Exploring American Democracy

with Alexis de Tocqueville as Guide

About the Seminar

An NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers

Seminar Directors:  Arthur Goldhammer and Olivier Zunz

Dates: July 18-29, 2016
Location: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Stipend: $2,100 (½ upon arrival at seminar, ½ during second week of seminar)*

Come study the world's greatest book on democracy at the institution founded by America's greatest democratic thinker. Over two mid-summer weeks on the iconic grounds of Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia, 16 NEH Summer Scholars will explore American democracy with Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America as guideaccompanied by two leading experts on Tocqueville and his thought: Arthur Goldhammer (Harvard) and Olivier Zunz (University of Virginia).

Whether you are a political philosopher, a political scientist, an economist, a sociologist, an American or French historian, a legal scholar, a scholar of religion, or a specialist in American or French Studies; whether you are working on a manuscript, designing or re-designing a course, or are just intellectually hungry—this is the seminar for you. As one of the founders of modern social science, Tocqueville worked at the intersection of political science, sociology, history, and economics. Literature also claims him as an elegant and powerful rhetorician. A. Goldhammer and O. Zunz will make themselves available daily throughout the seminar to meet individually with anyone who would like to discuss a manuscript or course design in any of these disciplines, or who would like to discuss Tocqueville's ideas in general. They will also (in separate meetings) gladly accompany anyone with French reading knowledge on a journey through the original text.

Goldhammer and Zunz's intimate knowledge of Tocqueville encompasses the whole of the philosopher-statesman's life and work. Goldhammer translated and Zunz edited Democracy in America (1835, 1840) for the Library of America in 2004. They also translated and edited Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont in America: Their Friendship and Their Travels (University of Virginia Press, 2011)—the American travel journals of Tocqueville and his companion, Beaumont. As an NEH Summer Scholar for this seminar, you will receive complimentary copies of both Democracy in America (in paperback classics from Library of America) and the travel journals (gorgeously illustrated with Beaumont’s watercolors, cloth-bound from University of Virginia Press). Go to "Resources" above and click on "Books for the Seminar" for pictures of the books. Click on “Directors” to learn more about Goldhammer and Zunz.

Please consult the schedule of readings by clicking on "Schedule."

*Stipends are taxable and are intended to help cover project expenses.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.