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AGS Grad Student Conference 2009 Paris: Democracy in the 21st Century: Relevant, Redundant, Risk?

The American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy
and the Graduate Student Conference Committee is proud to present
AGS Graduate Student Conference Protected content
June 2 & 3, Protected content

Questioning Democracy in the 21st Century: Relevant, Redundant or Risk?

Democracy as a form of governance has a tumultuous history. Today, it has
entered the jargon of international governance as the buzzword signifying
civility and order. Democracy, its definition and content have been highly
debated, recommended, exported, and above all, highly criticized. George
Bernard Shaw said, "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many
for appointment by the corrupt few." H.L Mencken mocked democracy as " a
pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." Oscar Wilde
contended, "Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the
people for the people." And J.S Mill wrote "If all mankind minus one were of one
opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no
more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would
be justified in silencing mankind.”
From the American and French revolutions, two models emerged. And
throughout the following two centuries that followed, a multitude of
democratically styled governments arose, flourished, failed, or were forgotten.
(i.e. representative democracy, parliamentary democracy, liberal democracy,
constitutional democracy, direct democracy, socialist democracy, anarchist
democracy, consensus democracy etc).
The 21st century was inaugurated by an almost complete lack of other
dominant forms of governance on the world’s stage. Democracy became the
catchword not only for aspirations of peoples but also for foreign policy goals of
western governments. But, if history is to teach us anything, it is that nothing is
static and nothing is stable.
The AGS Graduate Student Conference Protected content bring together students and
academics, professionals and researchers in order to present studies on this
immensely important topic. We invite papers that explore broad concepts of
democracy while examining key questions such as:

• What does this historical lesson have to teach us about the present and
future forms of democracy? Is democracy as we have known it still
relevant in our present world? Is the form of governance born from
revolution redundant in a world where revolution seems more and
more impossible because of greater interdependence and concentrated

• As more governments across the world sign on to the ideological front
of the spread of Democracy, what are the risks for self?determination,
independence, and the demos? Is there a discrepancy between the idea
and practice of a democracy? How do different countries and cultures
impact democracy? How do race, gender, ethnicity, class and religion
impact our examination of democracy?

• Is democracy the best form of governance for all societies?
Can/Should democracy be exported? Why does it take for a democracy
to survive and succeed?

• Does democracy foster freedom? Are democracy and freedom
compatible? Does democracy lead to inclusions and exclusions? Who
are the winners and losers in a democracy? Is democracy a rhetorical

• Can democracies function without force and violence?

• What are the economic issues that threaten or propagate Democracy in
the ‘globalized’ world? Is the increasing interdependency of the world
harmful or helpful? What are the possibilities that the free market
aspect of western Democracy will aid or hinder greater democratic

• In this era of terrorism and global policing, will the new security
challenges have a great or minute effect on Democracy? With a
situation where all governments must work together to combat global
security issues, from terrorism to black markets to drug trafficking, is
there ample space for determination by the people?

• The twentieth century was ripe with regional organization formation.
From the EU to ASEAN to MERCOSUR, states came to together to work
for common goals. In such situations, the theoretical thought influences
us to expect some sort of surrendering of sovereignty. What are the
consequences of the proliferation of International Organizations and
Regional Organizations for Democratic governance? Can a behemoth or
a leviathan be governed by something called demos?

• International Law is growing everyday as states cooperate in commerce
and global governance. Issues such as Gender equality, Human Rights,
Global Health, Global Commerce, and Global Security, to name a few, are
now negotiated at an international level. This law is new and
overarching. But does International Law trump National Law? Is the
preservation on the world’s stage more important that the internal
determinacy of state mandated law? What effects may International
Law have on the Democratic legislation of ‘sovereign’ nations in the 21st

These issues and more will be included under the theme: Democracy in the
21st Century: Relevant, Redundant, or Risk? Abstracts and Papers may be
submitted to Protected content . Abstracts of Protected content will be accepted
for determination of participation. If entire papers are submitted, please include
a 500?word abstract. All participants will be required to submit a full paper 4
weeks before the conference. Questions can also be addressed to
Protected content .

Abstracts – March 1, Protected content
Complete Papers – May 3, Protected content
Fees and Conditions
A Participation fee of 25 Euros may be paid upon acceptance at
The Graduate Student Conference Committee will provide visa letters upon
Housing with AGSIRD students is possible
Travel Grants are available to a limited number of participants (total number
to be determined after March deadline)
Presentations are in English

101 bd Raspail
Protected content , France
Telephone: Protected content
Email: Protected content
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