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Promethean Democracy:
Speculative Governance on a Planetary Scale

Instructor: Jason Adams
Program: Social & Political Thought
Credit(s): 1
Date: Tuesdays, December 5, 12, 19, 26
Time: 8:00-10:30 PM EST

Image: Maasai Warrior, Rodrigo Galdino, 2016

Left critics of “democracy” often argue that, while they might constitute noble political experiments, the more direct forms of it seen in the antiglobalization and occupation movements are ultimately impossible to scale any level higher than relatively small, local groups, and that even representative democratic forms are best suited to nation-states, such that they cannot be expected to function on either macro-regional or planetary levels. Further, for some, the concept of democracy as such is habitually reduced down to its specifically liberal, capitalist form, or reduced to a strictly Western or otherwise privileged instantiation that cannot be apply universally. Yet, various forms of “global democracy” have been evolving for quite a long time, from many demographic and regional quarters, and with considerable tension and divergence over what it is accurately constituted by. In this seminar, we will explore radically democratic “delegative” alternatives to both direct democracy and representative democracy that are scalable on the level of the planetary and that draw upon the most promising aspects of both of the more well-known forms. Following an introductory session, each of the remaining three weeks will focus upon the practical potentialities of a single concept – sortition, isonomia, and diagonality – and will engage artists, theorists, and collectives concerned with the question of how to actualize them into actual decision-making structures on the level of the world as a whole.

Image: Maasai Warrior, Rodrigo Galdino, 2016


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