PSCI 118
Power to the People? Fall 2022
Division II

Class Details

Popular unrest. The resurgence of authoritarian styles and practices in politics. Democratic collapse. Political tumult around the globe in recent decades has put elites, and others, on edge as young democracies have collapsed and longer standing ones appear to be stumbling. In the United States, basic stability and democratic expansion have been accompanied by increasing citizen distrust of institutions, growing social divisions, contestation over basic citizenship rights, and political violence. The pandemic, related economic distress, social protests and insurrection have only sharpened the precarious state of U.S. democracy. Acute observers have long seen the U.S. as a harbinger of the promise and peril of modern democracies. What is the fate of democracy in the U.S.? What does that portend, if anything, for other democracies, or for the general principle of popular sovereignty–the idea that the people govern themselves? We investigate these and related questions, primarily through active, project-based group research activities, guided by political theory and empirical research in the social sciences. Our investigation will include substantial class-time collaboration with a similarly structured undergraduate course taught by a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University and may include an optional weekend research trip.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 1905
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, three 4-page essays, multiple group assignments, and class presentations
Prerequisites: first-year students
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
PSCI American Politics Courses

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