This course explains how science policies are shaped by public opinion, partisan divisions, and political institutions. The course content will center on the debate over the cause, consequences, and responses to climate change, giving students facts, evidence, and political science theories that explain policy choices as well as deadlock.
The College’s Themester 2020 focus on Democracy engages a global interdisciplinary debate at a critical moment. At no time since the 1930s has democracy been as challenged. Global optimism over democratic transitions has given way to contestation over minority rights, democratic back-sliding, and the rise of populism. These trajectories raise concerns about the potential for an intractable democratic crisis that will affect both younger democracies and established systems.
Themester 2020 Democracy will look at factors leading to democratic continuity and change. The College will explore such issues as democracy’s “rules of the game,” media bubbles, fake news, and schisms between science and faith that limit debate and harden political opinions. We will examine the compatibility of capitalism and democracy and how social divisions—some concrete, others manufactured—can be resolved through democratic processes.