Flex Courses

How Durable is Democracy?

  • Dates

    January 25-29, 2021
  • Cost for members

    Free

A Global Exploration of Democracy's Challenges

On January 6, 2021 a pro-Trump mob of several thousand people stormed the United States Capitol Building while lawmakers, press, and government staff awaited the certification of electoral college votes for the 2020 presidential election. Those inside the building were forced to find safe shelter while the outnumbered and underprepared Capitol Police responded to rioters and sought to regain control. The nation and the world watched the event unfold on news outlets and social media with rapt attention, inspiring concern and outrage, raising countless questions, and immediately spurring stark comparisons to the police and government response to Black Lives Matter protests just six months earlier. While rioters organized to occupy the US Capitol, many viewed the event as a symbolic attack on democracy everywhere.

A peaceful transition of power is a cornerstone of democracy and yet, with the inauguration of a new president just days away, the atmosphere is anything but peaceful.

How do we make sense of this evolving situation? Has anything like this ever happened before in other democracies? In the US? What are the historical and contemporary contexts needed to understand what is happening now and what could happen next? How do technology and social media help or hinder a democratic society? How do our own media diets and media literacy inform how we think and act? Why was the police response on this day so different from what has been on display at BLM protests?

This five-day GOA Pop Up Flex course will explore these questions, inviting students to examine threats to democracies in the past as well as the contemporary conditions that have contributed to today’s situation in the US. Daily discussions and exercises provide students opportunities to connect with others who may not share their perspectives as well as engage in personal reflection based on course content.

Who is this course for?

While individual member-school enrollments are welcomed, we recommend that member school teachers enroll their entire class in the course for maximum impact. Teachers can decide to have students engage with the asynchronous during class time or outside of it. This flex course pairs well with many courses including social studies, comparative government and politics, US history, psychology. Register here. For bulk registration instructions, please click here.

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