Every year, the Anxieties of Democracy program invites an internationally renowned democracy expert to New York for a residency at the Social Science Research Council headquarters. Our Democracy Fellows help promote our mission to inform and enliven the public conversation about democracy with social science through a series of activities: ‘Democracy in the City’ events, featuring public talks and debates in iconic New York City locales, involve a broad and diverse audience as participants in the discussion. ‘Democracy Seminars,’ held in-Council, further open the dialogue about democracy to perspectives from various doctoral students who compete for a spot at the table.

In 2016, the Council is proud to welcome our second Democracy Fellow, Professor Charles Taylor, for a one-week residency from October 17-21, 2016. Emeritus Professor at McGill University, Charles Taylor is a world-renowned political philosopher, recognized most recently as the inaugural winner of the Berggruen Prize. Taylor's previous honors include the prestigious John W. Kluge, Templeton, and Kyoto prizes. Taylor’s philosophical approaches to the issues of modernity, democracy, equality, and inclusion in key texts such as A Secular Age (2007), Sources of the Self (1989), and Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (1994) have transformed conceptual categories in the humanities and social sciences. Throughout his career, Taylor has exemplified the crucial civic role played by university research, entwining his theoretical approaches with political participation in several domains: from the 1960s when Taylor ran in federal elections, to his key counsel for constitutional negotiations in Canada and around the world.

The public is warmly invited to join us in New York for two ‘Democracy in the City’ events featuring Professor Taylor:

Monday, October 17, 6-7:30pm, at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College (47-49 East 65th St.): ‘Ways Democracy Can Slip Away,’ a talk by Professor Taylor followed by a discussion led by the eminent political theorist Nancy Rosenblum, Harvard University Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government emerita. Followed by a reception.

Friday, October 21, 6-8pm, at Civic Hall (156 5th Av.): 'Democratic Exclusion: A Think-In in Three Acts.' This unique exploration of democratic exclusion draws on debate, and music, to inspire reflection about an urgent problem faced by democracies around the world. Charles Taylor will be joined by Keesha Gaskins-Nathan, Sarah Leonard, Tova Wang, Benjamin Hochman, and a live orchestra. Followed by a reception.

We have also invited local PhD candidates in the social sciences to apply for a seat in our 2016 Democracy Seminar led by Professor Taylor (cf. Call for Participants). Meeting at Council headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, selected participants will interrogate key texts and concepts relating to the theme: 'Crises of Democracy.'

Stay tuned for further details about our 2016 Democracy Fellow events via @SSRCdemocracy and Facebook. We invite you to RSVP via our Facebook Events, and we hope you can join us!


2015 Democracy Fellow: Professor Pierre Rosanvallon of the Collège de France.

In 2015, the program welcomed Pierre Rosanvallon as its inaugural Democracy Fellow. We organized two public ‘Democracy in the City’ events: “Equality in a New Age of Inequalities” and “Talking About a Revolution: Rethinking Democracy in America.” We also launched our first in-house Democracy Seminar series.

Pierre Rosanvallon is Professor and Chair of Modern and Contemporary History of Politics at the Collège de France. He is also a Director of Studies at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, or School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, in Paris, and the founder of two vibrant and prestigious intellectual fora, La République des Idées (in print) and La Vie des Idées.fr (online). His work is devoted to the history of the French political model and the historical and theoretical study of changes in contemporary democracy.  

Rosanvallon is respected and renowned all over the world for the originality of his approach, which is to consider the history of democracy as the exploration of a problematic experience. His most recent book, Le bon gouvernement (Éditions du Seuil, 2015), is the fourth volume in his series on the transformations of democracy in the twenty-first century.