While the SCS campus remains closed, on-campus classes will continue to be held remotely. These courses usually run during their regularly scheduled time and are held in synchronous sessions conducted via Zoom. Students should work with their academic advisors to develop course schedules that meet their academic and personal needs.
Democracy: Theory and Practice
Political philosophers have argued that people always strive for liberty
under just governments. Political historians have figured that
democracy's global spread was inevitable. Now pundits talk about
democracy's retreat, "illiberal" democracy, and a "post truth" world.
Defining the genuine nature of democracy, setting valid criteria for
democratic governing, and ranking countries from most to least
democratic, is now more important than ever. We will explore theories of
human rights, civil liberties, social justice, and citizen participation
to observe their work in practice across a variety of established and
newer democracies. What will be democracy's future? The strategies of
anti-democratic agendas, domestic and foreign, also compel the question
of whether a democracy like the United States can resist misinformation
and propaganda more effectively than undemocratic nations.
The Doctor of Liberal Studies thesis is expected to demonstrate a level of competence and academic rigor in the field of interdisciplinary studies comparable to, though distinct from, the equivalent level of competence and rigor expected in a Ph.D. thesis in a disciplinary field.
Topics are limited to the liberal arts and social sciences and must be approved by the DLS Director. The Doctoral Thesis represents the creative synthesis of primary sources and secondary materials. Students must follow the Graduate Liberal Studies Guidelines for Thesis Writers provided each student upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examination for steps and procedures in the preparation and defense of the Thesis Proposal as well as the submission, defense, and approval of the DLS thesis. The Guidelines are also online, liberalstudies.georgetown.edu/DLS students/resources/thesis. Additionally, the student must follow the “rules” of manuscript preparation according to the methods provided in A Manual for Writers, 8th edition, Kate Turabian, in particular, the choice of one of the two suggested styles for citations.
The MALS Thesis Writing course must be taken upon completion of the MALS Thesis Proposal course (LSHV 800) in the subsequent fall or spring semester and is the final curricular requirement for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree. In the MALS Thesis Writing course, students will work directly with their appointed thesis mentor to produce a master’s thesis and participate in a thesis defense. Students are expected to work directly with their thesis mentor and library representatives to actively write and produce the thesis argument. At the commencement of the thesis writing semester, students will develop milestones in consultation with the thesis mentor to ensure consistent progress.
Note: This 3 credit course is required for all MALS students who matriculated in fall 2019 and after.
The Court, The Constitution, and the Shaping of the American Nation
Alexander Hamilton, in making his pitch for ratification of the Constitution, wrote in The Federalist No.78: "Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them.... It proves incontestably, that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power."
Hamilton's soothing minimalist assurances notwithstanding, Chief Justice John Marshall proved not only to be a major annoyance to President Jefferson (and Congress, as well as State governors, legislatures and judges); he established the until-then quiescent Supreme Court as a power center. On and on it went. This course takes a contra-Rushmorean approach to the exercise of power in the United States. Tracing the development of the nation through key Supreme Court decisions from Marbury v. Madison to the just-completed Fall 2019-Spring 2020 Term of the Court, it focuses on the unelected power center at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
Consider: Marshall, not Jefferson, laid the groundwork for the modern American nation by articulating decidedly non-Jeffersonian concepts in Marbury and McCulloch. Earl Warren, not Congress or the President, reinvigorated the Fourteenth Amendment and implemented the Second Reconstruction through Brown v. Board of Education. And Warren Burger toppled a vast criminal enterprise operated out of the Oval Office, saying in essence, the emperor is not clothed
in executive privilege Teflon (United States v. Nixon). So much for "the weakest branch." On and on it goes.
This course will employ an interdisciplinary approach to examine the motivations and situations that lead some individuals to pose a threat to U.S. national security. The course will draw on a range of disciplines and approaches including anthropology, psychology (cognitive, cultural, social, forensic), linguistics, narratology, and positioning theory, among others, to gain insight into the decision-making calculus that lead certain individuals to “cross the line”, i.e. to make
personal decisions to take actions that will ultimately damage U.S. national security.
The course qualitatively divides threats by individuals to U.S. national security into three categories: treason, terrorism and betrayal. The first third of the course will focus on individuals who have agreed to work as an agent of a foreign government to provide protected U.S. information damaging to U.S. national security. Various frameworks and analytic approaches that have been used to understand their behavior will be introduced and critiqued.
The second third of the course will focus on terrorism and the analytic attempts to understand the pathways that lead to radicalization and potentially extremist behavior directed at the U.S. by individuals. The final third of the course will focus on betrayal by individuals who have obtained security clearances but have violated their secrecy agreement through the unauthorized release of classified information to the public that endangers U.S. national security.
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Doctor of Liberal Studies program.
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This program has multiple applications available. Please select your preferred term.
Guidance Related to COVID-19
Updated Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 at 12:35 PM EDT
SCS continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and respond in support of the University community. Currently, all summer term courses will continue through distance instruction.
In terms of the Fall 2021 semester, the School of Continuing Studies will resume regular operations effective August 16 at the 640 Massachusetts Avenue building, unless otherwise noted for specific programs.