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'The Democracy Series,' Collaborative Book Talk Initiative between CEG, Chicago Center on Democracy, and Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Launches

Published: Sep 24 2021


CHICAGO, IL — As the future of democracy itself is fiercely debated and efforts to undermine democratic institutions persist around the world, two University of Chicago research centers are teaming up with the Seminary Co-op Bookstores—an internationally-renowned academic bookstore and Chicago institution—to bring robust discussion with authors of books grappling with this critical topic to the fore.

The University of Chicago Center for Effective Government (CEG), the Chicago Center on Democracy (CCD), and Seminary Co-op Bookstores announced the launch of ‘The Democracy Series,’ a joint initiative of public events featuring dialogue between book authors and experts on issues related to the state democracy in the U.S. and abroad. The series will launch with an in-person, live-streamed event followed by two virtual book talks. Additional events in the series will be announced at a later date. 

These initial events will feature the following books and authors:

  • Thursday, October 14 (4:30pm CT, hybrid): The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today | David Stasavage (Princeton University Press)

  • Tuesday, November 2 (6pm CT, virtual): Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump | Spencer Ackerman (Penguin Random House)

  • Tuesday, December 14 (6pm CT, virtual): Checks in the Balance | Alexander Bolton and Sharece Thrower (Princeton University Press)

“We are eager to host these important conversations alongside our colleagues at the Chicago Center on Democracy and the Seminary Co-op,” said CEG Executive Director Sadia Sindhu and CEG Director William Howell, Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago. “The challenges facing democracy are as vast as the body of writing that examines them. This series affords us the chance to delve deeper into the most promising works on this topic with the experts themselves.” Howell will serve as the interlocutor for the first three series events. 

Susan Stokes, Faculty Director of the Chicago Center on Democracy and Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, said, “The Chicago Center on Democracy is very pleased to be working with two eminent University of Chicago entities—the Center for Effective Government and the Seminary Co-op—on this new book talk series. There is a role for every individual in the job of strengthening democracy, and discussing the best books in this area is an excellent way for us all to learn how we can contribute in this effort.”

"This series affords us the chance to delve deeper into the most promising works on this topic with the experts themselves."

“We believe that serious books of enduring value deserve attention,” said Jeff Deutsch (CLA'18), Director of the Seminary Co-op Bookstores. “In a society that privileges immediacy, expediency, and sloganeering, a nuanced perspective—one that respects the subtleties of history and culture, and that requires a bit of effort—is of critical significance. We are excited to support the Center for Effective Government and Chicago Center on Democracy in their effort to engage issues of democracy presented through the book while shepherding a larger community of engaged readers and thinkers." 

Series organizers expect the events to draw attendance from a broad community of academics, researchers, journalists, students, and members of the public concerned about the fate of democracy.

About the Center for Effective Government

The University of Chicago Center for Effective Government was founded in 2019 to help solve the problems of government ineffectiveness with a multi-faceted theory of action. The Center organizes its work and activities, and builds bridges between its stakeholders—scholars, students, practitioners, leaders, journalists, and advocates—around three key areas: ideas, education, and engagement. Through robust, innovative programming—including its Senior Practitioner Fellowship, Civic Leadership Academy, Rethinking our Democracy series, and ‘Not Another Politics Podcast’—the Center works to strengthen institutions of democracy and improve government’s capacity to solve public problems.

About the Chicago Center on Democracy

The Chicago Center on Democracy works to strengthen democracy through research, discussion, and community-building. The Center is a hub for students, faculty members, nonprofits, and others who are interested in working to support democracy through rigorous, nonpartisan research and other activities. The Center shares its work with the broader community of citizens, civil society organizations, and policymakers through convenings, publications, and public engagement.

About the Seminary Co-op Bookstores

Since 1961, the Seminary Co-op Bookstores have served the University of Chicago's community of scholars as well as the greater South Side, and acted as an epicenter of cultural and intellectual life. Over the past 60 years, the Co-op has grown from a small, basement store into a labyrinth of books at two locations in Hyde Park, with over 100,000 titles on their shelves. Both stores are unique and valued places of discovery, Chicago institutions where browsing and conversation are nurtured. In 2019, the Seminary Co-op Bookstores became the country’s first not-for-profit bookstores whose mission is bookselling.