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Phelan Family Lecture Series

The US Centre has received support to present the Phelan Family Lecture Series in 2019-20 and in 2020-21.

These high-profile events feature prominent US-based scholars, policy analysts, and public intellectuals.

Upcoming events in the Phelan Family Lecture Series 


Race and Democracy in America
Tuesday 30 March 2021, 4:00pm-5:00pm

A discussion with Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad (Harvard Kennedy School) about race and racial inequity in the United States, past and present.

Hosted by the United States Centre as part of the Phelan Family Lecture Series.


Previous events in the Phelan Family Lecture Series 


The Recurring Crises of American Democracy
Wednesday 10 February 2021

Professor Robert Lieberman (Johns Hopkins University) and Professor Suzanne Mettler (Cornell University) discussed America’s current predicament and how it differs from past threats to democracy in the US.

Hosted by the United States Centre as part of the Phelan Family Lecture Series.


The Next Four Years: what should we expect for America?
Thursday 21 January 2021

What will the new Biden administration's international and domestic priorities be? In this roundtable discussion, leading experts on American politics, Professor Desmond King (Nuffield College, Oxford), Mark Landler (The New York Times), Professor Paula D. McClain (Duke University), and Professor Theda Skocpol (Harvard University), discussed what may be in store for the United States over the next four years.  

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Two Faces of Populism
Tuesday 24 November 2020

Explanations for variants of populism are typically framed as a contest between culture and economics. Building on his recent book, The Populist TemptationProfessor Barry Eichengreen (University of California-Berkeley) considered the arguments for both in discussion with Professor Stephanie Rickard (LSE Government).

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Policing as a Public Good
Thursday 22 October 2020

In this lecture, Professor Tracey L. Meares (Yale Law School) discussed the historical context of the abolition of slavery in the United States, located it in the broader context of Reconstruction, and offered an idea of policing as a public good that is central to a conception of citizenship.


A World Safe for Democracy
Thursday 8 October 2020

Professor G. John Ikenberry (Princeton University) discussed the history of liberal internationalism and argued for its continued relevance as a force to protect liberal democracy in a twenty first century marked by rising economic and security interdependence.

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Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism
Wednesday 30 September 2020

In this event, Professor Anne Case (Princeton University), and Professor Angus Deaton (Princeton University), discussed their book, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism and tied the crisis to the weakening position of labour, the growing power of corporations, and, above all, to a greedy health-care sector that redistributes working-class wages into the pockets of the wealthy. 

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Race and Policing in America
Friday 12 June 2020                     

George Floyd’s death has sparked widespread protest in the US over police abuse. This roundtable discussed the sources of police violence and what can be done to fix America’s police and make law enforcement accountable.

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Do Morals Matter: presidents and foreign policy from FDR to Trump
Thursday 4 June 2020

In this lecture, Professor Joseph S. Nye Jr.(Harvard Kennedy School of Government) looked at the foreign policies of 14 US presidents since 1945, scoring each one on their ethical decision-making.

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Russian hackers, trolls and #DemocracyRIP
Thursday 27 February 2020

In this lecture, Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson (University of Pennsylvania) brought together what is known about the impact of the Russian interventions in the 2016 US presidential election, outlined the contours of the #DemocracyRIP Russian plans to undercut the presidency of Hillary Clinton, and asked what’s next and what can we do about it.


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Is Progressive Capitalism an Answer to America's Problems? 
Wednesday 4 December 2019

We all have the sense that our economy tilts toward big business, but a few corporations have come to dominate entire sectors, contributing to skyrocketing inequality and slow growth. Too many have made their wealth through exploitation of others rather than through wealth creation. In this lecture, Professor Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University) argued that we need to exploit the benefits of markets while taming their excesses, making sure that markets work for people and not the other way around. 


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Can America Still Have a Successful Foreign Policy?
Monday 21 October 2019

Donald Trump took office pledging to “make America great again,” but his actions as president have done nothing to make Americans or the world either safer or more prosperous. Professor Stephen M. Walt (Harvard University) discussed what a more realistic and successful foreign policy might look like, and what needs to change in order to implement it. 

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Donald Trump and the Roots of Republican Extremism in the US
Monday 14 October 2019

Professor Theda Skocpol (Harvard University) explained how sets of organizations expressing two separate currents of right wing extremism – billionaire ultra-free-market fundamentalism and popularly rooted ethno-nationalist resentment – have worked in tandem to remake the Republican Party.

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How Millennial Economics Will Shake Up US Politics
Wednesday 9 October 2019

Joseph C. Sternberg (Wall Street Journal) presented an overview of Millennial economics in America and of how the Great Recession particularly affected Millennials in ways that continue to resonate even as economic conditions have improved. 

Research Seminars

The Phelan Family are also supporting a series of  US Centre research seminars on contemporary topics in 2020.

Race and Gender in US Politics in Historical and Contemporary Perspective


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African Americans in a 'White' House: Presidential Politics, Race, and The Pursuit of Power
Thursday 5 March 2020, 6.30-8pm

Using one of the most outrageous scandals in modern American political history as a case study - the Housing and Urban Development Scandal (HUD) of the 1980s and 1990s which saw political officials steal billions in federal funding set aside for low-income housing residents – Professor Leah Wright Rigueur (Harvard Kennedy School) told the complex story of the transformation of Black politics and the astonishing racial politics of presidential administrations that have paved the way for patterns of political misconduct that have continued into the present.

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EVENT POSTPONED: The First Black Presidential Candidate: Shirley Chisholm’s Trailblazing Campaign
TBC 2020

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm was the first Black candidate to run for the presidency of the United States from a major party, and the first Black Democrat to do so. In this seminar, Professor Anastasia Curwood (University of Kentucky), will look at Shirley Chisholm's campaign, which centered around building a coalition between Black, brown, young, and poor voters who would bring a substantial number of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Miami.



Photo by jonathan riley on Unsplash

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