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What we are reading this week:

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Crisis or Resilience
US Democracy After Trump

We want to bring a great opportunity to your attention: On August 5th, the wonderful network of German-American Institutes will be hosting Prof. Daniel Ziblatt (How Democracies Die) for an online talk to discuss the current state of democracy and its challenges.


How resilient is the political system in the United States?
What do attacks on democracy look like and what can be done to strengthen political systems? 

5 August 2021 at 6pm CEST

Open to all!

The War on History is a War on Democracy

Timothy Snyder writes in the New York Times:

A scholar of totalitarianism argues that new laws restricting the discussion of race in American schools have dire precedents in Europe.

"In most cases, the new American memory laws have been passed by state legislatures that, in the same session, have passed laws designed to make voting more difficult. The memory management enables the voter suppression."


He's Black and he chats with racists

Daryl Davis is the subject of an opinion piece by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times on June 26, 2021:

I've wondered about persuasion strategies... because I have friends who have their pro-Trump or anti-vaccine biases validated every evening by the Fox News Host Tucker Carlson. So I reached out to on expert at changing minds...


Will the GOP Steal the 2024 Election?

Unless and until the Republican Party recommits itself to playing by democratic rules of the game, American democracy will remain at risk.

The authors of How Democracies Die, Profs Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt write in the latest Atlantic.

Book Recommendations:

Democracy Rules


Jan-Werner Müller

In this short, elegant volume, Jan-Werner Müller explains how democracy is founded on three vital principles: liberty, equality, and also uncertainty. The latter, he argues, is crucial for ensuring democracy's dynamic and creative character. Taking on many of the most difficult political questions we face, this book is a vital rethinking of what democracy is, and how we can reinvent our social contract.

A superb work of democratic theory, passionately argued and elegantly written - Ivan Krastev 

A fantastic summer read before we welcome Prof. Müller back to Munich on September 30th.

Read the NewYorkTimes review HERE

Frederick Douglass



David W. Blight

Frederick Douglass was the most important African American of the nineteenth century and one of the most significant writers and orators in American history. "There is hardly a more important and symbolic figure in America's never-ending struggle to get the universal rights we proclaimed at our founding. With his characteristic brilliance, David Blight brings Frederick Douglass to life; no longer is her merely a player in the drama of Afro-American liberation, but the avatar of all of our aspirations and dreams for a truly equal society" - Ken Burns



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