901, LLSO 18901, GNSE 18901, CRES 18901

HIST 20507. The Idea of Freedom in Antiquity. 100 Units.
Freedom may be the greatest of American values. But it also has a long history, a dizzying variety of meanings, and a huge literature. This course will be an introduction to critical thinking on freedom (primarily political freedom) with an emphasis on Greco-Roman texts. The first half of the class will focus on Greek authors, including Herodotus, Euripides, and Aristotle. The second half will focus on Roman authors, from Cicero to Livy to Tacitus. The ancient texts will be supplemented by modern literature on freedom, such as John Stuart Mill and Isaiah Berlin.
Instructor(s): A. Horne     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 24319, LLSO 24319, HIST 30507, CLAS 34319

HIST 23517. The Authoritarian Personality: History and Theory. 100 Units.
Can you pick a fascist out of a crowd? Can crowds turn ordinary people into authoritarian zombies? This course offers an overview of the development of psychological research into authoritarianism. Our inquiry will unfold in three stages. Part I (Weeks 1-3) examines the emergence of the authoritarian personality – in rumor and reality – in interwar Europe. Part II (4-7) looks at texts that prepared the ground for Adorno’s infamous Authoritarian Personality (1950). Part III (7-10) deals with the search for anti-authoritarian personalities and scholars updating this research to respond to contemporary political developments.
Instructor(s): David Gutherz     Terms Offered: Winter. This course will be taught winter 2020
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 20667

HIST 26409. Revolution, Dictatorship, & Violence in Modern Latin America. 100 Units.
This course will examine the role played by Marxist revolutions, revolutionary movements, and the right-wing dictatorships that have opposed them in shaping Latin American societies and political cultures since the end of World War II. Themes examined will include the relationship among Marxism, revolution, and nation building; the importance of charismatic leaders and icons; the popular authenticity and social content of Latin American revolutions; the role of foreign influences and interventions; the links between revolution and dictatorship; and the lasting legacies of political violence and military rule. Countries examined will include Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Mexico. Assignments: Weekly reading, a midterm exam or paper, a final paper, participation in discussion, and weekly responses or quizzes.
Instructor(s): B. Fischer     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Some background in Latin American studies or Cold War history useful.
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 36409, LACS 36409, LACS 26409, LLSO 26409

HIST 29632. History Colloquium: The CIA and American Democracy. 100 Units.
This colloquium will examine all aspects of American intelligence and its influence on history, politics, society, and academe since the inception of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Particular attention will be paid to how intelligence is gathered and interpreted, intelligence failures and why they happened, the close association between top Ivy League universities and origins of US intelligence, the penetration of the early Central Intelligence Agency by British individuals spying for the Soviets, the wide influence of the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s on major aspects of American life, the crisis of US intelligence in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, the revival of intelligence vigor in the 1980s, and the uses and misuses of intelligence in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assignments: Six or seven books during the course of the colloquium, a few films outside of class time, a paper of roughly fifteen pages in the seventh week of the term, and a final exam (a mix of essay questions with questions on the reading). Outstanding participation in colloquium will merit an increment in the final grade, which otherwise will be determined equally by the outside paper and final exam.
Instructor(s): B. Cumings     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Priority registration is given to History majors.

 

Human Rights

HMRT 21001. Human Rights: Contemporary Issues. 100 Units.
This course examines basic human rights norms and concepts and selected contemporary human rights problems from across the globe, including human rights implications of the COVID pandemic. Beginning with an overview of the present crises and significant actors on the world stage, we will then examine the political setting for the United Nations’ approval of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. The post-World War 2 period was a period of optimism and fertile ground for the establishment of a universal rights regime, given the defeat of fascism in Europe. International jurists wanted to establish a framework of rights that went beyond the nation-state, taking into consideration the partitions of India-Pakistan and Israel-Palestine – and the rising expectations of African-Americans in the U.S. and colonized peoples across Africa and Asia. But from the beginning, there were basic contradictions in a system of rights promulgated by representatives of nation-states that ruled colonial regimes, maintained de facto and de jure systems of racial discrimination, and imprisoned political dissidents and journalists. Cross-cutting themes of the course include the universalism of human rights, problems of impunity and accountability, notions of “exceptionalism,” and the emerging issue of the “shamelessness” of authoritarian regimes. Students will research a human rights topic of their choosing, to be presented as either a final research paper or a group presentation.
Instructor(s): Susan Gzesh, Senior Lecturer, (The College)     Terms Offered: Autumn Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 29304, LACS 21001, SOSC 21001, LLSO 21001

HMRT 21002. Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations. 100 Units.
Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture and genocide. (A) (I)
Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 42002, HIST 39319, PHIL 21002, HIST 29319, LLSO 21002, PHIL 31002, INRE 31602, HMRT 31002

