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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

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POLI 388 (AR; W) Democracy and Nazism (1)

What can we learn from the failed Weimar Republic and the Consolidation of authoritarianism in the form of the Nazi Third Reich about the constitutive elements of democracy in general at the institutional, cultural, and cognitive levels? In exploring the historical record, the course considers the nature of political and moral argument in relation to several modes of discourse: philosophy, art, worldview (Weltanschauung), propaganda, ideology, and deception. In argumentative, ethical, aesthetic, and affective terms, what made agitation for the demise of Weimar democracy persuasive, and conversely, what legitimized participation in the Nazi racial state? Finally, what insights can we apply to contemporary democratic politics?

Prerequisites: One POLI course at the 100/200 level or consent of instructor. Closed to first-year students.

Mode of Inquiry:  Analyzing Arguments, Reasons and Values

General Education Requirement Fullfillment:  Writing centered

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Basu