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Inequality, Immigration, and the Politics of Populism

10/28 Saturday | 9:45am

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to a symposium on the politics of populism, convened by the New York Review of Books Foundation, the Dan David Prize, and the Fritt Ord Foundation.

Populist parties and movements, mostly on the right, are becoming a powerful force in both the United States and Europe. The ascent of Donald Trump to the US presidency is the most spectacular electoral success in American history for a militant form of right-wing populism. The gains made by Alternative für Deutschland in the recent German elections mark the first time since 1945 that a populist party of the extreme right has achieved significant representation in the German Parliament.

Why is this happening, and why is it happening now? Is it the product of exceptional events, such as the financial crisis of 2007–2008 or the mass migrations from the Middle East to Europe that reached their peak in 2015? If so, is the populist wave likely to be just a passing phenomenon? Or is it here to stay, linked to something more permanent such as the disruptions of globalization and the IT revolution, or the emergence of a more ruthless form of capitalism, especially in the United States?


Saturday, October 28

9:45–10:00 Opening Remarks

10.00–11.30 Panel I—USA: The Roots of Populism
Jacob Hacker (Yale), Richard Sennett (NYU and Cambridge), Michael Kazin (Georgetown).

11:30–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–1:15 Panel II—USA: Populism and the Right
Frances Fitzgerald (Author of The Evangelicals, The Struggle to Shape America), Paul Krugman (CUNY), Nicholas Lemann (Columbia).

1:15–2:45 Lunch

2:45–4:15 Panel III—USA: Populism and the Left
Bill Bradley (former US Senator and presidential candidate), Anne Case (Princeton), Angus Deaton (Princeton).

4:15–4:30 Coffee Break

4:30–6:00 Panel IV—The UK and France
Francois Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics) and Simon Head (NYU and The New York Review).

Sunday, October 29

10:00–11:30 Panel V—Germany, Scandinavia and The Netherlands
Chair: Guri Hjeltnes (Fritt Ord Foundation, Oslo); Grete Brochmann (Fritt Ord Foundation and University of Oslo), Hugh Eakin (Columbia and The New York Review), Henning Hoff (Executive Editor, Berlin Policy Journal).

11:30–11:45 Coffee Break

11:45–1:15 Panel VI—Central and Eastern Europe
Chair: Ludek Sekyra (Sekyra Group, Prague); Alma Dojcsak (Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Budapest), Jiří Pehe (NYU Academic Center, Prague), Aleksander Smolar (Stefan Batory Foundation, Warsaw).

1:15–2:45 Lunch

2:45–4:15 Panel VII—Towards A Populist Future?
Ian Buruma (The New York Review), Hadia Tajik (Member of The Norwegian Parliament), Kenneth Roth (Human Rights Watch).

Brief Notes on Participants

Panel I—USA: The Roots of Populism

Jacob Hacker is Professor of Political Science at Yale and Director of The Institute for Social and Political Studies. He is the author with Paul Pierson of American Amnesia: How The War on Government Led the US to Forget What Made American Great(2017) and with Pierson of Winner Take-All Politics (2011).

Michael Kazin is Professor of History at Georgetown University and Editor of Dissent. He is the author of the Populist Persuasion: An American History. and War Against War; The American Fight For Peace 1914–1918 (2017).

Richard Sennett is Professor of Sociology at NYU and Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Department of Sociology at Cambridge. He is the author of The Craftsman (2003) and Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation(2013).

Panel II—USA: Populism and the Right

Frances Fitzgerald won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in VietNam (1972). She is the author of The Evangelicals, The Struggle to Shape America (2017).

Paul Krugman is Distinguished Professor of Economics at the City University of New York. He is a columnist for the New York Times, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008. He is the author of Conscience of a Liberal. (2009) and End This Depression Now (2013).

Nicholas Lemann is Professor of Journalism at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York. He was Dean of the School 2003–2013 and has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1999. He is the author of Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (2006) and The Promised Land; The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (1991).

Panel III—USA: Populism and the Left

Bill Bradley is a former US Senator from New Jersey, a candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 2000, and a Managing Director at Allen and Company, New York. He is the author of We Can All Do Better (2012) and The New American Story (2007).

