York School News

What is democracy? Grade 10 World History class reflects

The word democracy comes to us from ancient Greece, and it conveys a seemingly simple idea: the people (demos) rule or hold power (kratos). Over centuries our ideas of democracy have expanded and evolved, with democracy becoming more inclusive and robust in many ways, yet who counts as the people, how they rule, and where they do so remain eternally up for debate.
What is the nature and character of the democracies we live in today? Students in Mr. Pitblado's grade 10 World History class tackled this question by exploring how ancient civilizations – from Classical Greece to Republican Rome – and applied it through a modern lens. 

“The history of democracy is one of oppression, exploitation, demagoguery, dispossession, domination, horror, and abuse. But it is also a history of cooperation, solidarity, deliberation, emancipation, justice, and empathy.”
 
Assigned to groups, students were challenged to think about democracy as a balance of paradoxes or opposites: between freedom and equality, conflict and consensus, inclusion and exclusion, coercion and choice, spontaneity and structure, expertise and mass opinion, the local and the global, and the present and the future.
 
This online exhibition presents their research and ideas, asking us to think about democracy in new ways, to consider how the past can inform the present, and to challenge us all to answer our central historical and philosophical question: what is democracy?
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Canada's first co-educational independent IB World School
The York School is a co-educational JK to Grade 12 independent school located in the heart of Toronto. The York School was founded in 1965 and is the first school in Canada accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) from junior kindergarten (JK) to university entrance. As an IB World School, The York School's motto is Experientia Docet or Experience Teaches.

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