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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Democracies in Peril

clough center for the study of constitutional democracy

Friday, April 12-Saturday, April 13, 2019
Boston College Conference Center
2101 Commonwealth Avenue
Brighton Campus

Parking Information

According to The Economist's "democracy index," 2017 was the worst year for the decline of democracy since they started the index in 2006. Everywhere one looks, it seems as if liberal democracy is in crisis. What does this mean for the present and future? How real is this crisis, really? Is it simply "froth" on the surface of the news cycle? Or is there something deeper going on? And if so, what are those deeper factors? If there is a crisis, how global is it? Does it threaten consolidated democracies as well as more recent or marginal democratic regimes?


This interdisciplinary conference brings together leading scholars from the United States, Europe, and Asia to consider these questions. The goal is to take stock of the current crisis of liberal democracy and the rise of illiberal populism around the globe. Conference presenters and roundtable panelist will discuss the current crisis in a global framework, assessing the current health of democracy around the world, and offering theoretical and analytical frameworks for how to understand the fate of democracy moving forward.



Friday, April 12, 2019

9:20 a.m.


Dean Gregory Kalscheur S.J., Morrissey College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Vlad Perju, Director, Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

9:30 a.m.

Presentation, Pippa Norris, Harvard University:
Varieties of Populism

10:45 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. Roundtable Discussion: Populism and Democracy?

Participants: Jan-Werner Müller, Princeton University; Jim Cronin, Boston College; Amílcar Antonio Barreto, Northeastern University

Moderator: Katharine Young, Boston College

12:30 p.m. Break
1:30 p.m.
Presentation, Ipek Cinar, University of Chicago: 
“The Populist Toolkit: Authoritarian Rhetoric on Democratic Discourse”
2:45 p.m. Coffee Break
3:00 p.m.
Roundtable Discussion: Alternatives to Democracy (Confucianism, Political Islam, etc.)

Participants: Mirjam Künkler, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study; Sungmoon Kim, City University of Hong Kong; Justin Frosini, Bocconi University

Moderator: Vlad Perju, Boston College

4:30 p.m. Coffee Break
4:45 p.m.

Keynote Address, Jan-Werner Müller, Princeton University

“What Exactly is the ‘Crisis of Democracy’ a Crisis of?”

Chair: Devin Pendas, Boston College


Saturday, April 13, 2019

9:30 a.m.
Presentation, Wolfgang Merkel, Humboldt University:
“Crisis or Challenge: Is The Crisis Of Democracy An Invention?”
10:45 a.m.

Coffee Break

11:00 a.m.
Roundtable Discussion: Democracy and Economics

Participants: Kosaku Dairokuno, Meiji University; Liubomir Topaloff, Meiji University, Devin Pendas, Boston College

Moderator: Daniela Urosa, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello Caracas, Venezuela

12:30 p.m.


1:30 p.m.
Presentation, Shujiro Yazawa, Hitotsubashi University:
Radical Change, Subjectivity, and Democracy
2:45 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m Roundtable Discussion: Is Democracy Failing?

Participants: Mark Plattner, Journal of Democracy, Mabel Berezin, Cornell University

Moderator: Devin Pendas, Boston College


Please Note, Parking is only permitted in certain areas on campus. For Brighton campus, please refer to the map provided by BC Transportation.  Visitor parking is also available at Commonwealth Garage and Beacon Street Garage