PPS 564s: The Democracy LabSpring 2021Professor Gunther PeckHistorian, Director of Hart Leadership ProgramCell: 919-599-3980 [email protected], 1:45-3:00, Rubenstein 149; Thursday, 1:45 to 3:00, by zoomTeaching Assistant: Lauren Howell, Trinity [email protected] Democracy Lab is a project-based course designed to provide you with the knowledge andpractical skills necessary to create systemic change in a democracy. The premise of DemocracyLab is that we learn by doing as well as reading and reflecting. Some of the most importantstarting points for learning about democracy begin with reflection on what works – as well aswhat does not work – when we seek to make political change. Democracy does not exist solelyas a set of ideal or abstract principles, but as particular kinds of work that citizens and residentsgenerate in the name of democracy. As practitioners, we learn by doing democracy work as wellas by studying and researching it. The primary goal of the Democracy Lab is to improve yourcapacity to collaborate with individuals and groups of people around common goals and torethink what you think democracy is and can be.Learning how to foster democracy has never been easy. Democracy remains an aspiration,perhaps a necessary fiction for how citizens agree to be governed. Doing so means confrontingdirectly and honestly the vast differences that religion, culture, sexism, racism, inequality, andhistory have generated between groups of people, whether or not they are citizens of the samenation. Some of the most important work of this course will be your reflections on the experienceand meaning of these differences and the value conflicts they have generated. In so doing, youwill also investigate how and why deeply-held personal values have historically impeded publicproblem-solving as well as fostered energy for confronting systemic challenges.Course Objectives: Become a more effective and powerful citizen, capable of performing democracy work inan arena of your choosing. Have a keener understanding of how you see and realize your capacity for leadership indemocracy. Use history effectively to ask the right questions to help you construct an impactfulpolitical engagement project. Create a deliverable good for the How To Citizen Project and your Community Partner.Course Principles: Learning, Teaching, Being in the Time of Covid-19(*with gratitude to Professor Brandon Bayne; to be finalized collectively in class)1) We will foster intellectual nourishment, social connection and personal accommodation.2) We will be flexible and check in with one another as the course progresses to see if changesneed to be made.
3) We will take care of each other and ourselves.4) During this historic moment, we will offer kindness and look towards resilience when wecan.Technology, Honor Code & Community Standard(1) If and when this class meets in person: Laptops, smartphones, tablets and other computingdevices are not allowed. Because this class requires active discussion and engagement of thereading material, these devices end up being a distraction. If you have a condition that requiresusage of such devices, please consult with me. For some analysis on reasons to ban devices inthe classroom, see students-put-yourlaptops-away and r-banning-laptops-inthe-classroom(2) When this class meets online: You will be expected to attend class with the video feature on. Ifthis presents a problem, please consult with me. During class you may not be on other websites,check your email, or be on your phone or any other devices. Recording of this class isprohibited unless you have received the instructor’s permission.(3) Accessibility and Accommodation: In addition to accessibility issues experienced during thetypical academic year, I recognize that remote learning may present additional challenges.Students may be experiencing unreliable wi-fi, lack of access to quiet study spaces, varied timezones, or additional responsibilities while studying at home. If you are experiencing these orother difficulties, please contact me to discuss possible accommodations.(4) Honor Code: All work for this class is governed by the Duke Community Standard. You areresponsible for reviewing the following materials: http://registrar.duke.edu/duke-community-standard https://plagiarism.duke.edu/ http://library.duke.edu/research/plagiarism/(5) Duke Compact: The Duke Compact recognizes our shared responsibility for our collectivehealth and well-being. Please be reminded that by signing your name to this pledge, you haveacknowledged that you understand the conditions for being on campus. These includecomplying with university, state, and local requirements and acting to protect yourself and thosearound you. For complete language and updated please visit:https://returnto.duke.edu/compact.Course Requirements:Class Attendance and Participation 20%Attendance in-person or online is mandatory. All absences need to be excused by email inadvance and include a doctor’s note when relevant. With one exception, unexcused absencesfrom class will affect your grade. Covid-19 exception: Due to the mental stress of this pandemic,you may take one self-care mental health day at any point during the term. I need to be notifiedbefore class that this is your intention however. You will also still be responsible for anyassignments or readings due that day however. Attendance accounts for 10% of your final grade.