HMRT 21005. Militant Democracy and the Preventative State. 100 Units.
Are states of exception still exceptional? The current debates and developments as well as the existential governmental crises has led to a securitization of rights. State security discourse narrates how states understand and mediate their legal obligations and has been used justify pre-emptive actions and measures which otherwise would not fit within an international law framework. When narrated in the public square, States often construct a discourse around a necessity defence-measures that may be extra-legal but argued to be necessary to protect democratic values and the democratic ‘way of life.’ This typifies what we refer to as ‘militant democratic’ language of the ‘preventive state’ and has been most visible in the raft of antiterrorism measures that were introduced after the events of September 11, 2001 and remain to date. This course will examine the impact of militant democracy and the preventative state on the current human rights landscape. It will look specifically how the narrative of prevention and protection has impacted normative changes to fundamental human rights and how the permanence of emergency is beginning to give the concept of ‘securitization of rights’ legal legs.
Instructor(s): Kathleen Cavanaugh, Senior Lecturer, Pozen Center for Human Rights     Terms Offered: Autumn

HMRT 22304. Constitutional Rights to Liberty and Procedural Due Process in Chicago. 100 Units.
This seminar builds toward the draft of a viable research project on how constitutional rights to liberty and procedural due process have been historically applied (or ignored) in Chicago. Over ten weeks, you will learn how the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution relate to local law enforcement practice. Today, debate is fierce as to whether, and to what extent, these procedural rights are upheld or ignored in criminal law enforcement at the local level. You will be expected to join this debate in your own Chicago-focused research projects.
Instructor(s): Kyla Bourne, Graduate Lecturer, Pozen Center for Human Rights     Terms Offered: Autumn

 

Law, Letters, and Society

LLSO 18901. Inequality, Politics, and Government in US History. 100 Units.
This class explores the relationship between social inequality and political democracy in US history. How have American political institutions dealt with and reflected the contradictions of “all men are created equal”? What is the meaning of political citizenship in a socially stratified society? How have social movements and conflicts shaped the institutions of state and the meaning of citizenship? The class touches on slavery and freedom; land and colonialism; racial discrimination; labor relations; gender and sexuality; social welfare policy; taxation and regulation; urban development; immigration; policing and incarceration. Assignments: One primary document analysis (2-3 pages), one secondary reading paper (3-5 pages), and a final paper analyzing a particular political movement, conflict, or policy (10-12 pages).
Instructor(s): G. Winant     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): History in the World courses use history as a valuable tool to help students critically exam our society, culture, and politics. Preference given to 1st- and 2nd-yr students.
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 18901, GNSE 18901, CRES 18901, HIST 18901

LLSO 22403. Free Speech and the First Amendment. 100 Units.
This course will examine the Supreme Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence, focusing on such issues as speech critical of the government, the hostile audience, classified information, libel, commercial advertising, obscenity, symbolic expression, campaign finance regulation and the freedom of the press
Instructor(s): Geoffrey Stone     Terms Offered: TBD

LLSO 22710. Electoral Politics In America. 100 Units.
This course explores the interactions of voters, candidates, the parties, and the media in American national elections, chiefly in the campaign for the presidency, both in nominating primaries and in the November general election. The course will examine how voters learn about candidates, how they perceive candidates, how they come to turn out to vote, and how they decide among the candidates. It will examine the strategies and techniques of electoral campaigns, including the choices of campaign themes and the impact of campaign advertising. It will consider the role of campaign contributors and volunteers, the party campaign organizations, campaign and media polls, and the press. Finally, it will assess the impact of campaigns and elections on governing and policymaking.
Instructor(s): M. Hansen     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 22710, PLSC 22710, AMER 22710

LLSO 26509. Law and Citizenship in Latin America. 100 Units.
This course will examine law and citizenship in Latin America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. We will explore the development of Latin American legal systems in both theory and practice, examine the ways in which the operation of these systems has shaped the nature of citizenship in the region, discuss the relationship between legal and other inequalities, and analyze how legal documents and practices have been studied by scholars in order to gain insight into questions of culture, nationalism, violence, inequality, gender, and race.
Instructor(s): B. Fischer Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Some background in either Latin American studies or legal history.
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 26509, LACS 26509, LACS 36509, HIST 36509

LLSO 26615. Democracy’s Life and Death. 100 Units.
How are democracies established and maintained? What are their advantages and disadvantages with respect to stability, security, liberty, equality, and justice? Why do democracies decline and die? This course addresses these questions by examining democracies, republics, and popular governments in Ancient and Medieval/Renaissance Europe. We will read and discuss primary texts from, and social scientific analyses of, Athenian democracy, the Roman Republic, and the Florentine commune.
Instructor(s): J. McCormick, D. Kasimis     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 26615

LLSO 26802. Public Opinion. 100 Units.
What is the relationship between the mass citizenry and government in the U.S.? Does the public meet the conditions for a functioning democratic polity? This course considers the origins of mass opinion about politics and public policy, including the role of core values and beliefs, information, expectations about political actors, the mass media, economic self-interest, and racial attitudes. This course also examines problems of political representation, from the level of political elites communicating with constituents, and from the possibility of aggregate representation.
Instructor(s): J. Brehm     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22400, CRES 22400

