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Dr. Eric Weiner’s Response to Jill Lepore’s Piece on Democracy in Peril Published in The New Yorker

Posted in: College News and Events

Democracy in Peril image from The New Yorker

Dr. Eric Weiner, Associate Professor in the Educational Foundations Department, wrote a response to Jill Lepore’s piece on democracy in peril, and it was recently published by The New Yorker.

He stated: “I was happy that Lepore wrote about the schoolteachers and other citizens who took an active role in pro-democracy activities in the nineteen-thirties, when many people in the U.S. were turning to authoritarian systems for comfort and security. It is worth noting that a large percentage of these teachers were women, who knew firsthand what it meant to live without agency in a developing democracy. They had learned through their struggle for suffrage how to organize, mobilize, and, most important, educate. It is no surprise that these teacher-led forums had a pedagogical function; that is, they subtly taught a diverse citizenship that democracies survive only when people are compelled to listen, learn, challenge, argue, and find common ground. And, as Lepore points out, they ultimately helped move the U.S. against authoritarianism. It is unclear whether we can again educate an anxious citizenship about the benefits of democracy, but we must try.”