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WHaLI 2022 | Democracy in World History & Literature

A Workshop for History, Social Studies & E.L.A. Teachers

June 13, 2022
1010 Weiser Hall



WHaLI 2022 registration »


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Rima Hassouneh

“As long as there are people,” explained Czech statesman Vaclav Havel, “democracy in the full sense of the word will always remain an ideal.” Indeed, while democracies have developed for thousands of years all around the world, they have proven difficult to sustain and often fail to live up to their ideals. Democracies endeavor to increase the chances of achieving the greatest good for the greatest number, but in practice, they can and have systematically excluded populations deemed unworthy of participation and belonging. The history of democracy also underscores that democratic structures and practices must be continuously reimagined, through formalized state-level reforms and through popular movements with transformative goals. Given humanity’s long experiment with democracy, we have a rich historical and literary heritage capturing the ideas, processes, and practices that have driven varied democratic expression among diverse global communities. To what extent does democratic representation bring about greater recognition of the rights of all people? How do people organize themselves to gain greater representation? 

The World History & Literature Initiative’s (WHaLI’s) workshop for secondary teachers focuses on these issues, using examples drawn from different historical times and areas of the world. 

The symposium also explores how we can teach democracy as both a historical and civic concept, as well as a process relevant to students’ everyday lives. Teachers will consider opportunities for democratizing pedagogy and centering students’ civic agency in our classrooms.


Sponsors: University of Michigan International Institute & School of Education. This event is funded in part by Title VI NRC grants from the U.S. Department of Education.