In 2014-15 CASBS launched a public symposium series, held at the Center and showcasing the work of current CASBS-affiliated scholars. The inaugural series focused on the theme of “Thinking Across Boundaries” and featured talks involving computer science, best practices in health care, and mindset research.
Based on the success of and response to the first series, the CASBS 2015-16 symposium series has expanded from three to four talks. The series theme, “Evidence of Change,” broadly focuses on how the featured speakers consider over-time transformations in government, governance, racial politics, and the nature of work.
On September 15, 2015, CASBS hosted the first of the four symposia – “Democracy, Meritocracy, or Both? The Case of China.” Nicolas Berggruen, co-author of Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way between West and East (2012) and chairman of the Berggruen Institute; and Daniel Bell, 2015-16 CASBS research affiliate, author of The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy (2015), and director of the newly-launched Philosophy and Culture Center at the Berggruen Institute, discussed one of the most important political developments of the 21st century. CASBS Director Margaret Levi moderated a Q&A session after the speaker presentations. Read an overview of the presentation and view full video of the Bell-Berggruen symposium here.
The second symposium in this year’s series took place at CASBS on January 26, 2016. The talk featured renowned public intellectual and current CASBS fellow Glenn Loury, who also serves as the Merton P. Stolz Professor of the Social Sciences at Brown University. Loury delivered a timely presentation – “Racial Inequality in 21st Century America: Where Do We Go from Here?” There is a huge gap in wealth, asset holdings, schooling, imprisonment, employment, and mortality between black and white Americans. This set of circumstances poses profound challenges. In the talk, Loury discussed this state of affairs and probed some of the most pressing questions of our times: How does racial inequality manifest itself? What does this mean for the future of American democracy? Taking incarceration as his principal focus, Loury delivered a stirring presentation that the current state of affairs poses to the character of American democracy. View symposium video, Loury’s full slideshow presentation, as well as the text of a lecture on “The Responsibilities of Intellectuals in the Age of Mass Incarceration” that he gave at Harvard University in 2012.
Two symposia featuring current CASBS fellows are upcoming. On February 23, Rachel Kleinfeld (Senior Associate, Democracy and Rule of Law Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) will speak on the topic of her forthcoming book – “Back from the Brink: How Some of the World’s Most Violent, Corrupt, Crime-Infested Countries Have Bounced Back.” On April 19, Louis Hyman (Associate Professor of History, Cornell University) and Natasha Iskander (Associate Professor, Wagner School of Public Service, New York University) will present their findings on “The Future of Work and Workers.” Both Hyman and Iskander are integral members of the larger CASBS project of the same name.
The CASBS symposia are free and open to the public. Space for each is limited. As each symposium approaches, check the CASBS web site for reservation information.