It was Monday, the first day of class, when after spending some minutes introducing ourselves we briefly brainstormed what democracy is! It was on that that I was intrigued by the people’s ability to conceptualize and speak their thoughts with all clarity. Though I didn’t say it, but one student made a clear distinction between ideal and substantive democracy in that preliminary discussion in our first class meeting. This was amazing, and throughout the semester the class remained active with people participating and professor Kendhammer explaining things whenever we stumbled upon something.
Of the assignments, the peer review exercise was very helpful. The comments we received from the instructor and fellow students really helped me get going with the paper I was writing. The democratic index exercise was also another avenue to put theory into practice – it helped explain democracy in concrete terms.
In all, I learned so much from this class. First, although it is difficult to define democracy, it is still an achievable thing. Secondly, democracy depends upon the elite’s willingness and ability to compromise and share power with the masses. Thus reducing the incentives and privileges one would get for being a leader will always help reach that stage.
I think the class was well organized and Dr. Kendhammer gave class members equal opportunity and enough time to discuss the various phenomena we were looking at. The Professor gave enough guidance to make us think, and was also accepting of people’s differing opinion, and I think that was great.