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Democracy and Freedom Between Past and Future

Sat, April 13th, 2019
9:00 am
- 5:00 pm

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At this conference on Democracy and Freedom Between Past and Future, a distinguished group of panelists will examine the theory and practice of two key concepts that have integrally shaped discourses and phenomena from antiquity to our contemporary moment. What is a democracy? What does it mean to refer to a democracy dying or being forged? How are we to understand freedom? Should we link or decouple freedom and slavery? What is the relationship between democracy and freedom? Are democracy and freedom mutually reinforcing or incompatible ideals? To what extent do our interpretations of democracy and freedom impact notions such as statecraft, civil society, family, the individual, groups, and governance? Do conceptions of race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, ability, and nation transform the theoretical frameworks and real-world articulations of the free life and democratic life?

Schedule of Events:

8:50-9 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks
Neil Roberts, Williams College

9-10:30 a.m. Enslavement, Dignity, and Genres of Freedom
Nick Bromell, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Power, Dignity, Rights: The Political Philosophy of Frederick Douglass”

Jasmine Syedullah, Vassar College
The Hearts We Beat: Reflections on the Kinds of Freedom She Wanted While Still within the Hold of Slavery” 

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Disposability, Fugitivity, Resistance: On the Relationship Between Democracy and Freedom
Angélica Bernal, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Democracy, Colonialism, and Indigenous Resistance”

Marisa Fuentes, Rutgers University
Refuse Lives and the Failures of Freedom: The Origins of Black Disposability and the Transatlantic Slave Trade” 

George Shulman, New York University
Fred Moten’s Refusals and Consents: Natality, Commonality, and the Politics of Fugitivity”

1:45-3:15 p.m. Pluralism, Economy, and the Public Sphere
Víctor Muñiz-Fraticelli, McGill University
Democracy and Pluralism”

Emily Nacol, University of Toronto
“Work, Poverty, and Freedom: Early Modern Legacies”

Deva Woodly, The New School for Social Research
“The Practice of Freedom: Developing and Maintaining a Democratic Habitus by Re-politicizing Public Life” 

3:30-5 p.m. Language, Struggle, and Belonging
Lawrie Balfour, University of Virginia
“Toni Morrison’s Word-Work as a Practice of Freedom”

John Drabinski, Amherst College
Vernacular Culture and the Question of Belonging”

Keisha-Khan Perry, Brown University
The Black Feminist Struggle for Social Democracy in Brazil”

All are welcome! Sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies. Tag us on Social Media using #DemocracyFreedomWilliams

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