Liberal democracy finds itself under stress and its core values are being challenged by nationalism, authoritarian forms of populism, and a backlash against rising economic inequality. Embedded racism has come under renewed and widespread challenge, and longstanding economic arrangements are under increasing scrutiny in the wake of a deep economic downturn set off by the pandemic. And while G. K. Chesterton had a point when he described the United States as “a nation with the soul of a church,” growing religious pluralism and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated has altered the landscape of faith. This course will explore the religious and secular values that undergird democracy. It will examine both political and religious institutions, and explore the thinking of theologians, philosophers, political leaders and activists on the challenges of self-rule.
Also offered by the Divinity School as 2042 and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1049. Students, including undergraduates, are welcome from around the University.