Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


Democracy, universalism, common humanity: starting with Domenico Losurdo
Democrazia, universalismo, comune umanità: a partire da Domenico Losurdo

A.Y. Credits
2019/2020 5
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Giuseppe Stefano Azzarà Tuesday, h. 13-14, teacher's office, Palazzo Albani, via Bramante 17

Assigned to the Degree Course

Educational Sciences (L-19)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

Modern democracy asserts itself and develops in parallel with the construction of a universalistic thought and in particular with the elaboration of the universal concept of man. It has been a path that has been affirmed only through the conflict between the philosophical-political traditions of the contemporary age. And it was a journey that, even after establishing itself on European soil and in the West, struggled to embrace humanity as a whole, often entering into contradictions with the colonization processes of the world. These are problems that Domenico Losurdo has long pondered: we will start from his reflections to develop a balance sheet of the rise and decline of the democratization of human relations on a global scale.
The course therefore proposes the following educational objectives:

- helping students to understand the fundamental concepts of the philosophy of the contemporary age, with particular attention to its political implications (universal / particular; social classes; modern / anti-modern / postmodern; right / left, recognition / discrimination; democracy / bonapartism, etc. . etc.);

- help them understand the complexity of the historical process that led to democratic institutional forms and their unfinished expansion;

- help them understand the profound, material and cultural reasons for the crisis in these institutions

- help them to orient themselves in the contemporary political-cultural context starting from the theoretical elements learned and from their application to today's communicative contexts (TV, newspapers, social networks).


1) Democracy and modern democracy
2) Social classes and political-social conflict
3) The stages of modern democracy
4) Modern democracy, socialism, Marxism

5) Modern democracy and the colonial question
6) Organic crisis and the rise of fascist movements in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century
7) Communists, fascists and "third position": a red-brown front or a war of hegemony?
8) Historical transformations and crisis of modern democracy
9) post-modernity, sovereignty and populism: towards a new kind of democracy?
10) The lessons of the past for the present

Bridging Courses


Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

In relation to the discipline the student will have to show:

Knowledge and understanding:
- Knowledge of the fundamental themes of the History of contemporary philosophy exposed to lectures and deepened in textbooks and understanding of its fundamental concepts in their political repercussions (see Educational objectives);
- Knowledge of historical and socio-political dynamics exposed in class and deepened in textbooks and understanding of the processes that have innervated them;
- Understanding of the constituent elements of modern democracy and of the right / left and high / low axes;

Knowledge and understanding skills applied:
- Ability to orientate in the contemporary political debate and to understand the elements that today can strengthen or further weaken modern democracy.

Making judgments (making judgments):
- Ability to take a position independently of the main historical-political issues of contemporary debate and conflicts (eg: centralization and spectacularization of power, migrations, "conflicts of civilization", etc., etc.)

Communication skills:
- Ability to communicate what has been learned in the forms appropriate to a university level study; ability to transmit and communicate the fundamental aspects and principles of democratic politics (link freedom / equality and couple recognition / exclusion) also in basic educational work.

Ability to learn
- On the basis of the knowledge acquired through the course, the student must be able to autonomously construct courses of study and to understand which readings and experiences can help him in this sense.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Seminar held by dr. Giorgio Grimaldi (10 hours)

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Lessons and seminar.



Course books

1) Stefano G. Azzarà: La comune umanità. Memoria di Hegel, critica del liberalismo e ricostruzione del materialismo storico in Domenico Losurdo, La scuola di Pitagora editore, Napoli 2019;
2) Stefano G. Azzarà: Comunisti, fascisti e questione nazionale. Germania 1923: fronte rossobruno o guerra d'egemonia?, Mimesis, Milano 2018;
3) Leonardo Pegoraro: I dannati senza terra. I genocidi dei popoli indigeni in Nord America a Australasia, Meltemi, Milano 2019.


The expected learning outcomes will be ascertained through an oral interview.
The test will refer to the texts in the program, to evaluate their knowledge, but also to the theses exposed in class by the teacher, to verify:

- knowledge of the philosophical and political issues and the issues dealt with;
- an understanding of the historical and social processes that underlie it;
- the ability to expose these acquired skills in a structured and personal way;
- the ability to argue independently in relation to the training objectives and expected learning outcomes (and therefore also to orient oneself in the problems of the present).

These aspects will be evaluated on the basis of a four-level scale of values / judgments (insufficient: less than 18, sufficient: 18-23, discrete: 24-26, good-excellent: 28-30).
The vote of the written test is expressed in thirtieths.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Non-attending students must support the same program as those attending, in particular by using the materials available on the Moodle platform and coordinating with the teacher and his assistants.



Course books

As for attending students.


As for attending students. For those not attending the test, however, will refer exclusively to the texts indicated in the educational program.



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