Political Science | Why Our Democracy is Broken and How We Might Fix It
Y490 | 23391 | Scheuerman


Even relatively simple forms of political participation seem
increasingly unpopular in contemporary American democracy. Most of
our fellow citizens are at best politically indifferent and at worst
disgusted with the operations of existing liberal democracy. How did
we reach this state of affairs, and might it be possible to do
something about it? The course begins with a careful examination of
some the great classics of modern liberal democratic theory (e.g.,
Alexis de Tocqueville's writings on 19th century American democracy)
in order to understand the normative and institutional foundations
of our political system. We then turn to a rapidly growing
literature suggesting that contemporary liberal democracy is
suffering from serious pathologies. Finally, we focus on a panoply
of proposals to reform the operations of liberal democracy in order
to make sure we do in fact have a political order "of the people, by
the people, for the people."

Students will be expected to write a rewrite a series of short (5-
6pp) papers, as well as take a midterm and final. Participation and
attendance are mandatory.