We were proud to collaborate with the Center for Political, Leadership, Innovation and Service to host a panel discussion on citizen activism. All three panelists—Durham Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson, chair of the NC Libertarian Party Susan Hogarth, and former organizer with NC for Trump Mitch Myers—have years of experience with grassroots organizing. Moreover, they offered different perspectives on how citizens can be politically involved, despite not completely identifying with either of the two major political parties. Myers sought to change the Republican party from within; Johnson ran for local office to ensure more progressive voices in Durham politics, and Hogarth has been actively organizing a third party. The panelists were honest about their struggles, but they also suggested that citizen activism can be a lot of fun. Click here to learn more about the discussion!
McGill University Professor Arash Abizadeh presented a paper entitled, “Representation, Bicameralism, and Sortition: Reconstituting the Senate as a Randomly Selected Citizen Assembly.” Professor Abizadeh’s specializes in both contemporary political theory and the history of political thought; his research focuses on questions of identity, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, as well as the relationship between rhetoric, passions and discourse. His work has been published in Political Theory, American Political Science Review, and numerous other journals. He also has a book, Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. This was our last installment of the 2017/2018 Political Theory Workshop. Look for information about next fall’s workshop on our calendar this summer.
Pierre Rosanvallon’s public lecture, “Populism and Democracy in the 21st Century,” discussed whether democracy has a future, given that the leading parties in many countries seem more interested in cultivating the interests and favor of the elite than with representing mass opinion.
Professor Rosanvallon is an intellectual historian at the College de France. He is the author of numerous books, including The Demands of Liberty: Civil Society in France since the Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2007), and Democracy Past and Future (Columbia University Press, 2007) . In addition to AVI, the lecture was sponsored by the Political Science Department, and a Humanities Futures grant from the Franklin Humanities Institute.
On March 1, Professor Stephen Macedo gave a talk entitled: “Regulating Offensive Expression: The Roles of Self-Censorship, Social Norms, and Civility.” Professor Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is the author of Diversity and Distrust: Civic Education in a Multicultural Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2003), and Liberal Virtues: Citizen, Virtue, and Community in Liberal Constitutionalism (Oxford University Press, 1990).
The 2018 Graduate Conference in Political Theory took place on February 8-9. This year’s graduate student presenters were:
- Yuna Blajer de la Garza (University of Chicago): “The Meek and Mighty: Two Models of Domination”
- Paul M.B. Gutirrez (Brown University): “Incorporating Land: Reassessing the Legal Origins of the Corporation in America”
- Ferris Lupino (Brown University): “American Stasiology: Racial Conflict Between the Rule of Law and Civil War”
- Pavlos Papadopoulos (University of Dallas): “Plato’s Model Educational Institution”
- Eraldo Santos (Pantheon-Sorbonne University): “The Invention of a ‘Great Tradition’: A Plea for a Conceptual History of Civil Disobedience”
- Naomi Scheinerman (Yale University): “Democratic Moral Decision-Making: Automated Vehicles and the Trolley Problem”
On Friday afternoon, John McCormick gave a keynote address entitled “Leo Strauss’s Machiavelli and the Querelle between the Few and the Many.” Professor McCormick is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy (Princeton University Press, 2013), Machiavellian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and Weber, Habermas and Transformations of the European State (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
In addition to AVI, the conference was sponsored by the Duke Graduate School, the Department of Political Science, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Center for International and Global Studies, and the Franklin Humanities Institute.
Click on the schedule below for an overview of the conference.
We are proud to sponsor the Visions of Freedom Living Learning Community, a group of Duke students with a passion for politics, philosophy, and economics who have decided to create a “space for not-too-serious intellectual conversations outside of the classroom and traditional extracurricular settings.” Students live in Edens 1A. In addition to a house course, the LLC organizes numerous field trips and social events. The community is currently recruiting up to 28 new members. Applications are due on February 12, 2018 (deadline extended to February 14, 2018). Reach out to David Wohlever Sanchez at email@example.com with any questions or to express your interest!
The Humor & Politics Working Group held its first meeting of the spring semester on February 16. The workshop’s theme was “The Ridiculous and the Ridiculed.” Participants watched selections from South Park, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Tomi Lahren, and completed a few short readings from Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft in advance of the meeting. The conversation explored the use of ridicule by both liberals and conservatives, and considered whether ridicule has dangerous political consequences.
The Humor and Politics Workshop explores the sarcastic and the sophomoric, the witty and the ridiculous, as well as the irreverent and morbid. Anybody is welcome to join, including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and friends. Check back for information about future meetings.
Five of the essays presented at last year’s Graduate Conference in Political Theory have been published online by the Franklin Humanities Institute as part of their Humanities Futures initiative. All five essays discuss “The Future of Political Theory.”
- Samuel Bagg (McGill University), “Political Theory as an Anti-discipline”
- Chris Kennedy (Duke University), “Revisiting Political Theory’s Past and Some Thoughts About Its Future”
- Michael Gillespie (Duke University), “Using the Canon to Prepare for Tomorrow”
- Nora Hanagan (Duke University), “American Political Thought in the Trump Era”
- Alexandra Oprea (UNC at Chapel Hill), “The Normative Science of Politics”
On November 20 at 4:00 in Gross Hall 230E, Nancy Rosenblum spoke about her latest book, Good Neighbors: the Democracy of Everyday Life in America (Princeton, 2016). Nancy Rosenblum is the Harvard University Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government emerita. She is the author of numerous books, including On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship (Princeton, 2008), and Membership and Morals: The Personal Uses of Pluralism in America (Princeton, 1998).
Charles Mills presented a paper entitled, “Racial Justice,” on November 16 at 4:00 in Gross Hall 330. Charles Mills is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. He is the author of the seminal book, The Racial Contract (Cornell University Press, 1997). Most recently, he has published Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (Oxford University Press, 2017).