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Coffeehouse Politics: Roundtable on Authoritarianism in the 21st Century with Dr. Pippa Norris

12:20 PM - 1:35 PM

The Democratic Governance and Leadership Program presents Coffeehouse Politics a roundtable on Zoom featuring Dr. Pippa Norris, Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics, Kennedy School, Harvard University, who will speak on Authoritarianism in the 21st Century.

Thematic Summary:

This roundtable will discuss the rise of authoritarianism around the world in the past two decades, with particular focus on the United States, its domestic institutions, and evolving populist movements. Other general topics may include the examination of the nature and characteristics of modern-day authoritarian regimes, the dangers they pose to domestic and international politics as well as to their citizens, and how we can swing the trajectory back toward democratic regimes in the Western and non-Western spheres.

Our guest speaker Dr. Pippa Norris will spearhead the discussion via her book Cultural Backlash as well as her paper “Trust in Government Worldwide: The role of information environments and cognitive skills” based on her forthcoming book, The Cultural Roots of Authoritarianism.

Guest Speaker Details

Dr. Pippa Norris, Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Director of the Electoral Integrity Project.

A comparative political scientist and public speaker, her research compares election and public opinion, political communications, and gender politics around the world. She is the second most cited political scientist worldwide according to Google Scholar.

Her most recent books include Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian-Populism (2019 Cambridge UP, with Ronald Inglehart) and Electoral Integrity in America (ed. 2018 Oxford University Press), and In Praise of Skepticism: Trust but Verify (2022 OUP). A new book, The Cultural Roots of Democratic Backsliding, is under development.


For each respective roundtable event, the outside speaker will provide a 15–20-minute presentation on the topic of their expertise, after which the discussion will be opened to the principal discussion participants (the outside expert will at that point be considered a principal discussant), and then to the other individuals in attendance at the event.  

The session will be loosely moderated by one of the DGLP’s Co-Coordinators. Principal discussants will include both faculty members from BSU departments as well as student participants.

All members of the BSU community are invited to attend, and faculty members are encouraged to bring their classes. We plan to have plenty of opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions and provide their thoughts on these issues, and students are especially encouraged to attend and participate.

List of Suggested Readings by Guest Speaker Pippa Norris:

2022. Interview with Dr. Norris, A Powerful Theory of Why the Far Right Is Thriving Across the Globe. The New York Times

2019. Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism. Coauthored with Ronald Inglehart. New York: Cambridge University Press.

2017. ‘Is Western democracy backsliding? Diagnosing the risks.Journal of Democracy. 28(2).

Other Readings:

Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development 

China: Democracy That Works 

Ahead of Biden’s Democracy Summit, China Says: We’re Also a Democracy 

Democracy is good for your health 

The Dark Century 

Autocratic Legalism 

Methods of Power 

With Freedom at Stake, Courts Are Collapsing 

How Did the Nazis Gain Power in Germany? 

How to Tell When Your Country Is Past the Point of No Return 

Understanding the Global Rise of Authoritarianism 

Stealth Authoritarianism 

The World Is Experiencing a New Form of Autocracy 

What ‘The Last Jedi’ gets wrong about fascism 

Coffeehouse Politics: Roundtable on Authoritarianism in the