George Washington Forum News and Events

GWF Events

Liberal Democracy and the Age of Revolution

12–13 November 2021

8:30 AM-5:30 PM | Baker Center 240/242

Image of Plenary speakers: David Bell (Princeton), Patrick Griffin (Notre Dame), Janet Polasky (New Hampshire) and Helena Rosenblatt (CUNY-Graduate Center)

Plenary speakers: David Bell (Princeton), Patrick Griffin (Notre Dame), Janet Polasky (New Hampshire) and Helena Rosenblatt (CUNY-Graduate Center)

Benjamin Constant famously argued that the great achievement of what we now call the Age of Revolution was “representative government” and that “this form of government, the only one in the shelter of which we could find some freedom and peace today, was totally unknown to the free nations of antiquity.” It has been commonplace ever since to claim that many of the fundamental ideas and institutions that we associate with modern representative democracy emerged from the revolutionary upheavals of the later eighteenth century.

 

This conference and its subsequent volume aim to look afresh at the story of liberal democracy’s origins in the Age of Revolution spanning from the Seven Years’ War to the fall of Napoleon (c. 1760–1815). Did the ideas and institutions of liberal democracy actually emerge during the Age of Revolution? If so, how and why? Were they the product of long-term developments that came to fruition during the revolutionary era? Or were they generated by and amid the conflicts, debates, and upheavals of the period itself? Given that most of the era’s revolutions and uprisings were ultimately either contained or defeated, is it justified to contend that the Age of Revolution witnessed the birth of liberal-democratic ideas and institutions? If not, then what connection is there between the revolutionary turmoil of the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the eventual development of liberal democracy in the West and beyond over the next two centuries?

 

David Bell (Princeton), Patrick Griffin (Notre Dame), Janet Polasky (New Hampshire), and Helena Rosenblatt (CUNY-Graduate Center) will deliver plenary lectures.

The 1619 Project: A Missed Opportunity

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

7:30 PM | Galbreath Chapel (College Green)

Image of Lucas Morel (Washington & Lee University)

Lucas Morel (Washington & Lee University)

Lucas Morel is John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University, where he has taught since 1999. He earned his PhD in political science from the Claremont Graduate University after doing his undergraduate work at Claremont McKenna College. He is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society, former president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, a consultant on Library of Congress exhibits on Lincoln and the Civil War, was a member of the scholarly board of advisors for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and currently serves on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which will plan activities to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America. His books include Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government (2000) and Lincoln and the American Founding (2020). He has also edited Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to “Invisible Man” (2004), Lincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages (2014) and co-edited The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century (2016).

 

 

We Have Never Been Woke: Social Justice Discourse, Inequality and the Rise of a New Elite

Thursday, 20 January 2022

7:30 PM | Galbreath Chapel (College Green)

Image of Musa Al-Gharbi (Columbia University)

Musa Al-Gharbi (Columbia University)

Musa Al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University and will be an SNF Agora Institute Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University in Fall 2021. Previously he was a Mellon-Sawyer Fellow on Trust and Mistrust of Experts for the Interdisciplinary Center on Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE), in partnership with the American Assembly, at Columbia University. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, New Republic and many other popular outlets — as well as in publications by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Army War College, the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC), the Brookings Institute, RAND Corporation and beyond. He was the communications director of Heterodox Academy (HxA) from 2016–2020. His first book, We Have Never Been Woke: Social Justice Discourse, Inequality and the Rise of a New Elite is forthcoming from Princeton University Press in 2023.

Origins of Capitalism

Friday–Saturday, 25-26 March 2022

8:30 AM-5:00 PM | Baker Univeristy Center

Image of Plenary Speakers: Gareth Austin (Cambridge), Sven Beckert (Harvard), Emma Griffin (East Anglia), and Prasannan Parthasarathi (Boston College)

Plenary Speakers: Gareth Austin (Cambridge), Sven Beckert (Harvard), Emma Griffin (East Anglia), and Prasannan Parthasarathi (Boston College)

This conference and its subsequent volume will examine yet again the origins of what Max Weber called “the most fateful force in our modern life,” capitalism. Scholarly inquiry into the origins of capitalism dates back to the founding of the social sciences and the topic is of perennial interest. Why did a radically new form of socioeconomic organization that eventually encompassed and transformed the globe emerge in parts of the early modern world? The question has generated and continues to generate extensive debate across disciplines.

