In the face of rising authoritarianism, democratic activists across the globe are organizing and advocating for fundamental political rights. Over the ten days of this J-Term course, students in have the opportunity to meet, discuss, as well as work with such global activists, discovering how they craft public narratives for a better future, develop inclusive strategies, and build movements for change. In the process, students will also participate in a series of workshops designed to enable them to replicate such strategies in their own communities. As such, each class session will be an interactive discussion, marked by dialogue, break-out rooms, and workshop activities.
Engaging effectively in democratic activism, however, requires more than pragmatic skills. Activists must possess their own sense of the meaning of democracy, premised in the political and cultural traditions of their communities/countries. They must understand theories of public narrative, the local concepts that speak to inclusion and unity. And they must possess an understanding of how change occurs, so that a conception of democracy and public narrative produce results for those too often on the wrong side of privilege. To this end, students will also learn such theories, conceptions, and understandings through historical case studies and seminal articles on democracy in the 21st century.
Students will be expected to write a short biographical essay, a conceptual paper on democratic activism, and participate in a group project to develop a campaign for democratic rights.
This Course Fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.