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Fall 2023 Course


Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This course offers an innovative and immersive experience in which students will explore the fundamental question of whether we, as individuals and society as a whole, are capable of governing ourselves. Using a unique virtual environment called Nymity, students will engage in pseudonymous text-based communication with their peers, de-identifying their authorship and relying solely on the power of their words to establish relationships, deliberate and build a community.

Nymity is designed to function as a sandbox for students to learn the use and power of words, and in the process, to develop skills in governing themselves as part of a group. Through this platform, students are able to explore and experience the concept of a Habermasian Public Sphere, in which individuals come together as equals to discuss and deliberate on issues of common concern.

Over the course of the term, students will have the opportunity to learn and practice various functionalities of democratic sovereignty, such as setting rules, making decisions, and resolving conflicts. They will also examine the challenges and opportunities that inevitably arise when individuals come together, including issues related to identity, diversity, inclusivity and belonging.

By the end of the course, students will have gained a deeper understanding of the dynamics of self-governance, as well as the skills and tools needed to be effective participants in localized democratic processes. They will also have developed a greater appreciation for the power of words and the importance of thoughtful deliberation in achieving collective goals.

There will be no exam in this course. Assessment will be based on two papers.