1S09 The Mischief of Australian Democracy

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Tutor/Facilitator James Walter

Date: on/from Mon 21 Oct 2019 to end year
Frequency: fortnightly
Class time: 10:00-12:00

Mary Kehoe Centre, Room 1

Other information

This will be a discussion group on contemporary political leadership, with a particular emphasis on Australian experience and current political challenges. The course title draws from a prescient remark by an Australian prime minister, Alfred Deakin, who observed that: “The mischief is that democracy in Australia, as in the United States, insists in attaching extraordinary significance to the personality of its political leaders” (Morning Post, London, 17 May 1909).
Each session will have a thematic focus
1. Leader-centric democracy
2. Leader styles and proclivities
3. Gender and power
4. The myth of the strong leader
5. Why/who do we follow?
One article on each theme will be circulated to participants a fortnight before each meeting, with a series of questions for discussion. The first part of each session will be devoted to those questions and participant responses. The second part will focus on relating what we have garnered from our initial discussion to current political events and challenges.

REQUIREMENTS: Students will need computer and internet access as tutor may post links prior to class for brief video material to be covered.

TUTOR: James Walter is emeritus professor of politics at Monash University, and has taught and published widely on political leadership, biography, and political ideas. His most recent books were What were they thinking? The politics of ideas in Australia (2010); and (with Paul Strangio and Paul ‘t Hart) a two-volume history of the Australian prime ministership: Settling the office (2016) and The pivot of power (2017).