The topic for the next paper assignment in PLSC240 is “Democracy and Culture”. You will be required to assess the democratic potential of various cultural orientations for democracy, using the Diamond and Morlino volume as a guide. In Assessing the Quality of Democracy, various essential components of democracy are analyzed, including responsiveness, equality, freedom and accountability. Your task will be to comparatively assess the quality of democracy in two countries, one of which is “Western” in its cultural orientation, the other of which is “non-Western.” I’ll have more information for you on the specifics of the assignment when you get back from break on the 18th.
For now, I’ll remind you that on Thursday, those of you who did not leave early for spring break watched a Frontline documentary on Muslims and the democratic potential of Islam. You were shown the diversity in the manner in which Islam is practiced across five different countries–Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, and Turkey, and Nigeria. You were also able to begin to understand the varied roles and treatment of women across all of these predominantly Muslim countries. This tied in well with the Steven Fish article [you have to be on campus to access the article] that you were assigned to read in advance of viewing the video. What is Fish’s argument about the link between women in Islamic societies and democracy? I’ve attached a preview of the documentary below. You can watch the whole documentary online, by clicking here.