Hannah Arendt Center presents:
Revitalizing Democracy: Sortition, Citizen Power, and Spaces of Freedom
Hannah Arendt Center 13th Annual Fall Conference
Thursday, October 14, 2021 – Friday, October 15, 2021
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Special PerformanceThe Gauntlet
The Gauntlet is an immersive, community-inclusive choral work from artists Sxip Shirey and Coco Karol. Each time it is performed, it takes on a new personality that reflects the performers, community, and location in which it is experienced. This iteration explores the theme “Spaces of Freedom,” in conjunction with the Hannah Arendt Center’s annual conference “Revitalizing Democracy: Sortition, Citizen Power, and Spaces of Freedom.” These are live, in-person, outdoor performances. Proof of vaccination is required and masks must be worn throughout the performance. You must purchase your tickets through the Fisher Center Website. First come, first serve. Registering for the conference DOES NOT secure a ticket to these performance. To learn more and reserve a ticket, please visit the Fisher Center website: The Gauntlet.
ScheduleTHURSDAY, OCTOBER 14
10:00 am Introduction
10:15 am Revitalizing Democracy, Sortition, and Citizen Power
10:30 am Is It Too Late to Revitalize Democracy?
Democratic Innovation on the Eve of Climate Collapse
David Van Reybrouck
Moderator: Roger Berkowitz
Noon Citizen Assemblies in Ireland and Serbia
Jane Suiter, Gazela Pudar Draško, Irena Fiket, and
Moderator: Mark Williams Jr. ’18
1:00 pm Lunch
1:15–2:00 pm Breakout Session (optional), Olin 201
Advocacy for Citizen Assemblies
David Van Reybrouck, Hans Kern ’14, and Jonas Kunz ’18
2:00 pm Jackson Rising
Moderator: Mie Inouye
3:00 pm Future Publics and Council Governance
Michael MacKenzie and Shmuel Lederman
Moderator: Yasemin Sari
4:00 pm Break
4:30 pm Citizen Assemblies: Democracy’s Second Act
Moderator: Eva Rovers
5:15 pm Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and
Civic Innovation in America
Hollie Russon Gilman and James Barry Jr.
Moderator: Thomas Bartscherer
6:00 pm Wine and cheese reception, Blithewood Mansion (outside)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15
9:45 am Introduction
10:00 am Open Democracy: The French Climate Citizen Assembly
Moderator: Uday Singh Mehta
11:30 am The Parallel Polis
Moderator: Peter Rosenblum
1:00 pm Lunch
1:15–2:00 pm Breakout Session (optional), Olin 202
Kali Akuno and Jason Toney ’17
2:30 pm Learning Our Native Tongue: America as a Project
Tracy B. Strong
Moderator: Karen Barkey
3:30–5:00 pm Local Sortition Experiments
Mayor Kamal Johnson, Supervisor Robert McKeon, and Supervisor Darrah Cloud
Moderator: David Van Reybrouck
Joined by Bard students enrolled in Van Reybrouck’s course Beyond Elections: Revitalizing Democracy through Citizens’ Assemblies
Kali Akuno is an organizer, educator, and writer for human rights and social justice. He is the former Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network. Kali also served as the Executive Director of the Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) based in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. And was a co-founder of the School of Social Justice and Community Development (SSJCD), a public school serving the academic needs of low-income African American and Latino communities in Oakland, California.
Kali is also the co-editor of "Jackson Rising: the Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, MS", and the author of numerous articles and pamphlets including the Jackson-Kush Plan: the Struggle for Black Self-Determination and Economic Democracy", "Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era", "Operation Ghetto Storm: Every 28 Hours report" and "Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense".
James Barry Jr.
Professor Berkowitz is an interdisciplinary scholar, teacher, and writer. His interests stretch from Greek and German philosophy to legal history and from the history of science to images of justice in film and literature. He is the author of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition; coeditor of Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics; editor of Revenge and Justice, a special issue of Law, Culture, and the Humanities; and a contributing editor to Rechtsgeschichte. His essays have appeared in numerous academic journals. Roger Berkowitz received his B.A. from Amherst College; J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley; and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.
Irena Fiket is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade. She is a member of the Standing group ‘Democratic Innovations’ of European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and former member of the group steering committee. She serves as an Academic coordinator of Jean Monnet Network Active citizenship: promoting and advancing innovative democratic practices in the Western Balkans. She is also engaged as senior researcher in the Horizon 2020 project Enlightened trust: An examination of trust and distrust in governance – conditions, effects and remedies and Volkswagen Stifung sponsored project Cultures of Rejection in Europe. The main research topics that she worked on whilst at the Universities of Florence, Siena, Bologna, and Oslo as a postdoc, include citizen participation, democratic innovation, deliberative democracy, European identity, European public sphere, European Higher Education and Western Balkans.
