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Throughout the 2021–22 academic year, the Smith community will examine democracies around the world through the curriculum, exhibitions, performances, lectures, special events and the work of the college’s centers and institutes.


Year on Democracies News

Coping with Democratic Precarity and the Prospects for Democratic Renewal (2021-22)

Democracy is faltering. At every level of governance and across multiple domains, democratic institutions, norms and practices are under increasing strain. The questions and problems are vexing, wide-ranging, and cross-cutting, and, thus, offer rich possibilities for interdisciplinary engagement. This Kahn Institute project will bring together scholars from across disciplines to explore the causes and effects of democratic precarity. It will also engage scholars across disciplines who direct their attention to possibilities for pathways toward democratic renewal and the realization of high-quality democracy within communities, countries, and in domains of global governance.

Democracies Redux: Resumptions, Resilience, Reconciliation, and Restoration (2021-22)

Democracies Redux is an invitation to open up what democracies might mean, carry, and create, when reconsidered as ways of knowing and being that upheld inter-relationships, inclusivity, and the work of restitution and renewal. Democracies in this project centers itself in investigative commitments that reimagine democracies’ polyvalent manifestations and vital possibilities in the passageways of life, matter, ideas, and their mutuality. This project is as much about generativity as it is productivity. In this vein, the project is also a physical address from which the work of resumptions and restoration can be carried out.

Tuesday, April 12: Presidential Colloquium, Jennifer Rubin

Author and Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin—whose work provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican and Democratic parties, and threats to Western democracies—will give a Presidential Colloquium on “Our Constitutional Inflection Point: Responses to Our Crisis of Democracy” at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in Sweeney Concert Hall.

‘Lessons of the Hour’: Isaac Julien Film Invites Learning

Filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien’s 2019 film, “Lessons of the Hour,” has been added to SCMA’s permanent collection, inspiring a host of teaching opportunities across campus. The artist will discuss his work at a virtual event Tuesday, April 5.

Presidential Colloquium: Annette Gordon-Reed

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed—a historian known for her books “On Juneteenth” and “The Hemingses of Monticello”—will deliver a Presidential Colloquium on “The Struggle for Democracy in America: From the Founding Era to Our Own” at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 31.

Presidential Colloquium: Author Masha Gessen

Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen—an award-winning author known for their insightful critiques of Russian history and culture—will deliver a Presidential Colloquium on “Hope and Hopelessness” at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15.