 

This conference will bring together historians and historically-oriented social scientists to reconsider the origins of capitalism in the early modern period (c. 1450 to c. 1850). It will include researchers working on all the major world regions—Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas—as well as comparativists and generalists in order to explore the topic regionally, globally, and theoretically. In addition to examining the historical emergence of capitalism, the conference will discuss the concepts and categories that are used to grasp the nature and dynamics of this form of socioeconomic organization. The organizers aim to include as many different approaches to the study of capitalism as possible among the conference presentations and in the subsequent volume.

 

Gareth Austin (Cambridge), Sven Beckert (Harvard), Emma Griffin (East Anglia), and Prasannan Parthasarathi (Boston College) will deliver plenary lectures.

 

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COVID-19: Vaccines, Focused Protection and Public Policy

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

7:30 PM | Galbreath Chapel (College Green)

Image of Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford University Medical School)

Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford University Medical School)

Jay Bhattacharya is Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, where he has taught since 2001 and where he earned his MD and PhD in Economics. With Sunetra Gupta (Oxford) and Martin Kulldorff (Harvard), he is one of the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration. A research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute, Bhattacharya holds courtesy appointments as Professor in Economics and in Health Research and Policy. He directs the Stanford Center on the Demography of Health and Aging.  Bhattacharya’s research focuses on the economics of health care around the world with a particular emphasis on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. His peer-reviewed research has been published in economics, statistics, legal, medical, public health, and health policy journals. He is also on the scientific advisory and editorial boards of Collateral Global.

 

For those who cannot attend, the event will be live-streamed.

Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi and the Battle for the Twenty-First Century

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

7:30 PM | Galbreath Chapel (College Green)

Image of Josh Rogin (Washington Post)

Josh Rogin (Washington Post)

Josh Rogin is a columnist for the Global Opinions section of the Washington Post and a politcial analyst for CNN. Previously he has covered foreign policy and national security for Bloomberg ViewNewsweekThe Daily BeastForeign PolicyCongressional Quarterly and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun. He holds a BA in international affairs from the George Washington University and studied at Sophia Univeristy in Tokyo. His latest book is Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi and the Battle for the Twenty-First Century.

Conservative Internationalism

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

7:30 PM | Webinar

Image of Henry R. Nau (George Washington University)

Henry R. Nau (George Washington University)

Henry R. Nau is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Emeritus at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University. From 1989-2016, he directed the US-Japan- South Korea Legislative Exchange Program. Perviously he served as a special assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (1975–1977) and as senior staff member and White House sherpa on President Reagan’s National Security Council responsible for G-7 Summits and international economic affairs (1981–1983). He has written five books, including Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy Under Jefferson, Polk, Truman and Reagan (2013) and At Home Abroad: Identity and Power in American Foreign Policy (2002).

This event is co-sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Society’s Ohio University chapter.

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The Theology of Liberalism

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

7:30 PM | Webinar

Image of Eric Nelson (Harvard University)

Eric Nelson (Harvard University)

Eric Nelson is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he was an undergraduate before earning his PhD at the University of Cambridge. His books include The Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding (2014); The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought (2010); and The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought ( 2004). He also edited Hobbes’s translations of the Iliad and Odyssey for the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes (2008). His most recent book is The Theology of Liberalism: Political Philosophy and the Justice of God (2019).

The Art of Living

Thursday, 25 March 2021

7:30 PM | Webinar

Image of Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn (Syracuse University)

Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn (Syracuse University)

Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn is a Professor of History at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and a Senior Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. Her books include Black Neighbors: Race and the Limits of Reform in the American Settlement House Movement, 1890-1945 (1993)—which won the Berkshire Prize—and Race Experts: How Racial Etiquette, Sensitivity Training and New Age Therapy Hijacked the Civil Rights Revolution (2001), as well as three edited volumes. Lasch-Quinn’s writing has also appeared widely in both scholarly and prominent public venues, including The New Republic and The Hedgehog Review. Her most recent book is Ars Vitae: The Fate of Inwardness and the Return of the Ancient Arts of Living (2020).