LLSO 27101. Democracy and the Information Technology Revolution. 100 Units.
The revolution in information technologies has serious implications for democratic societies. We concentrate, though not exclusively, on the United States. We look at which populations have the most access to technology-based information sources (the digital divide), and how individual and group identities are being forged online. We ask how is the responsiveness of government being affected, and how representative is the online community. Severe conflict over the tension between national security and individual privacy rights in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Ireland will be explored as well. We analyze both modern works (such as those by Turkle and Gilder) and the work of modern democratic theorists (such as Habermas).
Instructor(s): M. Dawson     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 23100

LLSO 27606. American Revolutions. 100 Units.
In 1750, “British America” was a diverse and fractious collection of colonies huddled along the eastern seaboard, on the margins of the churning waters of the Atlantic world. Forty years later, thirteen of those remote American settlements had become, through rebellion and war, into a revolutionary nation. The traumatic passage of this transformation established the world’s first modern republic and set in motion an age of democratic revolutions that reverberated in Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and western North America. This course explores this remarkable epoch in early American history. Topics include the first global military struggle (the Seven Years War); the transformation from scattered urban riots against taxes into a rebellion against the world’s strongest imperial power; the everyday experience of occupation, insurgency, and civil war; Black and Native American struggles for independence; experiments in women’s rights, radical democracy, and religious freedom; the fragility of the new union and the ragged road toward a federal nation-state; and the revolutionary idealism that inspired revolutions in France, Haiti, and the Americas, with consequences that shaped the early United States and all its diverse peoples. Grades will be based on three short papers and one final paper. This lecture course is open to non-History majors and does not presume any previous history coursework.
Instructor(s): M. Kruer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to 1st- through 3rd-yr students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 17606, AMER 17606, HIST 17606

LLSO 28050. The American Constitution. 100 Units.
This is a survey of the main themes of the American Constitution-popular sovereignty, separation of powers, federalism, and rights-and of the basic techniques of constitutional interpretation. The course introduces the history and doctrines of American constitutional law primarily through the analysis of cases.
Instructor(s): David Lebow     Terms Offered: Winter

LLSO 29030. Totalitarianism, Law and Revolution. 100 Units.
In the final chapter of her seminal The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt argued that, far from being a lawless form of government, totalitarianism is an attempt to impose some notion of ultimate law directly on the world, with no mediation through positive law and no regard for the lived particularity of human communities. In this course we will examine some seminal attempts at theorizing about totalitarianism, as well as primary sources and some secondary sources on the history of totalitarian movements, all with an eye toward understanding what relationship totalitarianism bears both to forms of legality and to attempts at overturning prior legal, social, and political regimes.
Instructor(s): David Lyons     Terms Offered: Not offered in 2020-21
Prerequisite(s): None

LLSO 29071. Great Books of the Founding Fathers: Revolution and Constitution. 100 Units.
In contemporary arguments about the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, participants often make claims about what the Framers of the Constitution and their opponents thought and said about topics like the powers of Congress and the President, the strengths and weaknesses of federalism, and the role of the judiciary in a republican form of government. This course will seek to provide students with the means of evaluating the strengths of such claims. To that end, we will examine the emergence of the U.S. Constitution in three phases. First, we will look at discussions of liberty and self-government in the imperial crisis of the 1760s and 1770s that led to the American Revolution. Second, we will look at the concerns that animated the calling of what became the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and read Madison’s Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention. Third, we will look at the debates over ratification of the Constitution between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.
Instructor(s): David P. Lyons     Terms Offered: Spring

 

Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse

PARR 16600. Political Rhetoric: Presidential Inauguration, Transition, and Legislation. 100 Units.
Presidential transitions provide unique and particularly robust moments for ritual, transition, and potential transformation on policies and politics. Through the lens of rhetorical theory on inaugurations, political communication, and transition, this course will examine the beginning of the Biden Presidency. Students will examine inaugural addresses, symbolic rituals, speeches, legislative agenda, and executive orders and directions executed in the first few weeks of the new administration. Course readings and discussions will review and synthesize relevant theory in relationship to emerging discourse, events, and proposals. In assignments, student will utilize theory to analyze and critique discourse and legislative and political developments.
Instructor(s): L. Brammer     Terms Offered: Winter

 

