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.