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Expertise and Democracy

Semester and Year FA 2015
Course Number IDSEM-UG1848
Section 001
Instructor Gianpaolo Baiocchi
Days F
Time 11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC


Formerly titled and numbered, Tools for Social Change, CLI-UG 1403.


One of the central questions facing activists and reformers is that of expertise. We live an increasingly complex world in which experts of all sorts are unavoidable. Many of central issues facing us - from climate change to global poverty and vaccinations - are problems that require expert knowledge to adjudicate. What role should experts play in a democracy? How can we productively articulate expertise and democracy? Using activism and social change as a backdrop, students will explore theoretical questions as well as practical attempts from the world of social justice to resolve these issues. We will explore the literature in both science studies and in democratic theory and will explore a range of case studies of attempts to "democratize expertise." Guest speakers will include activists from local organizations and former Gallatin students who have gone on to pursue activism. Readings will include a range of “classic” and more contemporary texts on the connection between expertise and democracy, including: Paulo Freire, Martin Luther King, Cornel West,Frances Moore Lappe, among others.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)