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Democratic Leadership

CAS 209/PL SC 209: Democratic Leadership


John Gastil, Professor of Political Science and Communication Arts and Sciences; McCourtney Institute for Democracy Senior Scholar

Course description

This course introduces students to deliberative democratic theory and encourages them to reflect on effective strategies for changing governance and society, with an eye toward participating in the McCourtney Institute for Democracy's Nevins Fellows program. Internships will be arranged by the McCourtney Institute and can be taken at any time they're available, but most students will choose to take one in the summer following the course.

This one-credit course provides a broad background for this approach to democratic leadership, and it also prepares students for a unique paid internship program. Those who complete this course will have first priority when awarding internships.  

The centerpiece of this course are two day-long Sunday workshops where students get to interact directly with the kind of leaders they may aspire to become. Bracketing these workshops are two-hour seminars, which introduce ideas, discuss brief reading assignments, and reflect on the experiences of the workshop.

In addition to short reaction papers due for each class session, students will produce a single six-page narrative essay at the end of the course that describes how they could see themselves advancing democracy in the United States (or elsewhere) and what kind of internship/work experience will help them prepare for such a career. For those who opt to seek an internship in 2020, this will be a supplement to their formal application.

Credit for the course requires attendance at every class meeting, workshop, and other events to be announced. Required work includes readings assigned for each class, the short reaction papers, and a final essay.

Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 course will meet at the following dates times:

  • Thursday, September 19, 3:05-5:05 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 26, 3:05-5:05 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 3, 3:05-5:05 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 10, 3:05-5:05 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 29, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 13, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Please note that participation in the Sunday sessions is required unless an excused absence is approved by the instructor in advance. Look for course number 18512 in LionPATH to register.