May 19, 2022 at 10:17 am

Summer Institute for Teachers | Democracy and Totalitarianism: Historical and Literary Lenses, June 14-16

George Orwell and Alexis de Tocqueville book covers

The Charles J. Ping Institute for the Humanities proudly presents: “Democracy and Totalitarianism: Historical and Literary Lenses,” a three-day workshop for high school teachers of the humanities on June 14-16, 2022.

  • What are the unique features of a democracy?
  • What are the conditions for and consequences of totalitarianism?
  • Can democracies become totalitarian and how does that shift begin?
  • Who benefits from each system of governance?
  • Can totalitarianism be reversed?

These and other topics will be considered in the three-day Ping Summer Institute for high school teachers led by Special Collections Librarian Miriam Intrator, History Professor Brian Schoen, and English Professor Linda Rice.

Participants will explore democracy and totalitarianism in history and literature with excerpts from two of the most well-known texts as centerpieces: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835, 1840) and George Orwell’s 1984 (1949). Separated by a century, these classic texts capture distinctive moments in the interplay between democracy and totalitarianism, the first when democracy was ascendant in the United States and the second when it seemed imperiled by World War II and the rise of the Soviet Union. Workshops will provide both context and close textual analysis with participants engaging in topics of considerable contemporary relevance.

The workshop will be held on the campus of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and will include five two-hour meetings over June 14-16. Between meetings and in the evenings, participants can tour the university campus and its buildings as well as historic downtown Athens. The Ping Institute will provide a single-person accommodations at the Ohio University Inn adjacent to the campus.

The five meetings during the workshop are scheduled for:

  • 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 and 15
  • 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, June 16

The workshop is limited to 15 participants to enable active discussion. There is no charge for this workshop. Those wishing to register should write to Fred Drogula at Those who complete the workshop will be presented with certificates recording 10 contact hours that they may present to their respective LPDC.




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