Beyond Sovereignty and Uniformity: Pursuing Moderation and Pluralism in the 21st Century

Date: 14 December 2015
Speaker: Prof. Rogers Smith


During the 19th century and especially the 20th century, the dominant global trend was toward organizing political communities as sovereign nation-states, with citizens who were all officially equal, bearing fundamentally the same rights and duties. But in the 21st century, there are rising pressures both within states and across states to recognize the legitimate existence of many forms of political membership, affiliation, and identity, including indigenous peoples, religious and ethnic communities, and autonomous regions, with different rights and laws. Professor Smith will discuss the challenges these pressures pose for stable, effective, and fair systems of government, and highlight some directions of political change that seem worth encouraging, some that may need to be resisted.

Speaker Bio

Prof. Rogers Smith

Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science
University of Pennsylvania

Professor Rogers M. Smith is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean for the Social Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and Chair of the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism. He is the author or co-author of many articles and seven books, including Political Peoplehood (2015), Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America with Desmond S. King (2011), Stories of Peoplehood: The Politics and Morals of Political Membership (2003), and Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History (1997). Civic Ideals received six best book prizes from four professional associations and was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History. Professor Smith was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 and of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2011.