This course will explore the relationship between liberal democratic governance, identity, and nation in the United States. The course is interdisciplinary in nature, approaching the issues through the lenses of history, philosophy, law, and the social sciences. We will look at the historical roots of contemporary problems in the US such as political polarization, economic inequality, and the culture wars. We will explore the relationship between liberal democracy and different forms of identity, including racial, ethnic, gender, cultural, and national identities. In doing so we will try to shed light on contemporary social problems, and will discuss how to bring about stable, productive, and just social change in the United States.
The course is divided three main parts: (1) Core Concepts; (2) Liberalism, Democracy, and
Governance; and (3) National Identity and Empire.
Instructor: Richard Ashcroft