Political Science | Democracy, Civilization and World Order (3 cr)
Y673 | 3453 | McGinnis


Meets at 513 N. Park
Can democracies be established in the context of any of the major world
civilizations? If all governments became liberal democracies, would this
imply a fundamental transformation in the nature of international politics?
These are the questions we will begin to investigate in this seminar. Our
discussions will address topics of general concern to political scientists
and scholars from other disciplines who are concerned with democracy in any
of its many forms. For example, although the democratic peace and democratic
transitions literatures typically conceptualize liberal democracy as a set
of institutions and procedures, our analysis will focus instead on whether
these institutions and procedures support community capabilities for
self-governance. This is the key factor that determines whether (1) new
institutions will take root and prosper in emerging democracies and (2) the
nature of international interactions between democratic governments.
This seminar is part of a two-semester sequence on Institutional Analysis
and Development, but either course can be taken independently of the other.
The fall semester version focuses on micro and intermediate levels of
analysis and the spring semester on more macro-level processes. Processes at
the micro and macro levels are, ultimately, connected in fundamental ways,
but there remain important differences in the modes of analysis that are
most appropriate for each level. This seminar focuses on historical analyses
and conceptual frameworks that complement the models and theories developed
in the fall semester seminar.
Readings will include Tocqueville's Democracy in America and Vincent
Ostrom's The Meaning of Democracy and the Vulnerability of Democracies. We
will read Hobbes as the exemplar of a unitary theory of sovereignty that has
been taken as the foundation for realist theories of international
relations. We will examine recent works in the democratic peace literature
that evaluate the evidence for the establishment of a new form of
international system. We will explore how interactions between power and
morality have resulted in the establishment of informal modes of governance
at the global level. We will critically evaluate Huntington's assertion that
the world is facing an era of clashing civilizations. Other readings will
examine the prospects for self-governance in different cultures or processes
of conflict resolution in different contexts.
Each student (and other participants in this seminar) will write a research
paper that will be presented at a "mini-conference" to be held the week-end
before finals week. Students will also be asked to compose regular memos on
the assigned readings and to participate fully in class discussions.