UW Madison: The Future of Liberalism

Bascom Hall, UW-Madison

The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy: “The Future of Liberalism: A Conversation Among Conservatives”


After the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, many scholars and pundits confidently predicted the triumph of liberal democracy around the globe. As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of that momentous event, confidence in that prediction has waned, if not altogether ceased. The defeat of Soviet Communism has coincided with an increasing anxiety and skepticism in the West about the viability, and desirability, of liberalism, and liberal democracy appears to be in retreat.

Much of that anxiety and skepticism have come from within the ranks of conservatism. Some conservatives argue that liberalism contains the seeds of its own destruction and is deeply contrary to conservatism. Other conservatives argue that conservatism involves the defense of at least some forms of liberalism and opposition to others. The goal of this conference is to have a serious and sustained conversation among some of the best of these conservatives on the relationship between liberalism and conservatism, especially in the American context. Several Jack Miller Center fellows will be participating.

Liberalism conference poster

Thursday, April 11, 2019, 5:30 PM – Saturday, April 13, 2019, 2:00 PM
Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium and the University Club, Lower Level • University of Wisconsin – Madison

Registration required

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Richard AvramenkoRichard Avramenko is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His main areas of interest are ancient and continental political thought, as well as liberalism, democratic theory, and modern political theory. Professor Avramenko has written articles on several topics, including Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, St. Augustine, Dostoevsky, Tocqueville, Nietzsche, Voegelin, Heidegger, Canadian identity politics, and mortgage and housing policy. He is the author of Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011), and has co-edited books on friendship, Dostoevsky, and aristocratic political thought. Currently, he is working on a new book manuscript titled The Crush of Democracy: Tocqueville and the Egalitarian Mind.

Professor Avramenko is a Jack Miller Center fellow.

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Patrick DeneenPatrick Deneen is the David A. Potenziani Memorial College Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. His teaching and writing interests include the history of political thought, American political thought, religion and politics, and literature and politics. His most current work focuses on the growing conflict between, and potential new alignments arising out of, a globalist meritocratic elite and populist nationalists. Professor Deneen was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Leo Strauss Award for Best Dissertation in Political Theory in 1995, and was an honorable mention for APSA’s Best First Book Award in 2000. He is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles, including Why Liberalism Failed (Yale University Press, 2018) and Conserving America? Thoughts on Present Discontents (St. Augustine Press, 2016).

Professor Deneen is a Jack Miller Center fellow.

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Christopher LynchChristopher Lynch is a Professor of Political Science and Great Ideas at Carthage College. Previously, he served as a Senior Advisor at the United States Department of State. Professor Lynch’s teaching interests include political theory, Western intellectual history, and American foreign policy. He has published numerous articles and is currently completing a book on the topic of war and foreign affairs in Niccolò Machiavelli’s writings. His translation and interpretation of  Machiavelli’s Art of War was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2005.

Professor Lynch is a Jack Miller Center fellow.

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Mark MitchellMark T. Mitchell is the Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College. He teaches courses in political theory. Professor Mitchell is the author of The Limits of Liberalism: Tradition, Individualism, and the Crisis of Freedom (University of Notre Dame Press, 2018), The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012), and Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing (ISI, 2006). He also co-edited Localism in the Mass Age: A Front Porch Republic Manifesto (Front Porch Republic, 2018), The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry (ISI, 2011), and The Culture of Immodesty in American Life and Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Professor Lynch is a co-founder of the web-zine Front Porch Republic.

Professor Mitchell is a Jack Miller Center fellow.

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Michael PromiselMichael Promisel is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Michael’s research draws on the traditions of ancient, Medieval, and American political thought to reflect on timely questions concerning leadership, virtue, and religion and politics. His dissertation, Paragons of Political Leadership, proposes a framework for understanding the ethical character of political leadership and includes chapters on Aristotle, Cicero, Machiavelli, Christine de Pizan, and Thomas More. Michael’s scholarship has appeared in the Review of Politics, VoegelinView, and the American Journal of Political Science.

Promisel is a Jack Miller Center fellow.

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Nathan SchlueterNathan Schlueter is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Hillsdale College. He teaches courses in social and political philosophy, ethical theory, Roman Catholic theology and philosophy, and literature. He is the author of One Dream or Two? Justice in America and in the Thought of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Lexington Books, 2002), co-author, with Nikolai Wenzel, of Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives: The Foundations of the Libertarian-Conservative Debate (Stanford University Press, 2017), and co-editor, with Mark Mitchell, of The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry (ISI Books, 2011). His articles have also appeared in First Things, Public DiscourseNational Review Online, and Perspectives on Political Science.

Professor Schlueter is a Jack Miller Center fellow.

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The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at University of Wisconsin – Madison seeks to promote appreciation and critical understanding of the cardinal principles and institutions of liberal democracy while advancing intellectual diversity. These principles and institutions include constitutionalism and rule of law, the meaning and scope of freedom and free markets in a democratic order, the place and role of religion in liberal democracies, and competition between liberal democracy and competing ideologies, including various forms of autocracy and new political religions.

Learn more about the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy >>



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