American Democracy with discussants David Gergen, Bernard-Henri Levy, David M. Kennedy, Michael Sandel and Sean Wilentz. The panel is moderated by Anna Deavere Smith.
A look at politics at home and abroad. How has the notion of "democracy" evolved? What,in fact, is democracy? How did the Founding Fathers view this when they drafted our Constitution? What are the competing notions of democracy historically and presently? What threatens our notions of Democracy today? How well is American democracy working? Can it be transported to other nations?
Some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers and other leaders drawn from myriad fields and from across the country and around the world all gathered in a single place - to teach, speak, lead, question, and answer at the 2006 Aspen Ideas Festival. Throughout the week, they all interacted with an audience of thoughtful people who stepped back from their day-to-day routines to delve deeply into a world of ideas, thought, and discussion.
David M. Kennedy
David M. Kennedy is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University, where he teaches 20th-century U.S. history, American political and social thought, American foreign policy, American literature, and the comparative development of democracy in Europe and America.
A scholar whose work integrates economic and cultural analysis with social and political history, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his book Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. His other books include Over Here: The First World War and American Society, The American People in the Depression, and Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger.
He is a co-author of the textbook The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, now in its 13th edition.
Bernard-Henri Levy is a philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker. He was hailed by Vanity Fair magazine as "Superman and prophet: we have no equivalent in the United States."
Among his dozens of books are American Vertigo, Barbarism with a Human Face, and Who Killed Daniel Pearl? His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications throughout Europe and the United States. His films include the documentaries Bosna! and A Day in the Death of Sarajevo.
Levy is co-founder of the antiracist group SOS Racism and has served on diplomatic missions for the French government.
Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980. His latest book is What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. Sandel’s other books include Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? and Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, among others. His work has been translated into 19 foreign languages. In 2010, China Newsweek named him the most influential foreign figure of the year in China. In 2009, Sandel delivered the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures, broadcast in the United Kingdom and worldwide on the BBC World Service. In the United States, Sandel has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; he is also on the Council on Foreign Relations.
Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith is perhaps best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. In addition to her work in television and film, Smith is said to have created a new form of theatre. Following her interviews with scores of individuals, usually on a topic of civic and political interest, she creates theater works in which she plays many characters – as many as 52 in one production – representing multiple points of view.
Sean Wilentz is the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1979.
Wilentz took his B.A. at Columbia University in 1972, before earning another B.A. at Oxford University on a Kellett Fellowship and his Ph.D. at Yale University. His historical scholarship has focused mainly on the early years of the American republic.
His major study to date, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, received the Bancroft Prize in 2006 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His first book, Chants Democratic, won several awards, including the Beveridge Award from the American Historical Association.
A contributing editor at The New Republic, Wilentz writes widely on music and the arts as well as history and politics, and has received a Grammy nomination and, from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, a Deems Taylor Award for musical commentary. He is the historian-in-residence of bobdylan.com, the official Bob Dylan web site.