Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Events & Workshops

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

    Room 350, Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics (133 S. 36th Street)
    Food provided / Free and open to the public

    Hajer Al-Faham (Penn Political Science)
    The Politics of Surveillance in American Muslim Communities (PDF)

    Mo Torres (Harvard Dept. of Sociology)
    What "Emergency" Does: Democratic Decline and the Politics of Inevitability (PDF)

    FOR POLITICAL SCIENTISTS WHO CONDUCT FIELDWORK in environments marked by civil conflict, state violence, or authoritarianism, it is widely acknowledged that everyday political conditions occupy a crucial role in the research process, as researchers have an ethical obligation to protect research subjects and communities from repercussions. Drawing on data collected from a case study of Arab and Black American Muslim communities, HAJER AL-FAHAM shows that even in the context of non-authoritarian and putatively democratic regimes, such as the United States, everyday political conditions have profound implications for the research process. She finds that surveillance operates as a two-stage political mechanism, linking politics to the research process that unfolded in fieldwork with American Muslims. First, it disturbs the research terrain by restricting the sample of respondents who select into participation. Second, it colors the responses of participants throughout the interviews. This finding indicates that for scholars of American politics, a significant challenge moving forward, is to identify and account for the relevant political conditions shaping the study of American Muslims and other vulnerable populations.

    WHAT IS A “FINANCIAL EMERGENCY,”and what does the discourse of emergency accomplish in the realm of politics? MO TORRES considers the case of the Rust Belt, where former manufacturing giants like Detroit, Flint, and other race-class subjugated cities today stand largely in ruin. For three decades, the state of Michigan’s primary form of aid to post-industrial cities has come in the form of the complete cancelation of local democracy. Michigan’s “emergency financial manager”(EFM) laws replace the elected mayors and city council members of any city deemed to be in a state of economic emergency with a governor-appointed “emergency financial manager” who assumes total control over all local operations. Using archival data and original interviews, Torres seeks to understand how emergency politics work in practice, and what they achieve politically. He shows that emergency politics follow a logic of inevitability, where policy elites demonstrate a hesitant stance to promote anti-democratic politics that simply must be adopted. Behind the scenes, however, the politics of emergency promote a political agenda—in this case, privatization—that is in fact championed by supporters of EFM. Emergency politics obscure the policymaking process, embodying what I call politics without policies.

  • Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

    133 S. 36th Street, Room 250 (The Forum) Map Accessibility
    Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
    Free and Open to the Public / Food Provided
    Co-sponsored with The Penn Program on Regulation, Penn Law, and Penn Political Science

    Attendees are encouraged to read Prof. Fishkin's Paper, available here.

    DEMOCRACY REQUIRES A CONNECTION TO THE “WILL OF THE PEOPLE.” How is that possible in a world of “fake news,” relentless advocacy, partisan polarization and efforts at public manipulation? “Deliberative Polling” is a research program that applies citizen deliberation in depth with credible random samples to policy contexts where their conclusions can make a difference. This talk will draw on examples  from more than 100 cases of Deliberative Polls in 29 countries. What are the criteria for evaluating these projects? What policy impact do they have? What are the ingredients for successful implementation? Some notable cases include the US (“America in One Room”)  Mongolia (where there is now a law requiring Deliberative Polling for constitutional amendments), Texas (where the use of Deliberative Polling led directly to dramatic investments in renewable energy), South Korea (which recently used the process to make the final decision on the construction of two nuclear reactors) and Iceland (where the process was used in 2019 as an input by the government for constitutional reform).

    JAMES S. FISHKIN holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University where he is Professor of Communication, Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) and Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy. He is the author of Democracy When the People Are Thinking (Oxford 2018), When the People Speak (Oxford 2009), Deliberation Day (Yale 2004 with Bruce Ackerman) and Democracy and Deliberation (Yale 1991).

  • Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

    Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
    Map Accessibility / Refreshments Provided

    JASON DEPARLE is a reporter for The New York Times and has written extensively about poverty and immigration. His book, American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare, was a New York Times Notable Book and won the Helen Bernstein Award from the New York City Library. He was an Emerson Fellow at New America. He is a recipient of the George Polk Award and is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His new book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st  Century, follows a Filipino family over three decades as they migrate to new lands and will themselves into a new global middle class.

  • Friday, February 28, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

    College Hall, Room 209 (History Lounge)
    Free and open to the public / LUNCH PROVIDED
    Read excerpts from Prof. Haider's book, Mistaken Identity, here.

    IN HIS 2018 BOOK, Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump (Verso), ASAD HAIDER argues that contemporary identity politics, rather than bolstering the grassroots struggle against racism, help to neutralize movements against racial oppression by abstracting people’s “identity” from their material relationship with society and the state. In his Capitalism/Socialism/Democracy talk, he brings class back in, anchoring the relationship between race and class to a materialist analysis of capitalism, on one side, and a theory of emancipatory politics on the other. From this vantage point, and drawing on traditions that include the Combahee River Collective (pictured above), he explores critiques of racial ideology and new conceptions of universal emancipation.

    ASAD HAIDER is visiting assistant professor of philosophy at the New School of Social Research and a founding editor of Viewpoint Magazine.

  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

    Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
    Map Accessibility / Refreshments Provided

    KIMBERLY NOBLE is a neuroscientist and board-certified pediatrician, and director of the Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development (NEED) lab. She and her team study how socioeconomic inequality relates to in children's cognitive and brain development.  Her work examines socioeconomic disparities in cognitive development, as well as brain structure and function, across infancy, childhood and adolescence. She is particularly interested in understanding how early in infancy or toddlerhood such disparities develop; the modifiable environmental differences that account for these disparities; and the ways we might harness this research to inform the design of interventions. Along with a multidisciplinary team from around the country, with funding from NIH and a consortium of foundations, she is currently leading the first clinical trial of poverty reduction to assess the causal impact of income on children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development in the first three years of life.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

    Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
    Map Accessibility / Refreshments Provided

    ROB REICH is professor of political science and, by courtesy, professor of philosophy and at the Graduate School of Education, at Stanford University. He is the director of the Center for Ethics in Society and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review), both at Stanford University. He is the author most recently of Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better (2018) and Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values (edited with Chiara Cordelli and Lucy Bernholz, 2016). He is also the author of several books on education: Bridging Liberalism and Multiculturalism in American Education (2002) and Education, Justice, and Democracy (edited with Danielle Allen, 2013). His current work focuses on ethics, public policy, and technology, and he serves as associate director of the Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence initiative at Stanford. He is a board member of the magazine Boston Review and at the Spencer Foundation.