Democracy's Futures Seminar Spring 2022
The Democracy's Futures seminar, co-convened by Madhav Khosla (Law) and Jed Purdy (Law) for Spring 2022, is part of a university-wide initiative that seeks to illuminate and reinforce democratic commitments and practices by fostering engaged scholarship. The events of the last five years, and particularly those of the last year, have highlighted the ways that our most prized values and institutions may be unexpectedly shaken, and even come into mortal peril. They have also highlighted a certain complacency about democracy that had crept into what was too easily imagined as a settled system. We regard understanding and engaging these stakes as among the most important tasks of the university today.
Renewed awareness of constitutional democracy’s fragility drives us back to basic questions. What do we mean, and what should we mean, by “democracy”? What should we regard as its non-negotiable features and fundamental values? What is the relationship of democracy to other sources and sites of authority, such as constitutionalism, liberalism, expertise, or identity? Are those relationships in the process of being renegotiated? Should they be? Although these brief sentences are abstract, they name disputes that are remaking the world, for better or worse.
We seek to combine a sense of urgency with a spirit of genuine openness and curiosity.
Our premise is that there is no opposition between scholarly seriousness and practical response to urgent questions. We hope participants will gain in the selection and definition of their scholarly questions, the purpose of their public and institutional engagement, and the content and goals of their teaching. We are gathering to think together about the pressing questions of our time, and how our work and institutions should engage them.
For assistance with administrative matters, contact email@example.com.