The Difficulty of Democracy

Ethics & Public Life

The Cornell Program on Ethics and Public Life promotes interdisciplinary learning about morally central questions concerning public policies and social, political and economic processes.


"Politics and Justice in the Era of Donald Trump"

In 2018-19, EPL is presenting a series of public lectures, followed by discussion, in which eminent visitors address political challenges and transformations in the era of Donald Trump.

Wednesday, Sept. 12:  Daniel Ziblatt (Government, Harvard) on danger signs and lessons from how democracies die

Monday, Oct. 15:  Michael Dawson (Political Science, Chicago) on the politics of identity in struggles for change

Monday, Nov. 12:  Brian Schaffner (Political Science, Tufts) on the roles of racism, sexism and economic anxiety in support for Donald Trump

Thursday, Feb 14: Sheri Berman (Political Science, Barnard) on current challenges to democracy in Europe

Videos of these lectures are available here.

Videos of lectures from previous EPL series are available here and here.

The Two Worlds of Mr. Chen

"The Two Worlds of Mr. Chen": new addition to EPL's videos on China

“The Two Worlds of Mr. Chen,” based on footage shot for EPL in China, is a just-released documentary about a migrant family in China split between Beijing and a tiny village in Henan. The Chens’ responses to the challenges of their urban/rural split and the views of the past and present and hopes for the future expressed by the Chens and their fellow-villagers illuminate a great transformation of life in China. Other videos in the EPL collection, "Where is China Headed?" include Tianamen 1989 in Depth, a documentary including an audio made in the square during the final repression, and presentations and discussions by leading China scholars.