George Washington Forum News and Events

GWF Events

Is Capitalism Sustainable in a Democracy?

Thursday, 9 February 2023

7:30 PM | Baker Center Theater (2nd Floor Baker Center)

Image of Michael Munger (Duke University)

Michael Munger (Duke University)

Michael Munger is Professor of Political Science, and Director of the PPE Certificate Program at Duke University. His primary research focus is on the functioning of markets, regulation, and government institutions. He has taught at Dartmouth College, University of Texas, and University of North Carolina (where he was Director of the Master of Public Administration Program), as well as working as a staff economist at the Federal Trade Commission during the Reagan Administration. He is a past President of the Public Choice Society, an international academic society of political scientists and economists with members in 16 countries. He now co-edits The Independent Review. 

How Not to Defend Western Civilization

Thursday, 3 November 2022

7:30 PM | Galbreath Chapel (College Green)

Image of James Hankins (Harvard University)

James Hankins (Harvard University)

James Hankins is Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the founder and general editor of the I Tatti Renaissance Library and works on Renaissance Italian history and thought. He has given the Carlyle Lectures in the History of Political Thought at the University of Oxford and is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. His most recent book is Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy (2019).

The Culture Wars: A Discussion

Thursday, 20 October 2022

7:30 PM | Galbreath Chapel (College Green)

Image of James Davison Hunter (Virginia) and Wesley YangImage of James Davison Hunter (Virginia) and Wesley Yang

James Davison Hunter (Virginia) and Wesley Yang

James Davison Hunter is LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the University of Virginia and is the Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He also served National Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of nine dozen books, including Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality (2018), The Death of Character: Moral Character in an Age without Good or Evil (2000) and, with Alan Wolfe, Is There a Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life (2006). In 1992, he published, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book award.


Wesley Yang is an essayist and cultural critic, who writes a regular colum for Tablet magazine and is a contributor editor to Esquire. His most recent book is The Souls of Yellow Folk (2018). He has written extensively about identity politics and the ‘successor ideology’.

Do We Have a Democracy or a Republic, and Why Does it Matter? (Constitution Day Lecture)

Thursday, 15 September 2022

7:30 PM | Galbreath Chapel (College Green)

Image of Randy E. Barnett (Georgetown Law Center)

Randy E. Barnett (Georgetown Law Center)

Randy E. Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts, and is Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. After graduating from Northwestern University and Harvard Law School, he tried many felony cases as a prosecutor in the Cook County States’ Attorney’s Office in Chicago. The author of twelve books and a hundred ofarticles, his most recent book is The Original Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment: Its Letter and Spirit (2021) (with Evan Bernick). In 2004, he argued the medical marijuana case of Gonzalez v. Raich before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2012, he was one of the lawyers representing the National Federation of Independent Business in its constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

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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