Hollie Russon Gilman
She is an Affiliate Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation; where she is conducting research to inform city leaders on civic engagement; and at Georgetown's Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.
She previously served in the Obama Administration as the White House Open Government and Innovation Advisor. She has advised numerous companies, startups, and foundations including the Case Foundation, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Gates Foundation, Google, Open Society Foundation, the World Bank, and Harvard's Gettysburg Project on 21st Century Engagement. She is a member of the COVID Alliance's Advisory Board on Tech and Ethics.
She has published in numerous academic and popular audience publications including The International Studies Review; PS: Journal of Political Science and Politics, and the Journal of Public Deliberation. Her popular writings have appeared in several news outlets including Axios, The Boston Globe, Foreign Affairs, Slate, Stanford Social Innovation Review, TechCrunch, Vox, and The Washington Post. Updated writings, speaking engagements, and publications are available here. Please see below for a selection of works.
She is a recipient of numerous awards, including AAAS Big Data and Analytics Fellowship, Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellowship, Harvard's Ash Center Democracy Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship, Center for the American Presidency, and Congress Presidential Fellowship.
Jonas Kunz '18
Michael K. MacKenzie
Michael MacKenzie holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of British Columbia (2013) and a Master’s degree in Political Science and Social Statistics from McGill University (2006). In 2006-07 he worked as a policy analyst and facilitator with the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. Since that time he has helped run several other randomly selected assemblies, both large and small. Before coming to the University of Pittsburgh he was a Democracy Fellow and post-doctoral researcher at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Peter frequently writes and speaks about the citizen’s experience of the state, the importance of public imagination, and the future of responsible government.
A graduate of the University of Toronto and Queen’s University, he is the past chair of Toronto’s Wellesley Institute for Urban Health, and currently serves on the boards of Tides Canada, an environmental charity, as well as the Environics Institute and the YMCA of Greater Toronto. He is also an adjunct lecturer at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
In 2003, he spearheaded a public referendum to purchase Development Rights on farms. The motion was approved by 83% of voters. To date, over 45 properties and 4,000 acres of preserved farmland join other types of open space easements in the Township. In 2007 he was named a Hudson Valley Hero by Scenic Hudson for efforts that also included the creation of a Community Preservation Fund. VIEW MORE >>
McKeon oversaw the Red Hook Community Solar project which, in 2019, began providing hometown solar for 280 homes in addition to all municipal buildings. Red Hook participated in the Hudson Valley Community Choice Aggregation initiative, a cooperative with six nearby municipalities that purchases renewable energy for all the remaining residential electric accounts in the Township. Charge Red Hook is an initiative to facilitate conversion to electric vehicles. Ten charging stations have been installed at Town and Village Halls, and Red Hook won a grant for two all-electric vans to transport seniors and others in the community.
McKeon continues to work for accessibility, sustainability, and accountability in Red Hook, with major renovations to the local recreational park, ongoing construction of a trailway, recruiting diverse municipal employees, and televising local government meetings.
Thamy Pogrebinschi is a Senior Researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and faculty member of the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her work lies at the intersection between democratic theory and comparative politics, with a focus on Latin America. Her research focuses on democratic innovations, new forms of citizen participation, and their impact on policy and democracy at the macro level. She is also interested on the role digital technology plays on representation and participation and, more recently, on collective intelligence. Since late 2015, she has been the coordinator of LATINNO (Innovations for Democracy in Latin America), the most comprehensive database on democratic innovations evolved in 18 countries of Latin America between 1990 and 2020. Her team of over thirty PhD and master students has collected and assessed around 3600 cases of democratic experiments involving deliberation, citizen representation, digital engagement, and direct voting. LATINNO has been funded by the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Initiative for Europe and is based at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
Gazela Pudar Draško
David Van Reybrouck
Tracy B. Strong
Mark Williams Jr.
Lunch OptionsHere are the following lunch options:
1. Lunch Pre-Ordering is now closed.
Click here to view a full list of local restaurants and cafes.
Click here for: I want to watch the webcast
For those unable to attend the conference in person, we offer a live webcast of the full event for you to enjoy from wherever you're located.WEBCAST REGISTRATION
“Representative government is in crisis today, partly because it has lost, in the course of time, all institutions that permitted the citizens’ actual participation, and partly because it is now gravely affected by the disease from which the party system suffers: bureaucratization and the two parties’ tendency to represent nobody except the party machines.”
—Hannah Arendt, 1970