A show that puts the illiberal turn in context. Each week Will and Siva, both University of Virginia professors, are joined by leading thinkers to discuss serious threats to government by the people: from the dark web and media disinformation, to climate change, economic inequality and violent extremism.
All over the world, liberal democracy is getting turned upside-down. Autocratic leaders are using populist appeals, the partisan media and the power of their offices to short-circuit thoughtful deliberation and political consensus. They flout the rule of law, unleash the police on their own people, suppress dissent and attack voting rights. So what can you do about it? Join hosts Will Hitchcock and Siva Vaidhyanathan on Democracy in Danger — a show that puts the illiberal turn in context. Each week Will and Siva, both University of Virginia professors, are joined by leading thinkers to discuss serious threats to government by the people: from the dark web and media disinformation, to climate change, economic inequality and violent extremism. Help them save democracy, and make it work better.
Law enforcement is among the most undemocratic institutions in America, says New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie. And the effect this has on communities of color is especially stark. Bouie visits Will and Siva’s class for another live recording with their students, to discuss police brutality, the country’s culture of violence, and the shifting ground of racial oppression in U.S. history. How citizens experience government, he says, depends a lot on what they look like and what levers of power they hold.
Manasseh Mathiang was twice exiled from his homeland. Once: as a child fleeing a bloody civil war. A second time: as an activist who returned to help build a new country but ran afoul of the authorities. His crime? Singing for freedom and justice in South Sudan, where the government promised democratic reforms and delivered oppression instead. Still, Mathiang and fellow artists of the Anataban movement continue their struggle for peace — through music, murals, comedy and, when need be, protest.
This time on the show, we bring you a tale of two struggles. In Ukraine, a 16-year-old living just miles from the Russian border does what she can in the face of missile strikes, power outages and daily trauma. And in Estonia, an exiled Russian activist works to oppose Putin’s war and help refugees escape the conflict. Where democracy is most in danger, they teach us, joy comes from standing up for yourself — and for others.
William I. Hitchcock is the William W. Corcoran Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His work and teaching focus on the global history of the 20th Century, in particular the era of the two world wars and the cold war. His most recent book is The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018), which was a New York Times bestseller. For more information, click here. He is now writing "FDR and the Dictators: Fascism, Democracy and the Awakening of America," which explores reactions in the United States to the rise of fascism in Europe from the 1920s to 1941.
Siva Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson Professor of Media Studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Intellectual Property: A Very Short Introduction from Oxford University Press, published in 2017, and The Googlization of Everything -- and Why We Should Worry from the University of California Press, published in 2011.
Robert Armengol is an anthropologist and journalist with two decades of experience in immersive fieldwork, print and radio documentary, and teaching in higher education. Before joining UVA's Deliberative Media Lab, he produced an audio show on legal scholarship called Common Law; advised the student-run podcast Independent Study; and helped manage BackStory, which brought U.S. history to public radio audiences across the country. His reporting has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, and various local newspapers and magazines.