Democracy and Disagreement (Spring 2017; Spring 2018)
If the 2016 U.S. presidential election taught us anything, it is that there may be no limit to the degree of disagreement possible within a democracy. As diversity of perspectives is a hallmark of democracy, such disagreement is both natural and understandable. Yet how we respond to these divisions can have signiﬁcant implications for the stability of public order, civil society and even our personal relationships. In this course, Elizabeth Barre, Ph.D., will help participants consider their obligations as citizens in the midst of deep disagreement. By exploring various psychological, anthropological and philosophical accounts of disagreement, participants will better understand their own ethical commitments, the commitments of those who disagree with them, and what these disagreements mean for how we should organize our collective lives together. The course will include lectures and discussion. It will also offer insights on conducting effective, respectful disagreement but will not focus on in-class practice of these skills.