Democracies can break down---but they fail in different ways at different times for different reasons. In this course, we will explore the causes and consequences of democratic erosion in comparative and historical perspective. We survey theoretical literatures on populism, fascism, hybrid authoritarian regimes, and military coups; and we consider the dynamics of polarization and identity politics; electoral violence; and civil resistance. We glean lessons from failures of democracy in inter-war Europe, Venezuela, Russia, and other cases, and we consider the possibility of democratic erosion in contemporary Europe and the United States. Finally, we analyze strategies for confronting democratic erosion when it occurs. Readings will address both empirical and normative questions and will combine academic writing with other kinds of sources. Students will write a research paper related to the topic of the course. Enrollment in this junior seminar is capped.
The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research.
This junior seminar falls within the "Comparative" subfield, and can fulfill an upper-division requirement for the major.
Political Science Majors of Junior and Senior status (must be 3rd or 4th year students with at least 60 units completed) with a minimum overall UC GPA of 3.3. Students must place themselves on the waitlist through TeleBEARS in Phase II. Priority may be given to students who have not yet taken a junior seminar. Selection and notification will occur early August 2017.