Delaware Humanities is Delaware’s independent, non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Founded in 1973, Delaware Humanities strengthens our communities by encouraging all Delawareans to be inspired, informed, and engaged through exploring the diversity of the human experience.
There are more elections than ever before, and yet the world is becoming less democratic. This is the primary paradox presented by the authors of How to Rig an Election. Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas, two political scientists and preeminent experts on democracy and elections, examine how authoritarian leaders can gain and maintain political power by taking advantage of weaknesses in electoral systems. Using data collected from more than 500 interviews in 11 countries as well as a global data set of every elections held over the past 60 years, the authors lay out how gerrymandering, vote buying, repression, hacking, and ballot box stuffing are used by autocrats to ‘rig elections’ and what can be done to protect democracies.
This book discussion focuses primarily on the book and on the global state of democracy more generally. Leading the discussion is Justin Collier, PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. His research includes public diplomacy, nationalism, national identity, and ethnic conflict.
This free, online discussion is hosted by the Dover Public Library. Registration required.
Free and fair elections are an important aspect of political freedom. Elections are generally viewed as the most important form of political participation in modern representative democracies. They are a vital part of democratic processes, including political transitions, implementation of peace agreements and consolidation of democracy. However, there is more to democracy than holding elections. If the election process is corrupted, the democracy based on the election may be considered a fraud. Democracies must be ever vigilant to protect this foundational element of political freedom from the dangers arrayed against it. Threats such as ballot stuffing on election day, digital election interference, disinformation campaigns, media manipulation, voter intimidation, bribery, regulatory obstacles, and the jailing of political opposition figures can all work to the benefit of autocratic leaders and to the detriment of the democratic process.
This panel will feature experts in electoral politics in three regions around the world – Eastern Europe and Russia (Mike Smeltzer, Freedom House), the Middle East and North Africa (Elizabeth Reiter Dettmer, International Foundation for Electoral Systems), and the United States (David B. Ebner, University of Delaware). They will discuss elections in these regions, the threats posed to free and fair elections, and what is being done to protect the electoral processes in these areas.
Mike Smeltzer (Freedom House): Mike Smeltzer is the Research Analyst for Nations in Transit, Freedom House’s annual survey of democratic governance from Central Europe to Eurasia. He serves as an expert on developments in the post-Soviet space in the Nations in Transit survey region. Prior to joining Freedom House, Mike’s professional experience included stints in both the non-profit and higher education sectors, where he worked in operational and research capacities. He holds a master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies from Harvard University and a B.A. in Russian language and philosophy from St. Olaf College.
Elizabeth Reiter Dettmer (International Foundation for Electoral Systems): Elizabeth (Liz) Reiter Dettmer is a senior program manager for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), specializing in civil society development, civic and voter education, empowerment of marginalized communities and rights-based advocacy. From 2015-19, Dettmer helped design and lead the Musharaka Forum, a project geared toward the grassroots Syrian community living in Turkey to explore issues such as civic engagement, political participation, and democratic decision-making. From 2012-13, Dettmer was based in Tripoli, Libya, where she was involved in the design and implementation of the first IFES “Women’s Leadership Training and Internship Program.” In 2006-07, Liz was based in in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for a post-conflict elections and civic education project. Over the years, Dettmer has directly supported projects in over a dozen countries across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. She is fluent in French and holds a master’s degree in international law from the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies and a bachelor’s degree in international politics and French from Frostburg State University in Maryland.
David B. Ebner (University of Delaware): David B. Ebner is a Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He has published articles on political polarization, ethnicity and political participation, and U.S. humanitarian military intervention. Professor Ebner earned his Ph. D from the University of Southern California (2020) in Political Science and International Relations, and is an American scholar from Syracuse, New York. His research focuses on race, foreign policy, and elections in the United States. He joined the University of Delaware in Fall of 2020.
Free event, registration required.
Winter 2020/2021 brings a new Vision for Grants
- We are implementing our Strategic Plan (more to follow), so we’re embarking on a Listening Tour to learn about how we can best serve Delawareans through the grants we award and the programming we do
- During this time, our Spring Vision Grants – normally solicited in early April, will be paused.
- We will continue to process and award Opportunity Grants throughout 2021 to qualified Delaware nonprofit organizations.
- For further details, see the Grants Page.
Black Lives Matter in DelawareJune 10, 2020
The killing of George Floyd has brought attention once again to systemic racial inequalities in America, and a lot has already been said. Rather than reiterate what so many in the Black community have been saying for generations, Delaware Humanities would instead like to place a spotlight on those voices in our state.
There is never a better time to listen to those most affected by the ongoing atrocity of racism and injustice. The humanities help us to understand what it means to be human. With such a wide array of human experiences across cultures and communities, the only way to truly understand is to engage in the learning process both actively and reflectively….
Delaware Humanities COVID-19 MessageMarch 16, 2020
Delaware Humanities believes that public health and safety are top priorities.
With the growing prevalence of COVID-19, or Coronavirus, in Delaware, we are monitoring on a daily basis both federal and state guidance on how to minimize exposure to and spread of the virus. The health and peace of mind of our staff, board, partners, grantees, and program participants will guide our decision-making in the coming weeks.
We will post updates on our website. We will also keep our calendar up to date. We recommend that you periodically visit us here at our website and on our calendar of events for the latest information on the status of program and grant-supported events.
Fall Cycle FY21 Vision Grants Awarded!January 30, 2020
Congratulations to all of our newly minted grantees – we awarded 7 Vision Grants, with funds totaling $68,750.00!
* Bowers Beach Maritime Museum: Bowers Beach Buccaneer Bash
* Delaware Historical Society: Women, Politics, and Activism Public Program Series
* Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League: Delaware Main Street Marshall Plan Speaker Series
* One Village Alliance: Girls Can Do Anything 2020!
* Choir School of Delaware: Brush Up Your Shakespeare
* The Colored Conventions Project/University of Delaware: Mary Ann Shadd Cary: Civil and Voting Rights Pioneer from Wilmington to Canada West
* The Delaware Contemporary: A Contemporary Centennial: Representation Today