Democracy and its History

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Democracy and its History

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    History, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Improve knowledge of the historical development of democracy and of democratization in history. Improve understanding of differences between classic, early modern and modern understandings of democracy. Being able to critically reflect on normative thinking in academic and political debates. Being able to formulate an independent opinion on historical and contemporary issues related to democracy.

    Since the end of the eighteenth century ‘democracy’ slowly but steadily has become more popular. Democracy as a type of government and the word ‘democracy’ itself has by leaps and bounds found acceptance in many parts of the world. Democracy has become the standard or the rule, while other modes of government are considered deviations or exceptions. How and why has this evolution occurred in Europe and in other parts of the world? What sorts of changes or continuities can during this prolonged evolution be discerned in the concept of ‘democracy’, and how can we critically assess the dominant position of democracy? Answers to these questions will be discussed by giving an overview of the historical development of democracy since the time of the Athenian democracy, the 'Atlantic Revolutions' of around 1800, and the rise, fall and rise of democracy in the era around the World Wars. The history of democracy will be related to theories about democracy and democratization. The main emphasis will be on the Western and European history of democracy but guest lecturers will also discuss the development of democracy from a global perspective.

    Lectures and discussion.

    Midterm (25%) and final exam (75%).

    First year completed.

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