Political Science

PLSC 20405. After Multiculturalism: Social Plurality, Democratic Citizenship, and Globalization. 100 Units.
This seminar examines challenges to multiculturalist approaches for addressing issues of deep diversity and inequality in the global era. We will inquire into contemporary social and political movements (such as Indigenous resurgence, Black Lives Matter, rights for migrants) from a plurality of perspectives, including intersectionality and comparative approaches to political theory. As such, these group-led movements will be approached not merely as objects of study, but as grounds from which to theorize democratic politics more broadly. Our overarching question will be: has the political grammar of multiculturalism facilitated meaningful social integration (without assimilation), democratic participation and political transformation?
Instructor(s): D. Heiberg     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 22505. Knowledge and Politics. 100 Units.
What is the relationship between knowledge and power, and between science and democracy? What kinds of knowledge are needed in politics, and who needs to know what? In this course we read a number of philosophers, theorists, and social scientists interested in the relationship between knowledge and politics. Topics covered may include: the epistemic properties of political institutions and markets; the role of expertise in politics; values in science and public policy; and theories of epistemic democracy and epistemic injustice. (A)
Instructor(s): M. Landauer     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 26603. Democracy and the Immigrant in Classical Greek Thought. 100 Units.
Readers have long marveled at classical Greek thought’s ability to capture the enduring dilemmas of democratic life. But on the increasingly urgent issue of immigration, political scientists persistently bypass the Athenian democratic polis and its critics even though Athenians lived in a democracy that invited, but kept disenfranchised, a large number of free, integrated immigrants called “metics” (metoikoi). With this curiosity in mind, we seek to understand how ancient philosophers, dramatists, and orators saw the democracy’s dependence on immigrants to support its economy, fight its wars, educate its citizenry, and express a precarious way of living in the polis. On what grounds were metics excluded from citizenship? What do critics think citizenship comes to mean under such conditions? Can they shed new light on contemporary assumptions about the relationship between democracy and immigration? Readings of primary texts in translation will be paired with contemporary political theory, gender theory, and classical studies.
Instructor(s): D. Kasimis     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 26603

PLSC 28405. Democratic Erosion. 100 Units.
Until recently, democracies died dramatic deaths. Tanks rolled out, politicians were arrested, a free press was suddenly closed. In recent years, the coup d’état is being replaced by slower and less easily identified challenges to democratic governance. The attacks often arise from within, as elected leaders chip away at democratic institutions and norms. What are the causes of the erosion of democracy? What are the early warning signs, and can it be reversed? This course, which is being taught in tandem among 35 universities across the U.S. and several abroad, delves deeply into these themes. It offers students opportunities to write policy briefings and to blog about challenges to democracy in the world today.
Instructor(s): S. Stokes     Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 28605. Challenges to Democracy. 100 Units.
Challenges of Democracy grapples with the possibilities of, and challenges to, democratic government in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The quarter will begin with the debates over national self-determination and the possibility of democracy that proliferated in the decades from the First through the Second World War. Students will consider the normative case made for rights to self-determination (celebrated by figures such as Woodrow Wilson but recognized as a threat to class-based revolution by Rosa Luxemburg) as well as arguments by those skeptical of the possibility or desirability of a more inclusive and participatory democratic regime. Key readings for the first weeks of class will include arguments that identify the dangers in defining the demos or people in ways that enable despotism or even genocide.
Instructor(s): L. Clemens, S. Stokes      Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 28765. The Politics of Authoritarian Regimes. 100 Units.
This course provides an overview of topics related to politics in authoritarian regimes. We begin by introducing the concept of authoritarianism: how it differs from democracy and how authoritarian regimes differ from each other. We then investigate the tools authoritarian rulers employ to maintain power, including institutions, policies, and tactics, and we examine the effects and side effects of these tools. Finally, we study transitions of power and of institutions, both on the way out of authoritarianism (democratization) and on the way in (democratic backsliding). Students who take this course will acquire a broad understanding of authoritarian politics and how it is covered in the literature.
Instructor(s): Scott Gehlbach; Zhaotian Luo     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s):
Note(s): Prior recommended coursework for undergraduates: one semester in Statistics (Stats 220 or equivalent) and current or prior training in game theory (PBPL 222, Social Science Inquiry core, or equivalent). Prior recommended coursework for graduate students: one semester of statistics and current or prior training in game theory.
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 28765, PPHA 38765, PLSC 38765

 

Psychology

PSYC 26020. Habits of a Free Mind: Psychology for Democracy. 100 Units.
Are we capable of engaging across lines of difference without feeling traumatized and without dehumanizing? How can we navigate “cancel culture” in which a misinterpreted word, heterodox views, or guilt-by-association can result in ostracization on college campuses, mobbing on social media, and retractions and redactions of published works? Texts will include The Coddling of the American Mind, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder, and a variety of short readings in philosophy, poetry, social science, theatre, and historical and contemporary essays. You will begin by identifying why being a free thinker matters to you. Then, through in-class exercises, experiential assignments, and an emphasis on playfulness, you will spend the quarter developing and practicing mental and interpersonal habits designed to increase your capacity to tolerate discomfort, expand your facility with civil dialogue and productive disagreement, and strengthen your ability to make a difference in an area that matters to you. At its core, this course is about what it means to be human. You must be willing to engage in authentic critical self-examination, abide by an unfamiliar set of class rules and norms, experience psychological discomfort, and be playful.
Instructor(s): Pamela Paresky     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOSC 26020, HIPS 26020, KNOW 26020

 

Public Policy

PBPL 28871. Constitutional Law. 100 Units.
This course is an introduction to American constitutional law. Topics include: the role of the judiciary and other institutions in interpreting and applying the Constitution of the United States; theories of constitutional interpretation; the practice and meaning of judicial review in a political democracy; structural and individual rights approaches to constitutional limitations on government authority; and the public-private distinction in constitutional law.
Instructor(s): D. Spencer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Third or fourth year standing required

