Fall 2021

Democracy's Discontents

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-337

Moodle site: Course


Jared Loggins (Section 01)


In this course we explore historical and contemporary discontents of liberal democracy through the lens of racial and economic injustice in the United States. The constitutional principle of equality on which liberal democracy is based seeks both to protect the rights of minorities and to enable its citizens to realize their full potential. However, persisting racial and economic injustices expose the project’s fragility and raise questions about whether its procedural and structural foundations are sufficient to accomplish these goals. Our exploration is informed by several questions: What is liberal democracy? Is liberal democracy the form in the best position to secure human flourishing? If not, what form or forms are? What do the racial and economic injustices within our democracy tell us about the meaning of “the people” and dissent, core features of liberal democratic thought? To what normative (i.e. ideal or desirable) standards of democracy should we aspire?  Through close reading of a diverse group of thinkers including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Claudia Jones, Sheldon Wolin, Saidiya Hartman, Iris Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, Will Clare Roberts, Lawrie Balfour, Toni Morrison, Jason Frank, Cedric Robinson, among others, we will explore liberal democracy’s limitations as well as how it can be reconstructed to more effectively embody its ideals.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above). Sophomores and above. Not open to first year students. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor Loggins.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to seniors and Political Science majors.


Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021