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Co-sponsored by the Institute of International Studies
A new generation of authoritarians has risen to power in democracies around the world. Since coming to office, these rulers have manipulated laws and reconfigured state bureaucracies, undermining civil liberties, flouting representative institutions, attacking the free press, and subverting international law. Figures like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Viktor Mihály Orbán in Hungary, Narendra Modi in India, and Donald Trump in the United States have all attained office by embracing, and in some instances co-opting, conservative populist movements. This Matrix On Point panel will consider not only the illiberal tactics these right-wing autocrats have used to consolidate power and further their objectives, but also what it will take to undo the damage they have inflicted upon democratic institutions.
About the Panelists
Kim Lane Scheppele is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University. Scheppele's work focuses on the intersection of constitutional and international law, particularly in constitutional systems under stress. In recent years she has focused on backsliding democracies, legalistic autocracy, and challenges to the rule of law. Scheppele is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy of Comparative Law.
Cihan Tuğal is Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley. His research interests include political sociology; social movements; Islam and the Middle East; social theory; religion; culture; global and transnational sociology; economic sociology and development; and comparative and historical sociology. Tuğal’s most recent book, Caring for the Poor: Islamic and Christian Benevolence in a Liberal World (2017, Routledge), examines the emergence, globalization, and decline of liberal ethics by focusing on charity, philanthropy, and welfare.
Lena Lavinas is Professor of Welfare Economics at the Institute of Economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Senior Researcher at the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPQ). She has served as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. She is the author of Takeover of Social Policy by Financialization: The Brazilian Paradox, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 ), which critically addresses the model of social inclusion that prevailed in Brazil under the rule of the Workers Party from the early 2000s until 2016.
Ashutosh Varshney is Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Brown University, where he also directs the Center for Contemporary South Asia. His books include Battles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy (2013), Collective Violence in Indonesia (2009), Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India (2002), India in the Era of Economic Reforms (1999), and Democracy, Development and the Countryside: Urban-Rural Struggles in India (1995). He has also served as an adviser to the World Bank, UNDP and the Club of Madrid. His awards include the Guggenheim and Carnegie fellowships and the Gregory Luebbert Prize.
Paul Pierson (moderator) is the John Gross Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley. Pierson’s teaching and research includes the fields of American politics and public policy, comparative political economy, and social theory. His most recent books are Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality, with Jacob Hacker; Off-Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy, with Jacob Hacker; Politics in Time: History, Institutions and Social Analysis; The Transformation of American Politics: Activist Government and the Rise of Conservatism, which was co-edited with Theda Skocpol, and Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, also co-authored by Jacob Hacker. Pierson is an active commentator on public affairs, whose writings have recently appeared in such outlets as The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The New Republic.