Events

Watch the recording

Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy

Has American democracy’s long, ambitious run come to an end? Possibly yes. As William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe argue in their new book, Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy (UChicago Press, August 2020), the United States faces a historic crisis that threatens our system of self-government.

Democracy Events at UChicago

We have compiled a list of events at the University of Chicago relating to democracy. Some of these are organized by the Chicago Center on Democracy and some by other entities on campus.

Upcoming Events

The Rebirth of Hong Kong’s Rule of Law
Thursday, December 3, 2020. 6:00 – 7:00pm CDT
Online – More info here, and register here
Organizers: Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State
Description: A conversation with Hong Kong legal scholar and activist Benny Tai, moderated by Chicago Booth Professor Steven Davis.

Conference on Corporations and Democracy
Monday, December 7 to Wednesday, December 9, 2020. 9:00am – 12:00pm CDT
Online – Register here
Organizers: Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, among others
Description: Join us to examine the complex interactions and balance of power among corporations, governments, and individuals in democracies today.

Election 2020 Teach-in, 3 of 3: Beyond the Electoral Moment
Friday, January 15, 2021. 12:00pm CDT
Online – Register here
Organizer: Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy, among others)
Description: This panel will return us “full circle” to our opening panel. With some sense of the political landscape in the United States going forward, we ask what next?

 

Previous Events

What Is Happening in Belarus?
Saturday, November 21, 2020. 12:00pm CDT
Online – More info here, and register here
Organizers: Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (co-sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy)
Description: A round table discussion about protests and political events in Belarus, featuring human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, political scientist Michael McFaul, historian David Marples, comparative literature professor Olga V. Solovieva, and community organizer Zhanna Charniauskaya.

Fair and Free? The U.S. Election & Transfer of Power
Thursday, November 12, 2020. 12:30 – 1:30pm CDT
Online – Register here
Organizers: Project on Political Reform (Harris School), Chicago Center on Democracy
Description: Democracy in the United States of America is in the midst of an existential crisis. How can it recover? And what role can University of Chicago students play? Fresh off the heels of the the Bright Line Watch report “American Democracy on the Eve of the 2020 Election,” the Chicago Center on Democracy partners with Harris School of Public Policy’s Project on Political Reform (PPR) for a student Q&A. Faculty Chair of the Chicago Center on Democracy, Professor Susan Stokes, will answer student questions relating to the election process, risks to American democracy, opportunities to resist a plunge into authoritarianism, and lessons countries around the world can take from this fraught moment.

13th Annual University of Chicago International Education Conference: “The ‘Urban Revolution’ in Today’s Belarus and Why Women are Leading”
Monday, November 9, 2020. 6:00 – 7:15pm CDT
Online – Register here
Organizers: Center for East Asian Studies, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies (co-sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy)
Description: Keynote: On August 9, 2020, Belarus, a post-socialist nation of nine and a half million, held presidential elections. After polling stations had closed, and Alexander Lukashenko, the president for the last twenty-six years, announced his victory with 80% of votes, people took to the streets. They have been protesting ever since, despite beatings by riot police, arrests, and even torture, demanding fair elections and the release of all political prisoners. The Belarusian revolution, as it is now called, became associated with the image of three women – a presidential candidate and two leaders of her team – raising their hands in the gesture of protest and solidarity. Elena Gapova will narrate the story of women emerging as the leaders of the Revolution as its most active and strong-willed participants.

13th Annual University of Chicago International Education Conference: Conference Keynote and Educator Workshop
Friday, November 6, 2020. 9:00am – 1:30pm CDT
Organizers: Center for East Asian Studies, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies (co-sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy)
Description: Keynote: “Networked Protests and Democracy in the 21st Century” with Zeynep Tufekci (Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Educator Workshop: “Artistic Activism” Workshop with Stephen Duncombe (Professor, New York University)

Democracy in Crisis: Lessons from Ancient Athens
Friday, October 30, 2020. 6:30 – 8:00pm CDT
Organizers: Classics of Social and Political Thought core sequence; Democracy Curriculum (an initiative hosted by the Chicago Center on Democracy)
Description: Observers of ancient Athens considered democracy to be a precarious form of government and way of life. Plato, Aristotle and Thucydides knew that democracy was imperiled or undermined by economic disparity, plots to overthrow the government, institutional corruption, and rampant suspicion. Join Demetra Kasimis, Matthew Landauer, John McCormick, and James Sparrow as they discuss the enduringly relevant insights that classical Greek thinkers have to offer us in these deeply disorienting times.

