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The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

We are partisans for democracy

What does it mean to be a partisan for democracy? 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.

Stay Informed:

Democracy Works Podcast

February 26, 2024 - 10:00 am

We’ve talked about social media a lot on this show over the years — usually focusing on algorithms, echo chambers, polarization, and the other ways it’s damaging to democracy. This week, however, we hear a different take from V Spehar, who has more than 3 million followers on the TikTok account Under the Desk News

V built a reputation providing recaps of the daily news for an audience who might not consume news anywhere else. The Under the Desk News audience is politically diverse and V talks about some of the conversations that happen in the comments section. V’s also seen how social media can bring people together in real life and encourage people to become civically informed and engaged.

Check out V’s new podcast, American Fever Dream

Upcoming Events

March 14, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center
March 20, 2024
noon–1:30 p.m.
Grucci Room, 102 Burrowes Building
March 28, 2024
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Freeman Auditorium, 117 HUB-Robeson Center
April 1, 2024
7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Alumni Hall, HUB-Robeson Center
April 9, 2024
10:00 a.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
April 10, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
April 17, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library

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