About the Program
Following World War II, the world was marked by an expansion of liberal democracies. From the reconstruction of Japan and Germany, to the end of colonialism in South Asia and Africa, to the demise of authoritarian military regimes in Latin America, democracy seemed to prevail. But recent events have put strains on democratic practices and raise questions about the durability and viability of democracies.
This class examines the current state of democracies, with a special focus on the United States. After considering the definition of “democracy,” the class then explores the forces that strengthen and maintain democracy and those that erode democratic values and institutions.
Instructor: Lois Hecht Oppenheim, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Politics and Global Studies at American Jewish University. Her expertise is in comparative and global politics, with a focus on less developed countries, especially Latin America and Chile in particular. A special interest of hers has been democratization in southern Europe and Latin America.