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Grant number: FS-231090-15

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University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
Olivier J. Zunz (Project Director: February 2015 to present)

Exploring American Democracy, with Alexis de Tocqueville as Guide

A two-week seminar for sixteen college and university teachers to engage in a close reading of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.

A two-week seminar for college and university teachers on Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835, 1840) to be held at the University of Virginia in summer 2016. The seminar is designed for colleagues looking for sustained intellectual engagement with this profound and still unsurpassed study of democracy as both political system and social form. No political thinker has delved into the question of the “common good” more profoundly than Alexis de Tocqueville. For Tocqueville, the idea of the common good was the result of a society’s reflection upon itself, a reflection guided by the light of the Tocquevillean concept of “self-interest properly understood.” Tocqueville's insights penetrate to the heart of the “liberal democratic values” frequently invoked in contemporary political debate but less frequently examined. This two-week seminar aims to unpack the meaning of those values and show how they bear on contemporary debates.

Project fields:
History, General; Political Theory; Social Sciences, General

Seminars for College Teachers

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$75,368 (approved)
$75,346 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 12/31/2016