Pathways to Research Preeminence: Democracy

The UVA Democracy focus area will facilitate a deeper understanding of democratic principles, and examine the broad issues, challenges and opportunities facing democracies today. Our approach will be capacious, comprehensive and multidisciplinary, and rely upon research, teaching and engagement in public affairs. We will focus on the principles and philosophy of democracy, as well as the means to create and the prospects for: inclusive and responsible citizenship predicated upon liberty, equality, and tolerance; trusted, effective, and accountable governing institutions; economic policies that provide equal opportunity and mobility for all; fact-based civil discourse and communications media; and resilient democratic governance in world affairs.

Below are some of the initiatives each of our schools have that are focused on Democracy:

Bill Clinton, White House Alumni Headline UVA’S Presidential Ideas Festival

Just more than 200 years ago, three U.S. presidents gathered to lay the cornerstone for the University of Virginia, a place they hoped would educate the future leaders of their fledgling democracy.

Former President Bill Clinton closed out the festival on Friday, ending three days of discussion between White House veterans, policymakers, UVA faculty members, students and audience members. 

Bill Clinton, White House Alumni Headline UVA’S Presidential Ideas Festival
(Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
Siva Vaidhyanathan and Todd Sechser
Dan Addison, University Communications

Democracy Initiative to Launch Two New Labs

Politics professor Todd Sechser and media studies professor Siva Vaidhyanathan will direct the two newest labs for interdisciplinary research sponsored by the University of Virginia’s Democracy Initiative.

The Democracy Initiative is dedicated to the study of how democracies have fared in their efforts to achieve legitimacy, stability, civil equality, accountability, prosperity and resilience in the face of contemporary and past challenges.

New Mellon Grant Supports Democracy Initiative

$2.95 million to support the Democracy Initiative, an interdisciplinary teaching, research and engagement effort announced last year to bring together a diverse range of scholars, government leaders and practitioners.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Virginia $2.95 million to support the Democracy Initiative, an interdisciplinary teaching, research and engagement effort announced last year to bring together a diverse range of scholars, government leaders and practitioners to study and advance the prospects of democracy around the world.

“The grant is continued validation – by one of the country’s premier philanthropic institutions – of the importance of the work underway at the University of Virginia.”

New Mellon Grant Supports Democracy Initiative
(Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
Christian West photo
Dan Addison, University Communications

Christian West Awarded Research Funds to Explore Black Experience at UVA

Kenan Scholars will examine the impact of the University of Virginia’s history on black Lawn residents’ experience and the evolution of the pavilion gardens from workplaces to showplaces.

While we know much about the Academical Village’s conception by Jefferson, we do not have much evidence on the day-to-day lived experiences of its most recent residents,” West said. “This study will document a cross-section of this population, black alumni Lawn residents, and provide a narrative of their experience while living on the Lawn.

“It will also highlight the present implications of the institution’s history with slavery and segregation to tell a fuller history of the Academical Village.”