Public Engagement

General Public

Liberalism & Democracy: Past, Present, Prospects

Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm more dates through February 8, 2019

John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, New York, NY 10003

Liberal democratic values seem embattled as never before in the United States, and around the world. The time is right for a serious and wide-ranging exploration of the prospects for liberal democracies in a context that acknowledges the historical and contemporary tensions between democracy and liberal values, both in theory and in practice. This conference convenes a varied group of scholars, journalists, policy expert and veteran public servants, we hope to stage a real meeting of the minds, not the usual partisan sniping that occurs at most academic events – and we are trying to be as inclusive as possible, by inviting thoughtful representatives from the left, right, and center.

At this public seminar, participants will make brief remarks and then engage in dialogue.  Over the course of our conversations, we will examine the prospects for liberal democracies against the backdrop of the historical and contemporary tensions between democracy and liberalism.

The second of two conferences organized by James Miller (Professor of Politics, New School for Social Research) and Helena Rosenblatt (Professor of History, CUNY Graduate Center). Sponsored by The New School in partnership with City University of New York, Graduate Center.

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This event is part of The New School's Centennial celebration. Learn more at • #100YearsNew

Event Type

Conferences and Symposia, Lectures and Panel Discussions, Author Readings and Discussions


General Public


Humanity, Society, Social Justice, International and Global, Politics, Policy and Government, Education and Learning, Intellectual Culture and Big Ideas, Centennial


The New School for Social Research


Philosophy, Politics, Social Sciences



Additional Details

Though liberalism and democracy have become intertwined in some contemporary societies, they have evolved along quite distinct paths historically. 

Democracy is an ancient idea, liberalism a very modern one.  Greek democracy was not liberal, nor was the revolutionary democracy championed by the sans-culottes in the French Revolution.

To this day, there are many avowedly democratic movements and regimes, both on the left and the right, that explicitly reject liberal values.

Moreover, even in liberal democratic societies, there are important tensions between the two traditions.


T Alexander Aleinikoff 
Josh Begley
Robert Boyers 
Paul Cartledge
EJ Dionne 
Federico Finchelstein
Ben Fountain  
William Galston 
Teresa Ghilarducci 
Dipayan Ghosh 
Jeffrey C Isaac 
Ira Katznelson
James Kloppenberg
Bill Kristol 
Paul Krugman 
Natasha Lennard 
Yuval Levin 
Jessica Pisano 
Marc Plattner 
Aziz Rana 
Jennifer Roberts 
Sophia Rosenfeld
Rogers Smith 
Astra Taylor 
Michael Tomasky 
Thomas Chatterton Williams
Deva Woodly

This event is free and open to the public.  Tickets are required, with registration through Eventbrite. Seating is not guaranteed, but offered on a first come, first served basis.  An overflow room will be available for viewing a video live stream of the event. 


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