This seminar investigates the worldwide crisis of democracy and how democracy’s defenders
might overcome it. In the late 20 th century, democracy was on a global roll; now it is in retreat in
every world region. In the United States, the world’s oldest democracy, one of the two major
parties works to restrict voting access and refuses to accept defeat in elections. India, the
world’s largest democracy, has come under the control of a leader who erases civil liberties and
pursues an ethnonational agenda. Poland and Hungary, once considered exemplars of
successful democratization, are now dominated by parties that attack judicial independence
and free media. In Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela, imperfect democracy has given way to hard
autocracy. Brazil, the Philippines and other developing-world democracies have undergone
backsliding toward authoritarianism, while experiments with open politics have foundered in
the Middle East and North Africa. How can we explain democracy’s crisis? How can democrats
reverse the autocratic wave, and what must they do to restore democracy’s promise?
Political Science Majors of Junior and Senior status, with a minimum overall UC GPA of 3.3. Students must place themselves on the waitlist through "CalCentral" in Phase II. Selection and notification will occur in January before the start of the semester. Priority may be given to students who have not yet taken a junior seminar.