Democracy in a Suddenly Hard Place: Confronting the Authoritarian Challenge in America

Date: 

Thursday, November 1, 2018, 4:15pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Suite 200N

Democracy appears to be in retreat, not just in fragile states, but also in the West, where we have long taken such concepts as the rule of law and a free and independent press for granted. Join M. Steven Fish, University of California, Berkeley, for a discussion on how can we not only understand this anti-democratic surge, but learn how democracy advocates can surmount this growing threat. Tarek Masoud, Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations at HKS will moderate. 

M. Steven Fish is a comparative political scientist who studies democracy and regime change in developing and postcommunist countries, religion and politics, and constitutional systems and national legislatures. He is the author of Are Muslims Distinctive? A Look at the Evidence (Oxford, 2011), which was selected for Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles, 2012: Top 25 Books. He is also author of Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics (Cambridge, 2005), which was the recipient of the Best Book Award of 2006, presented by the Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association, and Democracy from Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New Russian Revolution (Princeton, 1995). He is coauthor of The Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey (Cambridge, 2009) and Postcommunism and the Theory of Democracy (Princeton, 2001). He served as a Senior Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia, in 2007 and at the European University at St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2000-2001. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Social Sciences Teaching Award of the Colleges of Letters and Science, University of California-Berkeley.

Democracy in Hard Places Seminar Series

This discussion is part of the Ash Center's Democracy in Hard Places Initiative, a program co-directed by Scott Mainwaring, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazil Studies, and Tarek Masoud, Professor of Public Policy and Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations. Democracy in Hard Places aims to foster social science research on democratic experiments—both successful and failed—throughout the developing world to learn how democracy can be built and maintained in a variety of terrains. The initiative's seminar series brings to campus distinguished scholars and practitioners to analyze the conditions, institutions, and behaviors that enable democracy to survive in hard places.