Fall 2022


, 4 pts, GR8113


The colloquium will read key texts in political thought and empirical studies written to consider the character and the future of liberal democracy during the 1940s and 1950s, and into the 1960s, a time of great pressure and intellectual imagination. The seminar will concentrate on major protagonists at a time of reappraisal for liberal democracy after traumas of the great depression, the temporary triumph of Fascism and Nazism, the unprecedented violence and horror of the recent world war, the challenge of expanding Bolshevism, and the start of widespread decolonization. Their themes, and ours, include political pluralism and governmental stability; the nature and purposes of political parties; political leadership; the role of public opinion; the relation of civil society to the state; national security; contours of membership; individual liberty and the social conditions of equality. The course’s motivation lies in our present circumstances. Contemporary pressures faced by constitutional democracies bring us back to these towering figures for two principal reasons. These scholars responded creatively to the manifest difficulties experienced by older liberal regimes to successfully bond with mass democracy and bear pluralism. Facing this history, these authors crafted models and propositions we wish to consider that concern how to provide foundations for thriving and secure democracies in societies that are pluralistic in socio-economic interests, demography, and partisan views.

Section Number
Call Number
Day, Time & Location
T 6:10PM-8:00PM To be announced
Nadia Urbinati