Promoting healthy democracy
Effective democratic governance is crucial to solving all the other great challenges of our time, yet democracy is under unprecedented threat around the world. Misinformation and extreme partisanship, the rise of populist authoritarian leaders, and other democratic dysfunctions have led to a loss of trust that democracies can solve societal problems.
Through our annual Denver Democracy Summit, the Korbel School is a global leader in convening the best minds on these issues. At Korbel, students can draw on virtually all of our research centers and institutes, including the state of democracy in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe at the Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies; U.S. politics at the Center for American Politics and the Scrivner Institute of Public Policy; and the long-term prospects for democracy at the Pardee Center for International Futures.
Pursue Your Cause
Democracy and Militarism in Latin America
About this Course
Many note that even as democratization has taken place throughout Latin America, there has been a persistent and evolving role for the military, police and private security forces in many cases. The purpose of the class is to explore this apparent contradiction by examining the various internal and external pressures that have come to bear on these societies. Through approaches derived from comparative politics and international political economy we study domestic factors such as interest groups, political parties, social movements and governing institutions on one hand, and the role of international relations and organizations on the other. From this standpoint, the state becomes a mediator of internal and external pressures and is shaped by these pressures in turn. In the first half of the class, we specifically apply institutions, political realist, class analytic and market globalization perspectives to the study of the military. In the second half, we look at the interplay between democratic development and security issues in a changing global environment. This includes a study of the nature of democratization in Latin America, so heavily applauded by scholars, politicians and others, the impact of the truth and reconciliation process that emerged after the bureaucratic-authoritarian era, and the role of civil society and international organizations. In the final part of the class, we turn to the issue of citizen security amid high levels of crime, gang activity, and drug trafficking with a focus on Central America.
Donald Trump, Democratic Decline and Authoritarian Populism
About this Course
To affirm that on a global level, liberal democracy is declining and authoritarian populism is ascendant, is to state the obvious. This confirms a trend that Larry Diamond predicted ten years ago about a “democratic recession” that shows no sign of abating. What is most intriguing and in need of explanation is the decline of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism in liberal societies of the West, where democracy has long been established and consolidated. According to the 2018 Democracy Index (published by the Economist Intelligence Unit), the United States in the era of Donald Trump, is better described as a “flawed democracy” rather than a “full democracy.” Similar trends are discernible in Europe, Latin America and Asia. How can we explain this development? What social conditions have produced this outcome and what are the implications for world order and the study of international affairs? Can the slide toward authoritarian populism be reversed? We will examine these questions theoretically, historically and comparatively.
Democratization in the Middle East
About this Course
The promotion of democracy process and its implementation of democracy have emerged as a major goal for U.S. and world policy makers and have attracted the attention of many scholars. Democracy is now widely regarded as a political system that minimizes conflict, promotes sustainable development, and is a vital tool in the struggle against terrorism. However, the results of efforts to create democracies in various countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan are a clear illustration of the difficulties involved in making transitions to democracy. In this seminar, we shall focus on what is known about democratization, consider the nature and role of Islam, examine the state of democracy in key countries of the region, and consider the ways in which the U.S. and other external actors might strengthen democratic forces in the region.
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