 

Sociology

SOCI 20106. Political Sociology. 100 Units.
This course provides analytical perspectives on citizen preference theory, public choice, group theory, bureaucrats and state-centered theory, coalition theory, elite theories, and political culture. These competing analytical perspectives are assessed in considering middle-range theories and empirical studies on central themes of political sociology. Local, national, and cross-national analyses are explored. The course covers readings for the Sociology Ph.D. Prelim exam in political sociology.
Instructor(s): T. Clark Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Completion of the general education requirement in the social sciences
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 23500, SOCI 30106, PBPL 23600

SOCI 20280. The Politics of Popular Sovereignty: Participation and Protest. 100 Units.
If government is of, by and for the people, what kinds of politics are possible? Certainly, politics will operate through established institutions such as elections and legislatures. But popular politics may also take other forms: petitions, social movements, protest in the streets, and cultural critique. These efforts often fail, sometimes dramatically, but they have also contributed to major social change including the abolition of slavery, the expansion of rights, and demands for new understandings of justice. This course will explore the history of popular politics within democratizing societies, the development of new forms of collective mobilization and technologies of political influence, and the changing relation of popular politics to formal political institutions.
Instructor(s): E. Clemens Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 20280

SOCI 20512. Constructing a Global Civil Society. 100 Units.
The concepts of democracy, civil society, and human rights have become a part of our shared “world culture” with implications for how citizens interact with governments around the world. While these ideals are ubiquitous, however, they are mobilized in very different ways at the local level. This course challenges students to think about implications of applying the international culture of human rights and civil society to non-Western countries. The course will explore the development of civil society of democratizing and semi-authoritarian regimes, and the international pressures that shape its structure and influence at the local level. Students will develop a foundational understanding of theories of civil society and their relationship to social change, while recognizing both the benefits and countries derive from international narratives and the complexity that comes with such applications.
Instructor(s): N. Gonzalez     Terms Offered: Spring

2019-20 Courses Related to Democracy

 

Anthropology

ANTH 29601. Populism and Its Discontents. 100 Units.
Populism and its Discontents is a reading-based undergraduate discussion seminar. Populism is currently the word on everyone’s lips. But what does it mean? We begin with the ambiguous status of populism in current public debates; populism is at once imagined as the lifeblood of genuine democracy and at the same time as the dark force that threatens democracy from within. Why should this be? Questions to be covered include, but are not limited to, the following: Are there progressive and regressive forms of populism? Does populism look different in today’s social media-saturated world than it did a hundred years ago? Does populism in the Global South force us to reconsider what we think we know about its Euro-American variants? Students will be asked to complete assignments drawing on the assigned readings and audiovisual materials and on contemporary media sources.
Instructor(s): William Mazzarella     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PQ: 3rd or 4th year standing
Note(s): This is a 3CT Capstone Course
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 29601, SOCI 28078

 

Classical Studies

CLCV 24319. The Idea of Freedom in Antiquity. 100 Units.
Freedom may be the greatest of American values. But it also has a long history, a dizzying variety of meanings, and a huge literature. This course will be an introduction to critical thinking on freedom (primarily political freedom) with an emphasis on Greco-Roman texts. The first half of the class will focus on Greek authors, including Herodotus, Euripides, and Aristotle. The second half will focus on Roman authors, from Cicero to Livy to Tacitus. The ancient texts will be supplemented by modern literature on freedom, such as John Stuart Mill and Isaiah Berlin.
Instructor(s): A. Horne     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 30507, CLAS 34319, HIST 20507, LLSO 24319

CLCV 25808. Roman Law. 100 Units.
The course will treat several problems arising in the historical development of Roman law: the history of procedure; the rise and accommodation of multiple sources of law, including the emperor; the dispersal of the Roman community from the environs of Rome to the wider Mediterranean world; and developments in the law of persons. We will discuss problems like the relationship between religion and law from the archaic city to the Christian empire, and between the law of Rome and the legal systems of its subject communities.
Instructor(s): C. Ando     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 21212, HIST 21004, HIST 31004, SIGN 26017, CLAS 35808

 

Comparative Literature

CMLT 26660. The Rise of the Global New Right. 100 Units.
This course traces the intellectual genealogies of the rise of a Global New Right in relation to the contexts of late capitalist neoliberalism, the fall of the Soviet Union, as well as the rise of social media. The course will explore the intertwining political and intellectual histories of the Russian Eurasianist movement, Hungarian Jobbik, the American Traditional Workers Party, the French GRECE, Greek Golden Dawn, and others through their published essays, blogs, vlogs and social media. Perhaps most importantly, the course asks: can we use f-word (fascism) to describe this problem? In order to pose this question we will explore the aesthetic concerns of the New Right in relation to postmodern theory, and the affective politics of nationalism. This course thus frames the rise of a global new right interdisciplinary and comparatively as a historical, geopolitical and aesthetic problem.
Instructor(s): Leah Feldman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 36660, REES 36661, CRES 26660, ENGL 36661, CMLT 36660, ENGL 26660, REES 26660, SIGN 26050

