Thursday, January 30, 2020
It is hard to be an optimist about democracy today. Indeed, many believe that democracy is in crisis, if not inevitable decline, and that "illiberal" democracies like Hungary or some form of authoritarianism, as exists in Russia or China, is the wave of the future. Sheri Berman, professor of political science at Barnard College, Columbia University, asserts that assessing the current state of democracy requires looking beyond our immediate situation and thinking carefully about how democracy has historically developed. By reviewing democracy's backstory, particularly in Europe, Berman will pull out some lessons to better understand what is going on in the world today.
Sheri Berman is professor of political science at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her research interests include the development of democracy and dictatorship, European politics, populism, and fascism, and the history of the left. She is author of books on European social democracy and the fate of democracy during the interwar years, social democracy and fascism in 19th and 20th century Europe. Her latest book is "Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Régime to the Present Day." In addition to scholarly work on these and other subjects, she has published in a wide variety of non-scholarly publications including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, VOX, The Guardian and Dissent.
Professor Berman’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies and the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World, both at CMC.