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Tocqueville : Experiencing Democracy in America

  • Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m.

  • Free Admission

  • On Site • Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • In English

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Following a visit to the United States in 1831, the young French nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, often considered to be the greatest book ever written on American politics. Tocqueville provides a systemic tour of the American constitution, America’s politics, its tensions, its flaws, and its aspirations.  Throughout he presses readers to reflect on the role that equality has played in giving shape to American culture, society, and politics – indeed, how that commitment to equality may animate the most diverse elements of American life. 

Join panelists Bob Gannett, Jennifer Forestal and Lucas Roxo as they discuss the possibilities and challenges of American democracy in the 21st century, inviting the public to learn about and engage with Tocqueville’s ideas and their relevance today. Followed by a wine and cheese reception.

This program has been developed collaboratively by the 2023-24 cohort of HumanitiesX at De Paul University and is presented by the students of faculty members Matthew Maguire and David Lay Williams.

Each year, the HumanitiesX Advisory Council selects a topical theme that is both timely and lends itself to humanities inquiry. In 2023, in anticipation of an important year for American electoral politics and amidst ongoing, worldwide clashes over the nature and limit of rights, the Council selected Democracy & Rights as the theme for the 2023-24 academic year.

Bob Gannett

At once a Tocqueville scholar, author, and community organizer, Bob Gannett is the executive Director of  the Institute for Community empowerment and the author of  Tocqueville Unveiled: The Historian and His Sources for The Old Regime and the Revolution.

Jennifer Forestal

A Loyola University professor Jennifer Forestal has encouraged her readers to think about what Tocqueville has to say to us in an intensely technological age. She has published Designing for Democracy: How to Build Community in Digital Environments (Oxford, 2022), on the role of design in building more democratic social media platforms.

Lucas Roxo

Lucas Roxo Villa Albertine resident, is a documentary filmmaker and a media educator. Convinced that information should not be produced only by professionals, his work consisted in settling in popular neighborhoods to participate in the creation of community media. In parallel, he pursued a career as a documentary filmmaker. He was the author of the short documentary I Feel Your Absence, about his family’s exile from Portugal to France, and just finished his second short film, No Man Was Borned To Be Stepped On, which tells the story of a social bandit in northern Brazil and how its memory echoes with anti-Bolsonaro activists today.

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