Building a Diverse Coalition for Democracy

14 December 2021  12:00 - 01:00

Virtual Event | Organised by University of Chicago Center for Effective Government and Protect Democracy | Held in USA in English
Contact details: [email protected]
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The United States is hosting a Summit for Democracy to help reinforce democracy in countries around the world. But what about the health of democracy here at home?

Conversations about reforming American democracy have expanded to encompass issues ranging from Supreme Court reform to the United States’ electoral system and from citizen polarization to Congressional oversight of the federal bureaucracy. In each of these myriad issues, experts and specialists offer insights and debate the merits of particular policy proposals. But is policy expertise enough to effect the real change needed to revitalize an entire political system? In a forthcoming essay for the Democracy Endgame series, William Howell and Susan Stokes draw on the lessons of American history and recent trends around the world to make the case that successfully strengthening democracy requires much more than technical solutions – it requires a movement.

On Tuesday, December 14th at 12:00pm ET, Professors Howell and Stokes will discuss their essay’s key insights, in conversation with Erica Chenoweth, and offer their on the road ahead as the United States enters the year of action set to follow the Summit for Democracy.


William Howell
Director, Center for Effective Government; Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics, University of Chicago

William Howell is the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago, where he holds appointments in the Harris School, political science department, and College. Currently, he is the director of the Center for Effective Government, chair of the political science department, and co-host of Not Another Politics Podcast.  William has written widely on separation-of-powers issues and American political institutions, especially the presidency. He currently is working on research projects on separation of powers issues, the origins of political authority, and the normative foundations of executive power.

William’s most recent book (with Terry Moe) is Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy (University of Chicago, 2020). He also is the author or co-author of numerous other books, including: Relic: How the Constitution Undermines Effective Government–And Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency (Basic Books, 2016); The Wartime President: Executive Influence and the Nationalizing Politics of Threat (University of Chicago Press, 2013); Thinking about the Presidency: The Primacy of Power (Princeton University Press, 2013); While Dangers Gather: Congressional Checks on Presidential War Powers (Princeton University Press, 2007); Power without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action (Princeton University Press, 2003); The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools (Brookings Institution Press, 2002); and textbooks on the American presidency and American Politics. His research also has appeared in numerous professional journals and edited volumes.

William is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is the recipient, among other academic awards, of the Legacy Award for enduring research on executive politics, the William Riker award for the best book in political economy, the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the best book on Congress, the Richard Neustadt award for the best book on the American presidency, and the E.E. Schattschneider Award for the best dissertation in American Politics. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and the Bradley Foundation. He has written for a wide variety of media outlets, including the Boston ReviewProspect MagazineWall Street JournalForeign AffairsForeign Policy, and Education Next.

Before coming to the University of Chicago, William taught in the government department at Harvard University and the political science department at the University of Wisconsin. In 2000, he received a PhD in political science from Stanford University.

Susan Stokes
Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago

Susan Stokes is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Chicago Center on Democracy. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright, the American Philosophical Society, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her research interests include democratic theory and how democracy functions in developing societies; distributive politics; and comparative political behavior.

Her co-authored book, Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism (Cambridge, 2013) won best-book prizes from the Comparative Politics (Luebbert Prize) and Comparative Democratization sections of APSA. Among her earlier books, Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America(Cambridge, 2001), received prizes from the APSA Comparative Democratization section and from the Society for Comparative Research.

Her articles have appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, World Politics, and the Latin American Research Review.

She teaches courses on political development, political parties and democracy, comparative political behavior, and distributive politics.

Erica Chenowith (Moderator)
Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment, Harvard Kennedy School

Erica Chenoweth is the Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard Kennedy School and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Chenoweth’s research focuses on political violence and its alternatives.

Chenoweth was ranked among the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013 by Foreign Policy magazine and also won the 2014 Karl Deutsch Award, given annually by the International Studies Association to the scholar under 40 who has made the most significant impact on the field of international politics or peace research. Chenoweth’s forthcoming book, Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2021), explores in an accessible and conversational style what civil resistance is, how it works, why it sometimes fails, how violence and repression affect it, and the long-term impacts of such resistance. Chenoweth’s next book, with Zoe Marks, explores the impact of women’s participation on the outcomes of mass movements. In addition to exploring why women’s participation makes movements more likely to succeed, Marks and Chenoweth explore how frontline women’s participation leads to progress in women’s empowerment in some cases and reversals in others, as well as how gender-inclusive movements impact the quality of egalitarian democracy more generally.

Professor Chenoweth’s other books include The Role of External Support in Nonviolent Campaigns: Poisoned Chalice or Holy Grail? (ICNC, 2021) with Maria J. Stephan; Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence (Oxford, 2019) with Deborah Avant, Marie Berry, Rachel Epstein, Cullen Hendrix, Oliver Kaplan, and Timothy Sisk; The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism (Oxford, 2019) with Richard English, Andreas Gofas, and Stathis N. Kalyvas; The Politics of Terror (Oxford, 2018) with Pauline Moore; Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2011) with Maria J. Stephan; Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict (MIT, 2010) with Adria Lawrence; and Political Violence (Sage, 2013). Why Civil Resistance Works won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, the American Political Science Association’s best book award.

Professor Chenoweth’s research has been featured in The New York TimesThe Washington PostForeign AffairsThe EconomistThe Boston GlobeForeign PolicyBBC, NPR’s Morning Edition, TEDxBoulder, and elsewhere. Along with Jeremy Pressman, Chenoweth co-directs the Crowd Counting Consortium, a public interest project that documents political mobilization in the U.S. during the Trump Administration. Chenoweth also co-hosts the award-winning blog Political Violence @ a Glance.

At Harvard, Professor Chenoweth is a faculty affiliate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and the Women in Public Policy Program. Chenoweth is also a Faculty Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, where Chenoweth and Zoe Marks co-chair the Political Violence Workshop. Before coming to HKS, Chenoweth taught at the University of Denver and Wesleyan University. Chenoweth holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in political science and German from the University of Dayton.

Sadia Sindhu
Executive Director, Center for Effective Government

Sadia Sindhu is the Executive Director of the Center for Effective Government. She has served in a variety of strategic roles in the public and private sectors. Most recently, Sadia was the Director of the UChicago Civic Leadership Academy. In this role, she served as the lead strategist on all matters related to the execution, enhancement, and growth of the Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago. Sadia is a Fellow of the second class of the Civil Society Fellowship, a Partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Sadia has also worked at Rothschild Global Advisory, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Human Capital Research Corporation. She holds an MS in higher education policy from Northwestern University and a BSFS in international politics from Georgetown University.

Jennifer Dresden
Policy Advocate, Protect Democracy

Jennifer Dresden is a policy advocate at Protect Democracy. She was previously a member of the faculty and the Associate Director of the Democracy and Governance Program at Georgetown University. Jen has published and lectured on democratic and authoritarian politics for both academic and policy audiences and has conducted research in the United States and overseas. She holds an A.B. from Harvard University, a M.Litt from the University of St. Andrews, and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University.