13th Annual University of Chicago International Education Conference: “Social Protests, Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Middle East: A Framework for Understanding”
Monday, October 26, 2020. 6:00 – 7:15pm CDT
Online – Register here
Organizers: Center for East Asian Studies, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies (co-sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy)
Description: The Middle East seems to be perpetually in turmoil. This region is broadly identified in the American imagination with dictators, wars, the oppression of women, extremist movements and failed states. Are these problems the result internal cultural/religious factors or are the problems of Middle East attributable to external factors connected to foreign intervention and exploitation? How can educators begin to address this topic dispassionately, objectively and honestly? What is the best pedagogical approach to adopt when teaching this emotionally charged and controversial subject?

Election 2020 Teach-in, 2 of 3: Electoral Politics and Representative Governance
Friday, October 23, 2020. 12:00pm CDT
Organizer: Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy, among others)
Description: In this second teach-in, we considered relationships between elections, institutions and policy.

13th Annual University of Chicago International Education Conference: “How Beijing has Killed Hong Kong’s Freedom and Democracy and Why American Students Should Care”
Thursday, October 22, 2020. 6:00 – 7:15pm CDT
Organizers: Center for East Asian Studies, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies (co-sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy)
Description: Professor Victoria Hui will narrate Hong Kong’s struggle for freedom and democracy through two protest slogans: from “Today’s Tiananmen, Tomorrow’s Hong Kong” in 1989 to “Today’s Tibet/Xinjiang, Tomorrow’s Hong Kong” in 2020.

Watch the recording: Chile’s New Constitution and Mechanisms of Direct Democracy
Wednesday, October 14, 2020. 9:00am CDT
Organizers: Centro de Estudios Públicos (Chile), Chicago Center on Democracy, Center for Latin American Studies
Description: Mechanisms of direct democracy, such as referendums, may be an option to improve the quality of democracy. Chile’s population will vote on October 25th in a referendum to decide on whether to draft a new constitution. Two leading experts on referendums—Susan Stokes (UChicago) and David Altman (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)—discussed the Chilean referendum in the global context of how instances of direct democracy can be used and mis-used. Note: this discussion was mostly in Spanish.

Election 2020 Teach-in, 1 of 3: Popular Mobilization and Electoral Politics
Friday, October 9, 2020. 12:00pm CDT
Organizer: Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (sponsored by the Chicago Center on Democracy, among others)
Description: This panel takes a comparative and historically informed approach to the question of the relationship between protest politics and elections.

Watch the recording: The Importance of Election Integrity for Democracy
Thursday, September 24, 2020. 12:30 – 1:30pm CDT
Organizers: Cyber Policy Initiative (Harris Public Policy School), Chicago Center on Democracy

Watch the recording: Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy
Wednesday, September 16, 2020. 12:00 – 1:00pm CDT
Organizers: Chicago Center on Democracy, Center for Effective Government (Harris Public Policy School)

Watch the recording: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy
Monday, August 17, 2020. 11:30am – 12:30pm CDT
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Watch the recording: Preserving Democracy during the Pandemic
Friday, April 17, 2020. 11:00am – 12:15pm CDT
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Lost Illusions: Democracy, Socialism, and Bankruptcy in Latin America
Monday, March 9, 2020. 5:00 – 7:00pm CDT
Classics 110 (1010 East 59th Street)
Organizers: Center for Latin American Studies, Chicago Center on Democracy

