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Course date
July 1–6, 2024
Application deadline
Application for this course is closed.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
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Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

Since antiquity, through the French and American revolutions, and into its modern and contemporary configurations, democracy has promised political equality. Somewhere along the way, democracy came to be understood as a political system that could deliver equality beyond the political realm as well. Today, the belief persists that, at some level, democracy promotes social and economic equality more effectively and reliably than any other mode of governance. This belief persists despite an increasing share of wealth and property flowing to a small elite and tears in the social fabric visible in polarized populations and the rise of ethno-nationalism. Democracy and social and economic inequality are extremely compatible. 

So, what is the relationship between democracy and equality? What does the pursuit of equality look like in a modern democracy? To what extent are economic and social equality necessary for democratic flourishing? To what extent are they worthwhile goals in the first place?

The aim of the course is to re-examine the relationship between democracy and equality by attending to the complexity and history of modern democratic societies. The course will employ a historical perspective and global scope, comparing democratic contexts across time and space. To this end, the course will foster a robust dialogue among students, activists, and scholars assembled from all over the world. Students will leave the course with a deeper understanding of the fraught relationship between democracy and equality as well as new questions and ideas about how it might be productively addressed.

Target Group

The course invites applications from humanities and social science graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and junior faculty who have received their Ph.D. within the last 5 years. Applications from advanced undergraduate students will also be considered. 

The course admits and fully funds a minimum of twenty students and reserves one-third of available spaces for applicants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We envision that the course may be of interest to young scholars seeking to understand democracy’s present challenges from a wide array of (inter)disciplinary investments including anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, gender studies, globalization/transnational studies, legal studies, philosophy, political science, political theory, postcolonial studies, social movement studies, and sociology.


Participants need to be conducting research related to the course’s core themes and questions. 

Language requirements

The language of instruction is English; thus, all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. Some of the shortlisted applicants may be contacted for a telephone interview.

The course focuses on the following discipline areas

area studies 
communication studies
cultural studies
gender studies
globalization/transnational studies
legal studies
political science 
political theory
postcolonial studies
social movement studies

"Generally, and epistemologically speaking, it was crucial to see how social movements can be understood and analyzed under such a variety of lenses. " 

"The course was helpful for me in both directions, reinforcing the concepts I already knew about social movements and democracy theory, and introducing me to new approaches and ideas that I will be able to incorporate in my research and reflections. " 

"The course was excellent. The academic discussions were advanced but easy to follow and they were extremely engaging and fascinating. We were introduced to complex issues and ideas in a very approachable way, and I feel that the faculty also treated us as capable of advanced deliberation which made the atmosphere nice and accommodating, and I personally benefited from it greatly." 

"The course was useful in exposing me to different strands of thought on these topics, in enabling me to meet students and professors from around the world doing interesting work, and in locating my work in a broader conversation. I hope to maintain these connections and be able to more directly situate my work in the tradition of debates on democracy." 

"The course was very useful in that I was able to connect my research question to a larger theoretical debate and was able to engage with others in that discussion." 

"The course used diverse examples from international faculty. Very insightful and challenging." 


Please read the following directions carefully.  
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission: 

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form (see notes below) 
  2. Full Curriculum Vitae or Resume, including a List of Publications, if any
    Please upload your Curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any. 
  3. Statement of Purpose (max. 1 page) 
    In the Statement of purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research, studies, or professional work, and in what way you expect to benefit from your participation.
    You are advised to consult the detailed course description on the course webpage so that the statement of purpose is in accordance with the main objectives of the course. 
    Please provide the name, contact email, and phone number of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance. 
  4. Personal Statement on Financial Aid
    Those who are eligible and wish to apply for financial aid should specify their reasons in the “Personal statement on financial aid” section (Funding page of the application form). 

Optional Attachments: 
You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the 'Other Supporting Documents' section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size of 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed. 

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.


  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select the ”Summer University” radio button from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
  • The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.