Introducing the Bard Institute for the Revival of Democracy through Sortition

True Democracy as Practiced by the Ancient Greeks

“The appointment of magistrates by lot is thought to be democratic and the election of them oligarchic.” —Aristotle, Ancient Athens

Introducing the Bard Institute for the Revival of Democracy through Sortition
Image: Cicero Denounces Catiline, by Cesare Maccari, 1889. Palazzo Madama, Rome, Italy.

About the Program

Sortition (noun) - The action of selecting or determining something by the casting or drawing of lots.

The Bard Institute for the Revival of Democracy through Sortition is conceived as a critical platform to assemble the diverse research and resources that are emerging around deliberative democracy and sortition. We are a project of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, and place much importance in the association with her legacy of thought. We believe sortition satisfies Hannah Arendt’s ideal of political freedom and that it would have figured in her writing, had it not been buried in the history books. As investigators of the practical possibilities of this ancient and reviving model of democratic decision-making, we are based in Germany, the United States, and wherever else our research may take us.

The Institute was cofounded by recent Bard College graduates Jonas Kunz and Hans Kern. Check back with us soon for updated content, links to sortition in the news, and much more. Sign up by email to receive updates on the Institute's activities.