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Tom Ginsburg and Lisa Wedeen

2020 Kirschner Lecture – From D.C. to Damascus: The Architecture of Modern-Day Authoritarianism

Wednesday, November 11, 7:00-8:30pm


Why does authoritarianism persist? How does it become rooted in the social, political, and legal fabrics of a state as well as in the imagination, emotions, and memories of civil society—and how can we disrupt it and turn the tide? From the use (and possible abuse) of executive orders by the current U.S. administration to the Assad regime’s devastatingly effective disinformation campaigns in Syria, we are witnessing a worrying rise in authoritarianism both at home and abroad.

This deeply relevant conversation will center on the work of scholars Lisa Wedeen (Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria and 3CT Co-Director) and Tom Ginsburg (How to Save a Constitutional Democracy), whose writings and research seek to understand the challenges posed by authoritarian regimes around the world.

View the event video on the Pozen Center’s website.

The annual Robert H. Kirschner, MD, Human Rights Memorial Lecture honors the life and work of Dr. Kirschner (1940-2002), clinical associate in the Department of Pathology and Pediatrics and a founding Faculty Board member of the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kirschner was an internationally recognized authority on forensic pathology, human rights violations, police brutality, torture, and child abuse, and an outspoken opponent of the death penalty.

Presented by the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and co-sponsored by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, the Division of Social Sciences, and the College at the University of Chicago.