Themester Courses

College of Arts & Sciences Themester 2020: Democracy

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.

Featured Themester 2020 courses

billboard of the world with clock hands and red text saying climate change affects everyone but not equally

POLS-Y 104: The Politics of Saving the World

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.

protest banner that states System Error Capitalism has failed

POLS-Y 121: Capitalism and Democracy

This course introduces students to the connections between economics and politics through the lens of capitalism and democracy. Once deemed the ideal economic and political systems, today both have been roundly criticized.

illustration of hands voting in ballot box with text Election 2020

POLS-Y 200: Trump and Election 2020

Presidential Elections are always the Super Bowl of American politics. They are entertaining, frustrating and ultimately profoundly important as they set the overall directions of policy for the nation. We will take an in-depth look at how America will decide.

american flag with illustration of donkey and elephant

POLS-Y 301: Political Parties and Interest Groups

In this course you'll come to understand that parties and interest groups are actually necessary for democracy and how they shape our politics. We ask where do parties come from, and why are there only two stable ones in the U.S.?  What are the differences between parties and interest groups?

yellow traffic sign that says democracy challenges ahead

POLS-P 303: Challenges to Democracy

The focus of the course is on the current challenges to democracy, such as populism, illiberalism, and nativism. To understand the nature of these assaults on democratic values, we must first examine the principles and institutions of democracies around the world, as well as the conditions that facilitate or hinder democratic practices.

Want to learn more about the College’s Themester?