2019-21 Democracy Program

Democracy in a Time of Change and Challenges


The Center for Historical Research (CHR), in association with the OSU Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA), will present a two-year program of lectures and seminars in 2019-21 on the topic of “Democracy in a Time of Change and Challenges.” There are concerns that democracy, whatever form it may take, is under stress around the world. This CHR series will examine what is meant by democracy in various regions and countries, how these meanings are changing, and the extent to which democracy is changing and/or under sustained and serious attack. Is democracy evolving, and, if so, how and why? Or is the story really more one of democracy as something that is increasingly endangered?  If it’s the latter, what are the most important causes of that situation and what, if anything, can be done about it? Leading scholars from a variety of disciplines will address those issues beginning in the fall of 2019.

We invite proposals for papers on this topic to be presented at the Center for Historical Research during this series.  Proposals should be sent to David Stebenne, History Department, Ohio State University, 106 Dulles Hall, 230 Annie and John Glenn Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, or as a Word attachment via email to Professor Stebenne’s email address (please see below).

The series co-chairs are David Stebenne, Professor of History and Law, Ohio State University and Michael Neblo, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director, Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA), Ohio State University.  They can be reached at stebenne.1@osu.edu and neblo.1@osu.edu, respectively.

The other members of the series steering committee and their OSU email addresses are:

  • Gregory A. Caldeira, Distinguished University Professor, Dreher Chair in Political Communication and Policy Thinking, and Professor of Law; caldeira.1@osu.edu
  • Jennifer Eaglin, Assistant Professor of History; eaglin.5@osu.edu
  • Robin Judd, Associate Professor of History; judd.18@osu.edu
  • Ousman M Kobo, Associate Professor of History; kobo.1@osu.edu
  • Eric MacGilvray, Associate Professor of Political Science; macgilvray.2@osu.edu

2020-2021 Program Schedule

Unless otherwise indicated, these events will be held as Zoom events or Webinars. All of the talks take place on Fridays from 3:30 to 5:00 P.M.

Friday, Sept. 18th; “The Current State of Democracy in Russia”
Gerald Easter, Political Science, Boston College

Friday, Oct. 2nd; “The Current State of Democracy in the United Kingdom”
Miles Taylor, History, York University

Friday, Nov. 6th; “The Current State of Democracy in Israel”
Shira Robinson, History and International Affairs, George Washington University

Friday, Dec. 4th; “Law & Disorder: What African Asylum Seekers Tell Us About the State of Democracy”
Benjamin Lawrance, History, University of Arizona

Friday, Jan. 29th; “The Current State of Democracy in Turkey”
Asli Bali, Law, UCLA

Friday, Feb. 26; “The Current State of Democracy in Europe”
Warren Rosenblum, History, Webster University

Date TBA; Closing Keynote: “Economic Shocks, Authoritarian Stability and Democracy”

Previous 2019-2020 Program Schedule

Friday, September 13, 2019, 3:30-5:00 p.m. – Keynote Address: Steven Levitsky, Government, Harvard University, “Are Democracies Dying?.” Introductory remarks by History Chair and Professor Scott Levi, Professor David Stebenne and College of Arts & Sciences Dean Ritter. (View video.)

Friday, October 4, 2019, 3:30-5:00 p.m. – Rohit De, Department of History, Yale University, “The Current State of Democracy in India,” 168 Dulles Hall (View video.)

Friday, January 17, 2020, 3:30-5:00 p.m. – Yuen Yuen Ang, Dept. of Political Science, University of Michigan, “The Current State of Democracy in China,” 168 Dulles Hall

Friday, April 10, 2020, 3:30-5:00 p.m. – Christina Wolbrecht, Department of Political Science, Notre Dame, “The Current State of Democracy in the USA.” This lecture will be held via Zoom teleconferencing. Please contact John Brooke at Brooke.10@osu.edu if you would like to participate in this seminar.