Working-Class Legislators and Perceptions of Representation in Latin America
Wednesday, March 4, 2020. 12:00 – 1:20pm CDT
Foster Hall 107 (1130 E 59th St.)
Organizers: Comparative Politics Workshop, Chicago Center on Democracy

Clientelism and the Political Behavior of Slum Dwellers
Monday, February 17, 2020. 12:00 – 1:20pm CDT
Foster Hall, room 103 (1030 E 59th St)
Organizers: Chicago Center on Democracy, Center for Latin American Studies

The Partisan Origins of Democracy in Latin America
Monday, December 2, 2019. 12:00 – 1:20pm CDT
Foster Hall, room 103 (1030 E 59th St)
Organizers: Chicago Center on Democracy, Center for Latin American Studies

Watch the recording: A Comparative Perspective on Impeachment
Friday, November 22, 2019. 2:30 – 3:30pm CDT
Social Sciences Tea Room (1126 E. 59th Street, Room 201)
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Watch the recording: Is Democracy in Crisis? An Interview with Adam Przeworski
Tuesday, November 5, 2019. 3:30 – 4:30pm CDT
Michelson Center for Physics, Room 201 (933 East 56th Street)
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Watch the recording: How Democracies Die: An Interview with Steven Levitsky
Monday, June 3, 2019. 1:15 – 2:00pm CDT
Social Sciences Tea Room
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Hungary’s Ordonationalism and the Re-Articulation of Neoliberalism
Monday, May 20, 2019. 4:00 – 5:00pm CDT
Wilder House
Organizers: Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, Chicago Center on Democracy

A Conversation about Academic Publishing
Wednesday, May 8, 2019. 2:00 – 3:00pm CDT
Pick Hall lounge
Organizers: Chicago Center on Democracy, Department of Political Science

Lunch and lecture: Reflections on Putin and the Media
Friday, May 3, 2019. 12:30 – 1:30pm
Pick Hall, room 506
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Lunch and lecture: Trumpism and American Democracy
Wednesday, April 10, 2019. 12:30 – 1:30pm
Social Sciences Tea Room
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Book launch: “Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests”
Wednesday, April 3, 2019. 6:00 – 7:00pm
57th Street Books
Organizers: Chicago Center on Democracy, 57th Street Books

Comparative Politics Workshop: Selim Erdem Aytaç
Wednesday, April 3, 2019. 12:00 – 1:20pm
Social Sciences Tea Room
Organizers: Comparative Politics Workshop, Chicago Center on Democracy

Watch the recording: Democracy and Money: An evening to discuss campaign finance reform
Tuesday, March 5, 2019. 4:45 – 7:45pm
Ida Noyes Hall – Library and Lounge
Organizers: Chicago Center on Democracy, Paul Douglas Institute, Reform for Illinois

Comparative Politics Workshop: Guadalupe Tuñón
Tuesday, March 5, 2019. 12:30 – 1:50pm
Pick Hall, Room 506
Organizers: Comparative Politics Workshop, Chicago Center on Democracy

Contemporary State-building through Democratization Processes
Monday, February 25, 2019. 4:00pm
Keller Center, Room 1022
Organizers: Colombians at UChicago, Chicago Center on Democracy

Welcome Reception for the Chicago Center on Democracy’s Graduate Student Affiliates Network
Monday, December 3, 2018. 5:00 – 6:30pm
Social Sciences Tea Room
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy

Lecture: Venezuela at a Critical Juncture: Challenges from Within and Without
Monday, November 12, 2018. 12:00 – 1:20pm
Foster 103 (1130 E 59th St)
Organizers: Center for Latin American Studies; Chicago Center on Democracy

Panel Discussion: The Outlook for Democracy in Brazil
Thursday, October 25. 5:00 – 6:30pm
Social Science Research Building, Room 122
Organizers: Center for Latin American Studies, Chicago Center on Democracy, Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, Program on Political Violence at CPOST

Reception and Discussion: Populism and the Erosion of Democracy
Thursday, October 18. 5:30 – 7:00pm
Social Sciences Tea Room
Organizer: Chicago Center on Democracy