Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Mar. 29–May 17
Coordinators: Johnnie Hicks, Jeff Milstein, Peg O’Brien, Bernie Oppel, Gary Parish, Bonnie Nelson
Following the end of the Cold War, the world experienced a rise in the number of countries leaning toward democratic governance. In recent years, however, this trend has reversed as authoritarian leaders are challenging western democracies to strengthen their own dictatorial regimes. This course focuses on better understanding this change while considering its implications for current and future governance. Each presenter will discuss factors such as historical references, societal circumstances, and key policy indicators that move a country toward authoritarian dictatorship.
- Mar. 29: Locating Sources of Authoritarian Governance in Myanmar’s Struggle for Democracy, 1948-2018. Dr. John Dale, associate professor of sociology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mason. Political, economic, and cultural forces have contributed to Burma’s contentious politics of development.
- Apr. 5: Turkey’s Path toward Authoritarianism. Dr. Ahmet S. Yayla, adjunct professor of criminology, law, and society, Mason; former chair of Sociology Department, Harran University, Turkey; and chief of counterterrorism operations department of the Turkish National Police, Sanliurfa, Turkey. There have been consistent efforts over years to transform Turkey from a secular western democracy into a political Islamist and authoritarian state.
- Apr. 12: What Went Wrong? Crisis, Authoritarianism, and War in 1930s Japan. Dr. Brian W. Platt, associate professor of history and department chair, History and Art History Department, Mason. Japan withdrew from its commitments to democracy and cooperative international arrangements in the aftermath of global economic crisis and its own military aggression.
- Apr. 19: Irreconcilable Differences: Cultural Polarization and the Descent into State Terror in Argentina. Dr. Matthew Karush, professor of history and editor-in-chief of Journal of Social History, Mason. Argentina’s 1976-’83 dictatorship was one of many anti-communist states that emerged during the 1960’s and ’70’s; yet its particular high level of violence reflected the countries distinctive political history and deep socio-cultural divisions.
- Apr. 26: Vladimir Putin and Authoritarianism in Russia. Dr. Steven Barnes, Russian history professor, Mason. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Russia experienced a wave of democratic optimism culminating in the end of Communist dictatorship. How did we get from that to wide public support for the relentless authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin?
- May 3: Napoleon: Charting the Course to Authoritarianism. Dr. Jack Censer, former chair of the department of History and Art History and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Mason. From a global perspective, the French Revolution and subsequent rule of Napoleon introduced new principles of governance that continue to define and shape Western thinking today.
- May 10: Nicaragua: From Revolution to Authoritarianism. Roland G. Estrada, US State Department (ret.); served in Nicaragua prior to the fall of the Somoza government and shortly after its downfall. The 1978-79 revolution in Nicaragua marked a significant period in Nicaraguan history and became one of the major proxy battlegrounds of the Cold War.
- May 17: Leninist Party Structures in the 1920s and Ongoing Legacies in China’s Post-1949 Period. Dr. Michael Chang, specialist in the history of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Department of History and Art History, Mason. The authoritarian nature of the Peoples Republic of China, which is dominated by the Chinese Communist Party, must be understood within the context of China's long imperial history and with special reference to the 1920s Leninist party structures.