The other 10% is for your active engagement in class discussions. This does not necessarilymean having to speak a lot, but rather speaking and listening to your peers in a respectful,curious, and sincere manner. If we only talk and don’t listen, others are less likely to listen to us.Learning is, like democracy work, collaborative by nature. I ask that you do two things to fomentpowerful dialogue and conversation: 1. Listen carefully and respectfully to your peers with anopen mind and an open heart. Listening with an open mind and heart means being prepared to bewrong on an issue, and to be vulnerable in a given discussion, a starting point for genuinelytransformative learning. 2. Cultivate trust with one another by being willing to disagree. Weshould not avoid conflicts but learn from them. Consensus that is coerced or apathetic promotesthe opposite of democratic thought or engagement. Disagreeing with one another, passionatelybut always respectfully when conflicts emerge, is what builds trust.Writing 40%There are a variety of writing assignments in The Democracy Lab, some personal and reflective,others more public facing and also academic.- Reactions to the Readings: 20%. Your reactions to the readings for class discussionshould do two things: first, summarize the main takeaways or points of a given readingand second raise a question that highlights a line of inquiry that you would like to pursuein the class discussion. These should be type-written and no more than one page inlength and uploaded to your dropbox no later than midnight the evening before ourclass discussion. You will upload a minimum of five over the course of the semester, butmay upload more. Each submission should have the date in the title.- Reflection on Democracy Work: 10%. A personal reflections on engagement work thatyou have done and what you have learned thus far from it. No more than 1000 words.- Project Description of Your Political Engagement Project: 10%. That descriptionshould be no more than four pages, due at the end of the term, that identifies thedemocracy challenge you will be engaging in over the summer and ensuing year, thequestion you hope to ask and answer, and a brief description of the deliverable you hopeto create before you graduate. Due 4/22.Group Projects 40%- A Public Facing Deliverable 30%, for the “How to Citizen” class project. (See belowfor details of what it include and how it will be organized) In teams, students will worktogether and in consultation with a community partner to create a democracy guide foryoung citizens that explains, exemplifies, and inspires (ideally) others to engage indemocracy work. Students may work on a particular theme they are most passionateabout but should have the goal of creating a deliverable that will be ready to “go public”by the end of the semester.- Story Telling Work 10%. You will also work together to tell your story – and that ofothers – in compelling and empowering ways, finding ways through experimentation andtrial and error to find ways to link your personal values to larger democracy work thatyou are passionate about. This will involve public speaking, web and social media work,as well as creativity in finding ways to make the stories you tell powerful.
How to Citizen, Class Project, Spring 2021Students will collaborate first in teams to define a particular challenge within democracy workthat they wish to engage. The challenge might be expanding student voting rights, creating moreaccess to voting for citizens, bridging the partisan and the urban-rural divide, expanding rightsfor the disfranchised, stopping misinformation, or rebuilding trust in democracy. Once you havedefined your democracy challenge, we will connect you to a community partner or organizationthat shares your interest and with whom you can collaborate in creating a public facingdeliverable that benefits them as an organization and our larger “How To Citizen” Class Projectsimultaneously. Here are some of the community partners that you might choose to work withthis semester.1. Bull City Votes: A Non-partisan civic and voter education organization, dedicated toexpanding voting rights and participation in Durham.2. Democracy NC: A Non-partisan voting rights organization dedicated to expandingaccess to voting across the state of NC.3. North Carolina for Clean Elections: A non-profit dedicated to passing comprehensivedemocracy reforms across the state of NC.4. Poder-NC Action: A Non-profit dedicated to expanding the power of Latino peopleacross North Carolina.5. North Carolina State Board of Elections: The public servants who administer ourelections and work to secure the accuracy and consistency of voting, whether in person orby absentee.Students will brainstorm their preferences first and then be paired into teams before meeting withthe most appropriate community-based organization. Each group will have the opportunity topresent their work in progress formally to the class on March 4.Schedule of MeetingsThursday, January 21: IntroductionWhat is Democracy?Tuesday, January 26: Robert Dahl, On Democracy, pp. 1-4, 35-80.*Thursday, January 28: bell hooks, “Love as the Practice of Freedom.”*What inspires you about democracy? Upload a short text, speech, poem, video, or song to theForum page that has inspired you when you think about democracy.Submissions should be no more than five pages or ten minutes in length if a song or video, andmust be uploaded to the Sakai Forum site by Wednesday morning, January 27th, at 9 am.Democracy in PracticeTuesday, February 2: Robert Dahl, On Democracy, pp. 130-188.*Thursday, February 4: What depresses you about “democracy?” Upload a short text, speech,poem, video, or song that best captures your disenchantment with or skepticism of democracy.
