Jedediah Purdy, an internationally renowned scholar of legal and political theory and an expert on constitutional law, will join Utah Law on Friday, January 20 for the college’s annual William H. Leary Lecture. Purdy is the Raphael Lemkin Professor of Law at Duke Law School. His talk, “The Possible Futures of American Democracy,” marks the 57th annual Leary Lecture—a College of Law tradition that brings great legal scholars to our community to speak on pressing contemporary issues. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
There is plenty of doubt about American democracy: Whether it will survive, whether it can overcome our problems if it does, and whether it deserves to be called a democracy (or even to survive) in the first place. Too often, these urgent questions come at us as fast as the news cycle, and our responses, like a Twitter feed, reinforce what we already thought, amplified with fight-or-flight adrenaline. But if we slow down and think through some possible futures for the country, we can see more clearly what democracy means, and how law, politics, and culture can interact to uphold democracy or to erode it.
Purdy is the author of seven books, most recently Two Cheers for Politics: Why Democracy is Flawed, Frightening and Our Best Hope. He has written extensively in forums including the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Law Review, the Atlantic, the Nation, and the New York Times. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children.
The Leary Lecture is named in honor of William H. Leary, Dean of the University of Utah College of Law from 1915 to 1950, who was renowned for his intellectual rigor and love of teaching. The Leary Lecture has been an annual event since 1965.
The Possible Futures of American Democracy
Friday, January 20, 2023, from 12:15 to 1:15 pm
In person at the College of Law Building (Level 6) and live streaming via Zoom