From Autocracy to Democracy

History | Social Sciences

Course Description

We will discuss the rise of demagogues in the 20th and 21st centuries and explore the fundamental question of whether democracy as we know it is dying or whether it is evolving into a new system. We will read excerpts from works of philosophers as well as excerpts from Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy and Madeleine Albright’s Fascism. We will discuss populism as an instrument affecting the change of system. 

From earliest records until today, tension has existed between strong national leaders and those they govern. Evolving alongside other ideas, like that of a divine contract, social contract theory is based on an agreement between rulers and the ruled. These agreements have been subject to change over time and are often in flux. 

This course will delve into the philosophic aspects of the social contract. What responsibilities are required of the rulers? What rights and duties do the ruled have? What difficulties arise from competing expectations? What approaches have been attempted to solve these problems? 

In our discussions we will try to establish where we currently are on the spectrum of autocracy and democracy and what forces are active in producing this change. 

There are no books to purchase for this course.

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Church of Saint John the Baptist, 233 Ste. Claire Ave., Pointe-Claire QC H9S 4E3

First Session: Monday 19 September 2022

Course Length: 12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Irene Menear, Peter Jankowski

Degree Credit: 3 credits

Course Fees: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

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If you are NEW to TMI

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