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Renewing American Democracy

This category contains 14 posts

Exceptional America

What divides Americans from the world and from each other? Stanford Law professor Mugambi Jouet discusses his new book Exceptional America which tackles why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues, including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, gender roles, abortion, gay rights, sex, gun control, mass incarceration, the death penalty, torture, […]

The Health of Democracy: The Role of the Media

Recorded on January 28, 2015 A free press and public access to information and a broad range of ideas and opinions were considered so essential for a healthy democratic republic that the Founders included protection for freedom of the press in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Alex Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on […]

The Health of Democracy: Social Immobility and Civic Participation

Recorded on February 11, 2015 Do we still believe that any child in America could grow up to be President of the United States?  American’s have long resisted the notion that class plays a role in our society, but current research undercuts that idea.  Economist Randy Albelda examines the rise in U.S. social immobility and […]

The Health of Democracy: Privatizing Education

Recorded on March 8, 2015 The Massachusetts School Law of 1642 laid out the rationale for public education: “Forasmuch as the good education of children is of singular behoof and benefit to any Common-wealth.”  How do contemporary efforts to privatize public education square with the civic role that education has played in American democracy? Internationally […]

The Health of Democracy: Economic Inequality

Recorded on March 25, 2015 Taxes!  Nobody likes taxes, but they have, famously, been called the price we pay for civilization.  Since the earliest days of the Republic, taxes have played a controversial part in our democracy and the ideal of equality that underlies it.  Historian Colin Gordon explores the growth of economic inequality in […]

The Health of Democracy: Voter Suppression and Disenfranchisement

Recorded on April 29, 2015 Political scientist Erin O’Brien explores current efforts to restrict access to the ballot, through both legislative and judicial changes in states across the nation.  Journalist Phillip Martin responds with examples from the Civil Rights Movement of citizen actions, including civil disobedience, that opened ballot access to previously disenfranchised African Americans.   […]

The Health of Democracy: A Polarized People

Recorded on April 22, 2015 Can a polarized public maintain a healthy democracy?  It’s not just the Congress that is ideologically divided.  The Pew Research Center recently documented how the American people have become polarized over the past 50 years.  Michael Dimock, President of the Pew Research Center, discusses this ground-breaking study and its implications […]

Uncertain Justice: The Supreme Court and the Constitution

Recorded on September 17, 2014 Laurence Tribe, eminent Constitutional Law scholar at Harvard Law School, discusses his new book (co-authored with Joshua Matz), Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution, on the day the United States celebrates its 227th Constitution Day. Is the Roberts Court really the “least dangerous” branch of our federal government, […]

The Spirit of Compromise

Harvard University’s Dennis Thompson discusses the sources of partisan intransigence and legislative gridlock in American political life. What role does ideology play in the current impasse in national governance?  What role does the electoral system itself play?  How can the people’s representatives move beyond gridlock and ideological partisanship to effectively govern the nation and resolve […]

The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism

Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol discusses the Tea Party. What are the sources of this group’s influence? How is it like other recent attempts to create a third party in our de facto bipartisan system?  What impact is it having on current policy debates? On the 2012 election cycle? Wednesday, September 14 @ 7 pm


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