Upcoming Events

The Democracy Project 2021

The Fragility and Strength of American Democracy

Click on the link above for the full list of events and recordings of past events. 

DP Poster Revised 2 4 21

Due to travel restrictions this year, the Democracy Project will consist of a series of public events, lectures, and dialogues around our own American Democracy from a variety of perspectives: historical, contemporary, and philosophical. Selected events will be open to the public via Zoom and other venues.

What is the Democracy Project at Southern Oregon University? 

The Democracy Project (DP) is a comprehensive examination of democracy in the US and around the world in the twenty-first century. This project involves Southern Oregon University Honors College Scholars, other interested students, faculty, staff, and community members. Some of the issues to be studied include the history and evolution of democracy, sovereignty, nationalism, citizenship, feminism, patriotism, imperialism, freedom, liberty, security, and equality. 

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Democracy Project, India, 2015


More Information about the Democracy Project at SOU

Questions that Guide the DP

  • What are some key underlying principles of democracy?
  • What is the proper role of government in a democracy? 
  • What is the appropriate balance between individual liberties and collective human rights? 
  • What are some of the responsibilities and duties of citizens in a democracy?
  • What are some weaknesses of democracy? 

How does the Democracy Project Work? 

Planning for each iteration of the Democracy Project begins at least a year in advance of any actual trip to visit a democracy at home or around the world. When a specific location is selected, prospective participants are invited to participate in monthly colloquia on the history of democracies, foundational documents in a global history of democracies, examples of different types of democracies from around the world, and reports of lessons learned from previous Democracy Project trips. These meetings are open to anyone interested in the Democracy Project. Those who elect to travel on the Democracy Project trip will be expected to commit to a set of formal preparatory meetings, and will be responsible for costs associated with travel, lodging, etc.

Participants in the project write "Dispatches" from their experiences and observations to share with our larger community. All trips include visits with seats of government—representatives   of various levels of local, regional, national, and international government as well as visits with community groups. When possible, we look for opportunities for service learning.

A goal of the Democracy Project is to organize annual workshops or symposiums (or symposia)  at SOU and other venues, moderated by Honors College Scholars and other interested participants, to share what they learned about democracy with high school students and our larger community in the Rogue Valley in an experiential lesson in participatory democracy in action.  

Past Destinations:

Washington, D.C.



South Africa

Italy and Greece


Future Destinations: 

Within the USA: Oregon Tribes, other native communities, selected states, American Samoa


Scandinavian countries 

South Africa