 

History

HIST 18101. Democracy in America? 100 Units.
This course will explore the unlikely career of democracy in US history. Throughout its past, the United States has been defined by endless and unpredictable struggles to establish and extend self-government of one kind or another-even as those struggles have encountered great resistance and relied on the exclusion or subordination of some portion of society to underwrite expanding freedom and equality for those enjoying the fullest benefits of citizenship. American democracy has also relied on a conceptual separation between state and society that has necessarily broken down in practice, as political institutions produced and sustained economic forms like slavery or the corporation, social arrangements like the family, and cultural values such as freedom-even as private interests worked their reciprocal influence over public institutions. Over the course of the quarter we will explore this contested history of democracy in America through a close reading of classic texts, including Tocqueville’s famous study, contextualized by the most current historical scholarship. Small, incremental writing assignments and individual presentations will culminate in a final essay that can emphasize philosophical/theoretical or historical/empirical questions according to students’ interests. Students will also have the option of conducting their own original research to satisfy some portion of the coursework, which may lead to subsequent internship opportunities with relevant faculty.
Instructor(s): J. Sparrow     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): History in the World courses use history as a valuable tool to help students critically exam our society, culture, and politics. Preference given to 1st- and 2nd-yr students.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28101

HIST 23517. The Authoritarian Personality: History and Theory. 100 Units.
Can you pick a fascist out of a crowd? Can crowds turn ordinary people into authoritarian zombies? This course offers an overview of the development of psychological research into authoritarianism. Our inquiry will unfold in three stages. Part I (Weeks 1-3) examines the emergence of the authoritarian personality – in rumor and reality – in interwar Europe. Part II (4-7) looks at texts that prepared the ground for Adorno’s infamous Authoritarian Personality (1950). Part III (7-10) deals with the search for anti-authoritarian personalities and scholars updating this research to respond to contemporary political developments.
Instructor(s): David Gutherz     Terms Offered: Winter. This course will be taught winter 2020
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 20667

HIST 25300. American Revolution, 1763 to 1789. 100 Units.
This lecture and discussion course explores the background of the American Revolution and the problem of organizing a new nation. The first half of the course uses the theory of revolutionary stages to organize a framework for the events of the 1760s and 1770s, and the second half of the course examines the period of constitution making (1776-1789) for evidence on the ways in which the Revolution was truly revolutionary.
Instructor(s): E. Cook     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 20601, HIST 35300

HIST 28204. The Civil War and the Transformation of American Democracy. 100 Units.
The Civil War announced the dramatic failure of American constitutional democracy to resolve or avoid a fundamental conflict over slavery. The costly achievements of the war, however, only replaced one inescapable problem with another: namely, how to incorporate the results of an abrupt, catastrophically violent assertion of military force into an enduring political regime that remained true to the ideal of free government. A national commitment to equal rights established, but did not resolve, the problem of how to transform a society of slaves and conquered belligerents into equal citizens in a constitutional democracy. It is misleading to separate the abstract and practical dimensions of this essential problem. The moral principles at stake in the conflict ultimately depended on salvaging a bitterly divided nation from the abyss into which it had plunged. In this course, we will examine the history of the Civil War era through the dynamic controversies of high politics, as an entirely new conception of the American Republic emerged from the failure of the old.
Instructor(s): A. Rowe     Terms Offered: Spring

 

Human Rights

HMRT 21001. Human Rights: Contemporary Issues. 100 Units.
This interdisciplinary course presents an overview of several major contemporary human rights problems as a means to explore the use of human rights norms and mechanisms. The course addresses the roles of states, inter-governmental bodies, national courts, civil society actors including NGOs, victims, and their families, and other non-state actors. Topics are likely to include universalism, enforceability of human rights norms, the prohibition against torture, U.S. exceptionalism, and the rights of women, racial minorities, and non-citizens.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 21001, HMRT 31001, LLSO 21001, HIST 29304

HMRT 21002. Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations. 100 Units.
Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture and genocide. (A) (I)
Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 21002, HIST 39319, PHIL 31002, HIST 29319, HMRT 31002, INRE 31602, MAPH 42002, PHIL 21002

 

Law, Letters, and Society

LLSO 22403. Free Speech and the First Amendment. 100 Units.
This course will examine the Supreme Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence, focusing on such issues as speech critical of the government, the hostile audience, classified information, libel, commercial advertising, obscenity, symbolic expression, campaign finance regulation and the freedom of the press
Instructor(s): Geoffrey Stone     Terms Offered: Not Offered in 2019-20

LLSO 22612. Introduction to Political Philosophy. 100 Units.
In this class we will investigate what it is for a society to be just. In what sense are the members of a just society equal? What freedoms does a just society protect? Must a just society be a democracy? What economic arrangements are compatible with justice? In the second portion of the class we will consider one pressing injustice in our society in light of our previous philosophical conclusions. Possible candidates include, but are not limited to, racial inequality, economic inequality, and gender hierarchy. Here our goal will be to combine our philosophical theories with empirical evidence in order to identify, diagnose, and effectively respond to actual injustice. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22600, GNSE 21601, PHIL 21600

