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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.

Conservative Internationalism

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

7:30 PM | Webinar

Image of Henry R. Nau (George Washington University)

Henry R. Nau (George Washington University)

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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).

The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

7:30 PM | Webinar

Image of Eugene McCarraher (Villanova University)

Eugene McCarraher (Villanova University)

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Eugene McCarraher is Professor of Humanities at Villanova Univeristy.  He earned his PhD in history from Rutgers University, and his first book was Christian Critics: Religion and the Impasse in Modern American Social Thought (2000). He contributes regularly to CommonwealThe Hedgehog Review and Raritan and has written for Dissent and The Nation. His most recent book is The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity (2019).

 

China and the World since 1949

11 February 2021

7:30 PM | Webinar

Image of Frank Dikötter (University of Hong Kong)

Frank Dikötter (University of Hong Kong)

Frank Dikötter has been Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong since 2006. Before coming to Hong Kong he was Professor of the Modern History of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He graduated with his PhD in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies after doing his undergraduate work at the University of Geneva. He has published a dozen books, including the People’s Trilogy about modern China. Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, won the 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Britain’s most prestigious book award for non-fiction. The second instalment, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1957, was short-listed for the Orwell Prize in 2014. The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976 concludes the trilogy and was short-listed for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize in 2017.