Professor John Dunn Talk to Critically Examine Western Democracy at Georgetown University in Qatar

Press release
Published April 22nd, 2018 - 10:35 GMT
Professor John Dunn, emeritus professor at King's College in the University of Cambridge
Professor John Dunn, emeritus professor at King's College in the University of Cambridge

Representative democracy is the dominant political system of the western world and was recently offered confidently to the globe at large as the uniquely appropriate form for modern government. But does the experience of its working over the last decade in its western heartlands require a less sanguine assessment of its political capacities? Professor John Dunn seeks to answer this question facing contemporary world politics in an upcoming lecture at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q).

Dunn, who is emeritus professor at King's College in the University of Cambridge, is a renowned historian of political thought known for his emphasis on viewing classic political texts in their historical context and more recently, for his critical reflections on democracy as a political ideal. His public talk, titled 'How Does Western Democracy Stand Today?', will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 at GU-Q’s Education City campus.  

“What I am going to talk about in my lecture is how misguided the way western populations have come to think about democracy (and how it can be expected to work politically over time) has become,” said Dunn.

“It is an argument about how to think politically, if you want to understand politics better, and (I hope) an application of it not just to democracy as a distinct subject matter, but also to judging just what democracy has contributed to some momentous recent political experiences,” he said.

Dunn is the author of more than a dozen books on themes as diverse as Lockean liberalism, the comparative politics of revolutions, and state building in Africa. Throughout his writings, he has critically examined what has been happening in the world through the diffusion of democracy from Western Europe to Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Dunn’s research interests cover the history of modern political thought, revolutions, regime collapse and reconstruction. He has taught in countries across the globe, including Ghana, India, the United States, and Japan. His most recent books are Breaking Democracy’s Spell (2014), Setting the People Free: The Story of Democracy (2006) and The Cunning of Unreason: Making Sense of Politics (2001).

Background Information

Georgetown University in Qatar

Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is an additional location of Georgetown University, based in Education City in Doha. The University offers a four year undergraduate program in international affairs leading to the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree. Students have the opportunity to select one of four majors, a minor, and one of three certificates.

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