Call for Proposals: Democracy Lab, Working Groups and Book Fellowship

The Democracy Initiative is pleased to announce a call for new rotating Democracy Lab, Working Groups and Book Fellowship Proposals.  Proposals are due on October 1, 2021. 


A ZOOM INFORMATION SESSION WILL BE HELD FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH AT 2:00PM. 

To RSVP for the information session, please contact, Ellen Ochs at [email protected] or via phone #202-412-5905.


DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE BACKGROUND

Across the world, democracies are facing extraordinary challenges. The vision of democracy as globally ascendant, proclaimed by some as inevitable just a few short decades ago, has proven to be far more precarious than the most optimistic predictions foretold. And many established democracies have increasingly struggled with a host of pressures unleashed by successive waves of economic, societal, and cultural changes — developments that have revealed fundamental tensions within and between democratic principles and practices, bringing to light deep contradictions present from their founding moments.

The challenges confronting democracy today are as diverse in form as they are in origin, and it may be tempting to regard these phenomena as harbingers of decline: the dissolution of a unified concept of “the public,” the failure of democratic states to effectively mediate social and economic inequalities, and the erosion of faith in institutions. But while it is true that democracy today faces daunting pressures, democracies have always had to struggle with their own contradictions and ambivalences in order to thrive. In this light, the public’s sense that we are in a moment of crisis can — and often does — lead to a broader reimagining of what democracy is and how its fundamental promises, as well as the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, can be realized. We are living in such a moment of possibility, and as such, see it as an opportunity to not merely defend but ultimately deepen and extend democracy in our time, making it stronger, more resilient, and truer to its purpose for future generations.

The Democracy Initiative supports projects and rotating democracy labs, anchored by the John L. Nau III Lab on the History and Principles of Democracy, in order to assess the historical and contemporary challenges facing democracy, articulating the means to address them, and giving voice to a vision for what democracy must be. 

This year, the Democracy Initiative invites proposals for three forms of support for faculty interested in grappling with these challenges through research, teaching, and public engagement. We will once again be funding a new Democracy Lab starting in the Fall of 2022, as well as offering new support for Democracy Working Groups and Democracy Book Fellowships. 

While understandings of democracy -- both in theory and practice -- are diverse and ever-changing, the Initiative is focusing on conditions widely accepted as necessary to evaluate the health of a democracy:

  • Inclusive and responsible citizenship predicated upon liberty, equality, and tolerance;
  • Trusted, effective, and accountable governing institutions and resilient democratic governance in world affairs;
  • Fact-based civil discourse and communications media;
  • Recognition of the fundamental role of arts and culture in shaping political engagement and imagination; and
  • Economic policies that provide equal opportunity and mobility for all.

The engine for our work is the alignment of research, teaching, and engagement in public affairs, animated by the work of faculty, staff and students and informed by engagement with key stakeholders – from community leaders to partnerships with peer domestic and international organizations. Foundational to all we do is the pursuit of a deep understanding of the history, philosophy, and practice of democracy and of the central role of arts and culture in shaping public debate and democratic practice. 

CALL FOR DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE LABS, WORKING GROUPS, AND BOOK PROJECTS

The Democracy Initiative, alongside similar programs at the University of Virginia, addresses an urgent need in academia: interdisciplinary and expansive examination of the broad issues and challenges facing domestic and global democracy. To achieve our goals, we have developed the a constellation of programs to support research, teaching, and public and policy engagement for which we invite applications from UVA faculty in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. 

Timeline For Labs, Working Groups And Book Fellowships

  • JULY 21, 2021:                     Call for Applications Distributed
  • AUG/SEPT 2021:                  Information Sessions via Zoom
  • OCTOBER 1, 2021:              Applications Due/Review Begins
  • FEBRUARY 2022:                Labs, Working Groups, and Book Fellowships Selected
  • MARCH-AUGUST 2022:    Planning period (grant supported) for New Lab
  • AUGUST 2022:                     Lab, Working Groups, & Fall Book Fellowships Begin
  • JANUARY 2023:                  Spring Semester Book Fellowships Begin 

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON DEMOCRACY LAB PROPOSALS 

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON WORKING GROUP PROPOSALS 

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON BOOK FELLOWSHIP PROPOSALS 


For further information contact:

Ellen Ochs
Democracy Initiative Chief of Staff
[email protected]


2020 CALL FOR DEMOCRACY LAB PROPOSALS