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We are partisans for democracy

What does that mean? We don't take sides on the political spectrum, but we do defend the rights everyone has as a democratic citizen — from voting to protesting to consuming information from a free press that serves as a check on political leaders.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy draws from the humanities and social sciences to examine democracy from multiple angles. This cross-discipline collaboration is evident in our research, education, and outreach efforts.

We educate the next generation of democratic citizens through our Nevins Fellows program, monitor attitudes toward democracy with the Mood of the Nation poll, and host speakers and events that bring people from diverse backgrounds and points of view together to discuss the role of democracy in our society.

We make all of this happen in partnership with our centers of excellence, the Center for American Political Responsiveness and the Center for Democratic Deliberation, and many other organizations throughout the College of the Liberal Arts and the broader Penn State community.

Democracy Works Podcast
Citizenship, patriotism, and democracy in the classroom

Citizenship, patriotism, and democracy in the classroom

This episode features a conversation with Mark Kissling, assistant professor of social studies education at Penn State. His work focuses on citizenship education, or the practice of preparing civic-minded individuals. Mark helps future teachers determine how to tackle controversial subjects in the classroom.

Behind the scenes of the "Year of the Woman"

Behind the scenes of the "Year of the Woman"

One of the biggest headlines to emerge heading into the 2018 midterms is the record number of women running for office. Rebecca Kreitzer, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill studies the more than 400 groups that exist to help elect women into office.

Facebook is not a democracy

Facebook is not a democracy

If you’ve followed any of the recent news about Facebook, you’ve probably heard the company make claims about giving its community a voice and other things that sound very democratic. However, as Matt Jordan explains in this episode, that is not the case at all.

A democracy summer reading list

A democracy summer reading list

If you’ve been to a book store or the library lately, then you’ve probably seen at least a few books on democracy on the shelves. The 2016 presidential election spurred a lot of conversation about the current state of our democracy and where things go from here. 

How will we remember Charlottesville?

How will we remember Charlottesville?

Joining us to unpack the public memory around Charlottesville is Brad Vivian. He is the director of the McCourtney Institute’s Center for Democratic Deliberation and a professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State. Brad studies public memory, particularly around Confederate iconography. He also grew up in the Charlottesville area and recounts some of his experiences there during the interview.

Ep. 18: The Constitutional Crisis Episode

Ep. 18: The Constitutional Crisis Episode

This is one we’ve been wanting to do since we started the podcast. The term constitutional crisis is frequently used but often misunderstood. Like democracy, it’s hard to define but you know it when you see it.

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