Yale’s 15 Lectures on Democracy

As part of its 300th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, Yale Uni­ver­si­ty gath­ered togeth­er some of its fore­most fac­ul­ty and offered an extend­ed series of lec­tures on the state of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. Col­lec­tive­ly enti­tled “Demo­c­ra­t­ic Vis­tas,” this wide-rang­ing series explores Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy in his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary terms and looks at how it mesh­es with oth­er fix­tures of our social life — reli­gion, fam­i­ly, eco­nom­ic mar­kets, tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion, etc.  From this page, you can access all of the illu­mi­nat­ing pre­sen­ta­tions in audio and video, includ­ing those by Yale’s Pres­i­dent Richard Levin and Richard Brod­head, the for­mer Dean of Yale Col­lege and now Pres­i­dent of Duke Uni­ver­si­ty.

The one caveat worth men­tion­ing is that these talks were record­ed not long before 9/11. And, in some respects, this may give the lec­tures an out-dat­ed feel. Can we real­ly have a valu­able dis­cus­sion about Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy with­out address­ing 9/11, the war on ter­ror, and the war in Iraq? In some ways no, but in many ways yes. Amer­i­ca is still large­ly Amer­i­ca, the same coun­try it was six years ago, and, for the most part, these dis­cern­ing lec­tures remain high­ly rel­e­vant today. Indeed, Yale has already uploaded some of them to its new pod­cast col­lec­tion on iTunes.

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