Looking Ahead: The State of American Democracy

Course Dates: 
8 weeks: March 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 2018
Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Mary Lasher
Course Catalogs: 
2018 Spring

Many Americans today ponder the future of our democracy. Is it in decline? Are democratic norms eroding?  Do our institutions have the resilience to survive? In a discussion seminar with limited enrollment, we will analyze several articles and two books that examine the question, and we will discuss our own ideas about America’s 200-plus-year grand experiment with democracy. Prerequisites: At the first class session, each participant will give a three-minute oral assessment of the strength of our American democracy today. Participants must attend classes regularly, read three assigned books and other reading assignments, and actively participate in the class discussions. Required texts: The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce, ISBN-13: 978-0802127396; The Once and Future Liberal by Mark Lilla, ISBN-13: 978-0062697431; On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, ISBN-13: 978-0804190114.

Course outline

Mary Lasher (mlelasher.avl@gmail.com) has a Master of Arts in history from Duke University. She has taught history at several universities and, in retirement, more than 30 courses at College for Seniors, most of which deal with American, European and Middle East history.