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Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
08 October 2020

American democracy: a Trumpian blip or a deeper malaise?

The Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy launches its new podcast series Democracy in Question? with an interview featuring Timothy Snyder from Yale University.

The Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy launched today its new podcast series Democracy in Question?, with an episode entitled “American democracy: a Trumpian blip or a deeper malaise?”

American democracy seems to be fast approaching a flash point. The Trumpian politics and administration have tested the fundamental norms and institutions of representative democracy in America in an unprecedented way. With the US elections looming in the horizon, this first episode explores the significance of the Trumpian moment, but also look at some of the long-standing issues and divisions confronting American democracy.

Podcast host Shalini Randeria, Director of the Centre and Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute, Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna and Excellence Chair, University of Bremen (Research Group: Soft Authoritarianism), discusses these questions with Timothy Snyder, Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University. They analyse the reasons behind Trump’s access to power; the propensities that Trumpian politics shares with fascism; the “unaddressed original sins” of American democracy; as well as potential future predicaments for democracy in the wake of Trump’s presidency.

Listen to the episode 

Download the interview transcript HERE.

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Shalini Randeria is the Director of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Rector of the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna and Excellence Chair, University of Bremen (Research Group: Soft Authoritarianism).

Timothy Snyder is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna. He is a historian of totalitarianism, and the author many books, including Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010), Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015), and most recently, The Road to Unfreedom (2018) and Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary (2020).

 

About our podcast series: Democracy in Question?

Democracy in Question will feature 10 episodes, one every two weeks, starting from today.

This series comes at a time when the liberal democratic order established after the Second World War is under unprecedented strain. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a view that authoritarian rule was confined to the dustbin of history and Western-style liberal democracy would reign supreme the world over. But today, even in the cradle of modern democracies, in the U.S. and in Europe, that assumption looks flimsy. The ascendancy of Donald Trump to the presidency has shaken the fundamentals of Jeffersonian democracy and raised serious concerns about its survival. Does Trump represent a blip in America's long experience of representative government? Or does the current crisis of democracy in America highlight an underlying malaise?
 

DETAILS AND LINKS TO ALL EPISODES

This podcast series is co-produced by the Graduate Institute’s Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) Vienna, in cooperation with the Excellence Chair, University of Bremen (Research Group: Soft Authoritarianism) and in collaboration with Richard Miron and Anouk Millet (Earshot strategies).

 

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