Submissions should be no more than five pages or ten minutes in length if a song or video, andmust be uploaded to the Sakai Forum site by Wednesday morning, February 3rd, at 9 am.Friday, February 5: Noon to 3:00 pm: Meetings to determine teams and community partners.Losing Democracy?Tuesday, February 9: AuthoritarianismTimothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, pp. 17-71.*Thursday, February 11: Populism and ConspiracyExcerpts from Larry Goodwyn, The Populist Moment; Richard Hofstadter, “The Paranoid Style inAmerican Politics.”Friday, February 12, 5 pm: 1000 word reflection on your personal history with DemocracyWork.Democracy Challenges: Inequality (I)Tuesday, February 16: Democracy and Racism: Ibram Kendi, How to Be An Anti-Racist, excerpt.Thursday, February 18: Organizing Anti-Racism: Speeches and Stories:Democracy and Inequality (II)Tuesday, February 23: Democracy and Sexism: Rebecca Solnit, Good and Mad: TheRevolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, excerpts.Thursday, February 25: Organizing Democracy against Sexism: Speeches and Stories:Democracy and GenerationsTuesday, March 2: Low Youth Voter Turnout registration-young-people-apathy.html -s-voter-turnout-trails-mostdeveloped-countries/ ote-and-how-do-voting-rates-varystate/ nd-what-to-do-about-it/ eople-on-why-they-probably-wontvote.htmlThursday, March 4: Class presentation of your plans for a public facing deliverable for the“how to citizen” project, including its connection to your community partner.
Prescriptions for DemocracyTuesday, March 9: Midterm BreakThursday, March 11: No Class: Collaboration with Community Partners in Creating a “How toCitizen” Guide.Building CampaignsTuesday, March 16: Partisan vs. Non-Partisan CampaignsThursday, March 18: Workshopping Your Campaigns: Story TellingLeadership in DemocracyTuesday, March 23: Leaders vs LeadershipThursday, March 25: Workshopping Your Leadership Vision: Story Telling.Democracy Work and HealthTuesday, March 30: Covid, the 2020 Election, and the Future of DemocracyThursday, April 1: Strengthening Democracy: What’s your Plan?To Citizen 2021Tuesday, April 6: Group A : Public Facing Deliverable PresentationsThursday, April 8: Group B: Public Facing Deliverable PresentationsLiving Your Values: Democracy Work in the Future, 2021Tuesday, April 13: Story-Telling: What make democratic stories powerful?Thursday, April 15: Story-Telling: What makes your story powerful?
Democracy Work for the FutureTuesday, April 20: PEP Summer Project PresentationsThursday, April 22, 10 am: Political Engagement Project Descriptions Due.Thursday, April 22: Class Discussion of how to Project the ”How to Citizen” ProjectThursday, April 29, 5 pm: Final Submission of each team’s Public Facing Deliverable tocommunity partners and the How to Citizen Project.