Fall/Winter Timetable

POL197H1S L0101

FYF Seminar

Solidarity in Diverse Societies


Liberal democracies in the “populist” age are increasingly defined by polarization, and many observers fear that liberal democracies are having trouble accommodating diversity and protecting the rule of law and the integrity of their elections. This course will explore how these societies can better accommodate diversity and preserve liberal democracy. It will consider patriotism and nationalism, as well as arguments that seek to empower citizens with the techniques of “political friendship” required to manage difference and disagreement. This course will then conclude by considering alternative perspectives, such as Carl Schmitt’s argument that liberal democracies can only secure solidarity and stability through hypocrisy – that liberal democracies can only sustain themselves by designating an “other” or an “enemy” against whom the political community must always be prepared to potentially wield political violence.

PLEASE NOTE: POL197H1S is dual delivery, online synchronous.


Cass Sunstein, Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America; Eric Kaufmann, Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities; Jürgen Habermas, The Inclusion of the Other; David Miller, Liberal Nationalism; Danielle Allen, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education; Sibyl Schwarzenbach, On Civic Friendship; Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone; Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America;
Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia; Charles Murray, What It Means to be a Libertarian; Chantal Mouffe, For a Left Populism; Chantal Mouffe, The Democratic Paradox; Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political (subject to change)

Format and Requirements

Class participation; three essays (subject to change)