LLSO 23420. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States, 1865-Present. 100 Units.
This class examines the history of the African American Freedom Struggle in the United States from emancipation to the present. Although the course will move chronologically, our emphasis will be thematic, covering such topics as voting rights and political participation, sex and marriage rights, criminal justice reform, the role of courts, and the relationship between law and social movements. A series of research papers will be required for this class (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.
Instructor(s): Jane Dailey     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): None

 

Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse

PARR 15000. Political Rhetoric: Speeches, Campaigns, and Protests. 100 Units.
By critically examining historical and contemporary political discourse the class will attempt to elucidate how symbolic action creates meaning and shapes political positions as well as policy decisions. Utilizing rhetorical theory, students will analyze oral, written, and digital public communication aimed at influencing social, political, legal, and religious issues and institutions. It will explore topics such as the role of power and identity in political communication, the ethical dimension of public discourse, and the concept of a free and open public sphere. Through readings, discussions, case studies, and analytical assignments, students will learn to critically examine as well as to produce effective public discourse.
Instructor(s): L. Brammer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 20199, ENGL 15005

 

Political Science

PLSC 21116. Elites and 20th Century Democratic Theory. 100 Units.
Contemporary populism has reinvigorated debate about the role of elites in modern democratic life. The Occupy Movement’s slogan of the 1%, to Brexit, Trump’s election and the rise of populist leaders in Europe, the relationship of elites-whether financial, social, or political-to representative institutions has been forcefully brought back onto the political agenda. How can the fact that a small number of people wield disproportionate power in the economic, social or indeed political world be reconciled with democracy understood as political equality? This course delves into the history of political thought to see how authors in the past century have conceptualized the relationship of elites and democracy. Beginning with the so-called ‘elite theorists of democracy’ – Gaetano Mosca, Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels – who were the first to theorize the elite class within modern democratic institutional arrangements, we will explore how their thought impacted the development of democratic theory both in Europe and the US through figures such as Max Weber, Joseph Schumpeter, C. Wright Mills and Robert Dahl. The goal will be to come to a better understanding of both contemporary democracies and the precise nature elites play in them, and to think about ways in which some of the more deleterious aspects of our contemporary politics might be tackled.
Instructor(s): N. Piano     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 21607. Empire, Colonialism, and Democracy. 100 Units.
With the rise and consolidation of global empires in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the unevenly integrated spaces of the metropolis and the colonies came to form a new conception of the globe. How did modern in particular, British political thought conceive of and respond to this reordering of the world? In this course, we will analyze the conceptual resources with which democratic and liberal thinkers approached and often justified the legitimacy of colonial rule. We will also explore how nineteenth-century British thought traveled to (and from) the colonies and how anticolonial political thinkers participated in and diverged from the British framework. Along the way we will tackle some of the big questions in British Empire and anticolonialism studies: how did European understanding of empire and colonialism change from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century? How did liberal imperialism unravel and what intellectual concerns conditioned the turn to indirect rule in the late 1850s? Was the nation-state an inevitable outcome of colonial rule? And, finally, how did the long history of colonial subjection shape the understanding of democracy in the postcolonial world? While this course takes colonial Indian political thought as a paradigmatic case, it also incorporates relevant materials from other colonial sites.
Instructor(s): N. Sultan     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 22400. Public Opinion. 100 Units.
What is the relationship between the mass citizenry and government in the U.S.? Does the public meet the conditions for a functioning democratic polity? This course considers the origins of mass opinion about politics and public policy, including the role of core values and beliefs, information, expectations about political actors, the mass media, economic self-interest, and racial attitudes. This course also examines problems of political representation, from the level of political elites communicating with constituents, and from the possibility of aggregate representation.
Instructor(s): J. Brehm     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 22400, LLSO 26802

PLSC 22505. Knowledge and Politics. 100 Units.
What is the relationship between knowledge and power, and between science and democracy? What kinds of knowledge are needed in politics, and who needs to know what? In this course we read a number of philosophers, theorists, and social scientists interested in the relationship between knowledge and politics. Topics covered may include: the epistemic properties of political institutions and markets; the role of expertise in politics; values in science and public policy; and theories of epistemic democracy and epistemic injustice. (A)
Instructor(s): M. Landauer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 42502

PLSC 23100. Democracy and the Information Technology Revolution. 100 Units.
The revolution in information technologies has serious implications for democratic societies. We concentrate, though not exclusively, on the United States. We look at which populations have the most access to technology-based information sources (the digital divide), and how individual and group identities are being forged online. We ask how is the responsiveness of government being affected, and how representative is the online community. Severe conflict over the tension between national security and individual privacy rights in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Ireland will be explored as well. We analyze both modern works (such as those by Turkle and Gilder) and the work of modern democratic theorists (such as Habermas).
Instructor(s): M. Dawson     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 27101

