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Course List

PSCI 167M Democracy: Past and Present

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  • Fall 2020
    Nicholas Gresens
    Fall 2020 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
    Course Syllabus

    What would "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" really look like? Is the right to vote sufficient to make a society democratic? Is majority rule any better than tyranny? Can people be trusted to rule themselves? In this course, we examine the first democracy - that of ancient Athens. We will trace the historical development of democracy and explore the social factors and big ideas that shaped it into the form of government that almost every society in the world now looks to as a model. You will learn about the various institutions that allowed Athenian society to function and discover what the Athenians thought about their great experiment, even if they thought it was a very bad idea. We will also observe and discuss some of our own government institutions so that we can better understand our system of government, both in what it shares with ancient Athens and how it differs. Restriction: Open to freshmen only AS&E.

  • Spring 2019
    Nicholas Gresens
    Spring 2019 — TR 14:00 - 15:15
    Course Syllabus

    What would "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" really look like? Is the right to vote sufficient to make a society democratic? Is majority rule any better than tyranny? Can people be trusted to rule themselves? In this course, we examine the first democracy--that of ancient Athens. We will trace the historical development of democracy and explore the social factors and big ideas that shaped it into the form of government that almost every society in the world now looks to as a model. You will learn about the various institutions that allowed Athenian society to function and discover what the Athenians thought about their great experiment, even if they thought it was a very bad idea. We will also observe and discuss some of our own government institutions so that we can better understand our system of government, both in what it shares with ancient Athens and how it differs.

  • Fall 2017
    Nicholas Gresens
    Fall 2017 — MW 15:25 - 16:40
    Course Syllabus

    Athenian democracy is often pointed to as one of the precursors of our own political system, but where did it come from, how did it function, and what did Athenians, and other Greeks, think of their system of government? This course will examine: 1) the development of radical democracy as practiced in ancient Athens both in its theoretical and practical aspects; 2) the impact this form of government had on both Greek culture and history and on later cultures; and 3) the proponents and opponents of this system of government, both ancient and modern. In addition to reading, discussing, and analyzing ancient sources, the course will include a series of debates on the merits of various forms of government, including our own, in which students will have to argue either for or against that form of government, and students will then vote, Athenian style, for the winner.