Image Credit: Detail, “Monditalia: Theaters of Democracy,” La Biennale di Venezia-14. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura. Photo: A.F. Terjanian


From 2015 to 2017, the Anxieties of Democracy program invited internationally-renowned democracy experts to New York for a residency at the Social Science Research Council. The annual Democracy Fellows contributed to the Anxieties of Democracy mission by holding seminars for young scholars, and by delivering a keynote public lecture during their residence.

2017 Democracy Fellow: Professor Danielle Allen

In 2017, Professor Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, was our third Democracy Fellow.

Prof. Allen has written extensively on the themes of justice, citizenship, and political equality. Her work includes Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014) and Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship Since Brown v. Board of Education (2004). She directs The Democratic Knowledge Project at the Institute for Advanced Study, where she leads four research projects with social ambitions—such as increasing high school voter turnout and guiding the production of media platforms that can better support youth civic and political engagement.

In her role as Democracy Fellow, Professor Allen gave a public talk (video available here) and led a three-part seminar series for young scholars in the social sciences. The theme of her residency was “Political Equality.”

2016 Democracy Fellow: Professor Charles Taylor

In 2016, the Council welcomed our second Democracy Fellow, Professor Charles Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at McGill University.

Charles Taylor’s works, 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 scholars, from the 1960s when Taylor ran several times for the Canadian House of Commons, to his key counsel for constitutional negotiations in Canada and around the world.

Professor Taylor’s residency included two public events, “Ways Democracy Can Slip Away” and “Democratic Exclusion: A Think-In in Three Acts.” He also led a seminar, entitled “Some Crises of Democracy,” for local PhD candidates in the social sciences.

2015 Democracy Fellow: Professor Pierre Rosanvallon

In 2015, the program welcomed Pierre Rosanvallon, Professor and Chair of Modern and Contemporary History of Politics at the Collège de France, as our inaugural Democracy Fellow.

Prof. Rosanvallon is Director of Studies at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (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 Idé (online). His work is devoted to the history of the French political model and the historical and theoretical study of changes in contemporary democracy.

Professor Rosanvallon’s residency included two public events: “Equality in a New Age of Inequalities” and “Talking About a Revolution: Rethinking Democracy in America.” Professor Rosanvallon also led a two-part seminar series for local PhD candidates in the social sciences.