PLSC 23901. The Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Writings. 100 Units.
This course examines the debate over the ratification of the Constitution through a reading of The Federalist Papers and selected Anti-Federalist writings as works of continuing relevance to current practical and theoretical debates. Issues include war and peace, interests and the problem of faction, commerce, justice and the common good as ends of government, human nature, federalism, republican government, representation, separation of powers, executive power, the need for energy and stability, the need for a bill of rights, and constitutionalism.
Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergrads
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 23901, SCTH 31715, PLSC 33930, FNDL 21719

PLSC 24201. Liberalism. 100 Units.
The post-war consensus on liberal democratic government can today seem under siege in Europe and the United States. Has liberalism run its course, its once revolutionary promise now dimmed by rising inequality, populist ideology, and perceived threats to national cultures? What newer, more persuasive liberalism might replace the managerial, economistic, instrumental model that we’ve inherited? This seminar explores a variety of answers to that question, arguing that the canonical replies may be stranger, the forgotten alternatives more compelling, and liberal thought far more variegated than liberalism’s critics or defenders have recognized. Our eclectic respondents include F.A. Hayek, Judith Shklar, Bernard Williams, Susan Okin, Richard Rorty, and Nancy Rosenblum. We will also explore some surprisingly topical interventions by John Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, Condorcet, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Dewey, and José Ortega y Gasset.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 44200, PLSC 44201

PLSC 25215. The American Presidency. 100 Units.
This course examines the institution of the American presidency. It surveys the foundations of presidential power, both as the Founders conceived it, and as it is practiced in the modern era. This course also traces the historical development of the institutional presidency, the president’s relationships with Congress and the courts, the influence presidents wield in domestic and foreign policymaking, and the ways in which presidents make decisions in a system of separated powers.
Instructor(s): W. Howell     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 25215, PLSC 35215, AMER 25215, PBPL 25216

PLSC 25305. Democratic Backsliding in Russia, Poland, and Hungary. 100 Units.
Russian Civilization III is devoted to studying the Russian “other” in the second half of the 20th and early 21st century. It focuses on the Central European countries, which remained from 1945 through 1990 under the control of the Soviet Union, concentrating on Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. The first week of the course will cover the implementation and institutionalization of communist rule and resistance to it with a particular focus on the development of the dissident movement abroad (especially in Paris). The second week will discuss the downfall of communism in the region and the process of democratization, culminating with the joining of international organizations, such as NATO and the EU (hence, our trip the EU parliament and Council of Europe). Week three will cover the most contemporary events, including democratic backsliding, especially in Poland and Hungary. We will examine the causes and consequences of the rise of populism, nationalism and anti-western sentiment in states which only 15 years ago were so eager to join the European Community.
Instructor(s): M. Nalepa     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Paris Russian Civilization program

PLSC 26615. Democracy’s Life and Death. 100 Units.
How are democracies founded and maintained? What are their advantages and disadvantages with respect to stability, security, liberty, equality, and justice? Why do democracies decline and die? This course addresses these questions by examining democracies, republics, and popular governments in both the ancient and modern worlds. We will read and discuss primary texts from and social scientific analyses of Athenian democracy, the Roman Republic, the United States, and modern representative governments throughout the globe.
Instructor(s): J. McCormick     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 26615

PLSC 28105. Transitional Justice. 100 Units.
This class will expose students to readings and research in a new area of social science: Transitional Justice. Transitional justice (TJ) refers to how new democracies deal with members and collaborators of former authoritarian regimes. In an era of democratic backsliding, getting TJ right cannot be overstated. When fragile new democracies are at risk of reverting back to dictatorship, the question arises: Can mechanisms set up by new democracies to deal with former authoritarian elites prevent such backsliding from happening? Or is backsliding occurring despite extensive TJ provisions? The class will introduce students a newly released dataset on Global Transitional Justice. Students will be encouraged and trained to conduct statistical analysis of their own to test hypotheses about the causes and effects of various transitional justice mechanisms.
Instructor(s): M. Nalepa     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 22913, SOSC 13100-13300, or introductory statistics strongly recommended

 

Public Policy Studies

PBPL 22100. Politics and Policy. 100 Units.
This course has two fundamental aims. The first is to introduce students to a set of analytical tools and concepts for understanding how political institutions generate public policy. The second is to apply these tools in examining the major institutions of democracy in the United States. Note(s): Public Policy 22100-22200-22300 may be taken in any order.
Instructor(s): C. Berry     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Public Policy 22100-22200-22300 may be taken in any order.

PBPL 28871. Constitutional Law. 100 Units.
This course is an introduction to American constitutional law. Topics include: the role of the judiciary and other institutions in interpreting and applying the Constitution of the United States; theories of constitutional interpretation; the practice and meaning of judicial review in a political democracy; structural and individual rights approaches to constitutional limitations on government authority; and the public-private distinction in constitutional law.
Instructor(s): D. Spencer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Third or fourth year standing required