American Democracy on Knife's Edge?

New School for Social Research: Politics

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Graduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
Democracy on Knife's Edge?
Summer 2023
Taught By: Elzbieta Matynia
Section: A

CRN: 3552

Credits: 3

On January 6, 2021, a violent insurrection, seeking to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election, took place at the U.S. Capitol. A special House January 6 Committee spent over a year investigating this insurrection and documenting the role of then-President Donald Trump and those closest to him in promoting and inciting it. Meanwhile Trump has continued to promote the false claim that the election was “stolen”—a claim that many journalists and pundits across the political spectrum now call “The Big Lie.” This claim plays an important role in Trump’s announced campaign for the presidency in 2024. Believed by many millions of Trump’s supporters, it continues to justify Republican-enacted voter restrictions, and threatens democratic legitimacy itself.This 12-session seminar will center on the relevance of “January 6”—the events of that day and what they symbolize– for thinking about the history and the future of American democracy. Behind it lie bigger and deeper questions about the genealogy of “democracy” and its contested meanings; the overall trajectory and meanings of “American history”; and even the nature of “neoliberalism,” “surveillance capitalism,” “modernity” and “postmodernity.” These deeper questions of social and political theory intersect with the work of each student in a different way. But while they must feature in any “complete” account of the current state of American democracy, together they can be regarded as the “subtext” rather than the “text” of the seminar. While focused on the American case, the seminar will have a strong comparative dimension, and the issues raised are of clear relevance to a wide range of cases—from Poland and Hungary to Turkey and India, and from South Africa to Brazil—where authoritarian leaders, movements, and parties threaten the institutions of liberal democracy.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Politics (GPOL)

Campus: New School Course outside US (NO)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 6

Add/Drop Deadline: July 8, 2023 (Saturday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: August 2, 2023 (Wednesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 10:22pm EDT 10/1/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Times: 2:35pm - 4:00pm
Building: TBD
Room: TBD
Date Range: 7/5/2023 - 7/20/2023