Anne Case is Professor of Economics and Public Affairs Emeritus at Princeton. She is the author, with Ta Nehisi Coates, of “Fear and Despair: Consequences of Inequality” in Knowledge to Action (ed. Alonzo Plough, 2017), and with Angus Deaton, “Suicide, And Wellbeing: An Empirical Investigation” (NBER Working Paper 21279) (2017).

Angus Deaton is Professor of International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2016 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015. He is the author of Health, Inequality, and Economic Development (2001) and The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality (2013).

Panel IV—The UK and France

Francois Bourguignon is Professor Emeritus at the Paris School of Economics; He is a former Director of the School and was Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank, 2003–2007. He was Winner of the Dan David Prize in 2016. He is the author of La Mondialization de l’Ine/galite/ (2012) andPauvrete/ et Developpement Dans Un Monde globalise/ (2015).

Simon Head is Director of Programs for the New York Review of Books Foundation, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, and a Senior Member at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He is author of The New Ruthless Economy: Work and Power in The Digital Age (2004) and Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans(2014).

Panel V—Germany, Scandinavia and The Netherlands

Chair: Guri Hjeltnes, is a Board Member of Fritt Ord, and Professor of Journalism at the Norwegian Business School. She is Director of The Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo and the author of books on World War II including Hverdagsliv (Everyday Life, 1987) and Volumes 3 and 4 of Handelsflaten i Krig 1939–1945 (The Merchant Fleet at War 1939–1945, 1995, 1997).

Grete Brochmann is Chair of the Board of Fritt Ord and Professor of Sociology at the University of Oslo. She has chaired two official committees set up to investigate the consequences for Norway of immigration and asylum seeking. She is the author with Knut Kjeldstadli of A History of Immigration: The Case of Norway, 900–2000 (2008) and with Anniken Hagelund of Immigration and The Scandinavian Welfare State 1945–2010 (2012).

Hugh Eakin is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, and a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, 2017–2018.

Henning Hoff is Executive Editor of the Berlin Policy Journal and a contributor to Die Zeit. He is the author of Grossbritannien und die DDR 1955–1973 (2003).

Panel VI—Central and Eastern Europe

Chair: Ludek Seykyra is the founder of the Sekyra Group, a real estate corporation based in Prague He is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Charles Univeristy in Prague. He is a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Circle at Oxford, and a Foundation Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford.

Alma Dojcsak is a lawyer and Head of the Freedom of Speech Project at the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union in Budapest. She has been a volunteer Human rights teacher at Amnesty International, Hungary.

Jiří Pehe is Director of NYU’s Academic Center in Prague. In 1995–1997 he was Director of the Analysis and Research Division at the Open Research Institute in Prague, and in 1997–1999 Director of the Political Cabinet in the Office of President Vaclav Havel. He is the author, with Marlita Goetz-Stankiewitz of Three Faces of An Angel (2014), and of The Prague Spring: A Muted Legacy (1988).

Aleksdander Smolar is President of the Stefan Batory Foundation of Warsaw and a Member of the Council of the European Foreign Affairs Council. He was arrested and imprisoned following his participation in the protest demonstrations in Poland of March 1968. He is the author of Taboo and Innocence (2010) and with Marc Plattner, of Globalization, Power and Democracy (2000).

Panel VII—Towards A Populist Future?

Ian Buruma was Professor of Democracy Human Rights and Jouralism at Bard College 2003–2017. He won the Erasmus Prize in 2008 and in May 2017 was appointed Editor of The New York Review of Books. He is the author of Year Zero: A History of 1945(2014) and The Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War (2017).

Hadia Tajik was appointed Norwegian Minister of Culture in 2012. She is a Labour Party Member of Parliament for Oslo, and a Deputy Leader of the Party. She is the author of Svart pa Hvitt (Black on White (2009).

Kenneth Roth has been Executive Director of Human Rights Watch since 1993. In 1997 HRW shared the Nobel Peace Prize for helping bring about the Mine Ban Treaty. Roth is the author, with Minky Warden of Torture: Does It Us Safer? A Human Rights Perspective (2005), and with Alexander Hinton of Annihilating Difference; The Anthropology of Genocide (2001).

Co-sponsored by The Europaeum, Sekyra Group, and the German Council on Foreign Relations


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