Frontlines of Freedom

AS.196.351 (31)

Course Description:

You know the problems: debunked claims of election fraud, no potential for moderation, and a society that’s ripping apart at the seams. But how do we pull American democracy back from the ledge? Frontlines of Freedom takes a comparative perspective on American democracy and activism, leveraging the expertise of foreign dissidents from oppressive countries who have spent decades fighting against the trends that we’re still just coming to understand.

Garry Kasparov, a World Chess Champion and Russian political activist, will lead the course. Each day, a prominent dissident from oppressive countries such as Iran, Zimbabwe, China, and others will join the course as a guest lecturer. Across four lectures, students will discuss: 1) The global struggle for democracy, 2) American flaws and American exceptionalism, 3) A culture of authoritarianism, and 4) Building a Pro-Democracy Coalition.

1. The Global Struggle for Democracy

American democracy in a comparative perspective. We’ve joined the global struggle which dissidents have been fighting in relentlessly. Let’s learn from

2. American Flaws and American Exceptionalism

America has never been perfect, but American democracy is still the world’s strongest and most persistent symbol of freedom.

As figures on the Right embrace America-first and figures on the Left assert that America has no moral authority to lead, pro-democracy dissidents are left to suffer. What is America’s obligation to support global freedom and human rights? Is it really even possible to be insular in an interconnected world?

3. Cultures of Authoritarianism & Freedom

 What are authoritarian social practices, and how do they come to dominate in society? At the same time, what typifies democratic societies and how can we protect those practices?

4. Building a Pro-Democracy Coalition

How can we build a political environment where individuals can differ on policy without threatening democratic principles? What does it take to unite the public
around democracy?

Register soon-space is limited!