Alex Keyssar Photo

Alex Keyssar

Matthew W. Stirling, Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy

This course will explore key episodes, turning points, and themes in the history of democracy from ancient Athens to the present. It is shaped by two overarching and compelling questions: What circumstances, conditions, and forces are conducive to the development, deepening, and preservation of democratic ideas, values, and institutions? And conversely, what are the conditions or forces that tend to inhibit or threaten the emergence, strengthening, or  survival of democracy? Among the historical episodes to be examined are: ancient Greece and the Near East; the American Revolution; Europe during industrialization; Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries; India and Pakistan; the “third wave” of democratization; and the challenges facing democracies in the last thirty years. Inescapably (and by design) we will also be discussing the relevance of this history to current and recent developments.

This course is jointly offered with the History Department as History 1390.