Available courses

‘We are all democrats now…’ (Brown): this statement highlights how democracy is frequently considered as the ‘only game in town’ from the normative standpoint of a legitimate political regime. Understanding the meaning of these slogans, however, is a challenging endeavour at a time when thousands of iterations of democracy (particularly via adding adjectives to the noun) appear.

This course offers a platform to think about democracy by encouraging an interdisciplinary perspective that explores some of the critical junctures, transformations and developments pertaining to the understandings of the phenomenon. The course follows a long-term endeavour of democratic theorizing for the purposes of (1) unpacking the peculiarities of the concept as well as its empirical manifestations, (2) thinking of new democratic solutions to collective action problems and (3) preventing democratic breakdown or decay. The global crises post-2008 have given a new impetus to the effort to understand the ambition for democracy to be the best realistically possible form of political ordering. 

The aim of this course is to introduce and discuss segments of democratic theory in historical, conceptual and comparative perspectives. Students of various disciplines will benefit from this engagement by gaining an improved capacity to reason about the potential, challenges and avenues of improvement of the operation of democracy while being sensitive to a range of meanings implied in the concept when it is invoked in political and popular discourses. They will also develop their independent and collaborative research and writing skills on a range of questions surrounding the concept and its application in real-world settings.