Democracy Studies Minor
Democracy Studies is designed to help students explore and critically examine the foundations, structures and purposes of diverse democratic institutions and practices in human experience. Democracy Studies at St. Mary’s College combines a unique appreciation of Maryland’s democratic roots at St. Mary’s City with contemporary social and political scholarship, to better understand the value of democratic practices to human functioning and the contribution of democratic practices to a society’s development. The primary goal of the program of study is to provide students with a deeper understanding of how democracies are established, instituted and improved.
Students are expected to combine historical, philosophical and contemporary perspectives on democracy to survey the wide range of democratic experiences in our world today. This combination of perspectives is intended to help students understand the multiple paths societies can take toward democratic institutions and practices. The Cross-Disciplinary Studies Area in Democracy Studies assumes that a multi-disciplinary approach to democratic studies provides students with the most appropriate basis to evaluate democratic experiences and to compare them across societies. The minor in Democracy Studies, recognizes, as stated in the college catalog, that students have the opportunity to concentrate their coursework in an area without the intention of a major. Students are also required to participate in or contribute to civil society or democratic processes in the United States or in other countries of their choice. The purpose of this practicum is to develop and reinforce their civic obligations to our communities, by institutionalizing their civic commitments and contributions to society.
"For my outside engagement, I did a set of two internships, one working in the Parliament of Canada for Alexa McDonough of the New Democratic Party, and one working in the press office for Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), both of them through programs that St. Mary's professors helped me find. It really gave me a chance to see how Democracy (writ large and small) worked across different cultures and different styles of government, as well as how important party and institutional structures can be to determining how much influence people can have on the legislative process. I got to see the way that people interact with their governments, their elected officials, and each other, all while living in Ottawa and DC."
--Jeremy Pevner, ’09 (now at Cornell University)
"I was fortunate to get involved in politics at a relatively young age. Working on Mr. Gansler's 2006 campaign for Attorney General gave me an opportunity to be fully immersed in the very electoral process that we discuss regularly in class but rarely have the opportunity to experience. I also had the privilege of working in the chambers of a federal District judge during my junior year. Having an all-access pass to the American judiciary was an extremely rewarding as well as enlightening experience, especially for an aspiring attorney. I am attending the University of Virginia School of Law in the fall."
--S. Jae Lim '09