Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory – Spring 2021


Spring Semester 2021

All classes take place on Fridays from 12:00 pm-2:00 pm. Due to the current cancellation of in-person events and classes, the workshop will be taking place online via Zoom for the Spring 2021 semester.  Instructions on using Zoom can be found at their website here.  The Zoom link to join each workshop is  Please note that to attend meetings, you must be signed in to a Zoom account.

Papers for upcoming talks are available to download in the table below.  Alternatively, copies of papers may be requested by contacting Rawan Mohsen at  The full Spring 2021 workshop schedule is available for download here.

Course description:

This course is a workshop for discussing work-in-progress in moral, political, and legal theory. The central aim is to enable students to engage directly with legal scholars, philosophers, and political theorists working on important normative questions. Another aim is to bring together scholars from different disciplines and perspectives, such as economics, history, sociology, and political science, who have normative interests.  The theme for the Spring 2021 workshop is democracy.

The format of the course is as follows: for the sessions with guest presenters, a designated student commentator will lead off with a 15-minute comment on the paper. The presenter will have 5-10 minutes to respond and then we will open up the discussion to the group. The first part of the course will be open to non-enrolled students, faculty, and visitors who wish to participate in the workshop discussion. We’ll stop for a break at 2:00 and those not enrolled in the course will leave. Enrolled students will continue the discussion with the guest until 3:00.

This is a cross-listed/room-shared course with the Philosophy and Political Science Departments. Students may enroll through Law (Law 210.2), Philosophy (Philosophy 290-09), or Political Science (PS 211). The first class will begin on Friday, January 22.


Jan. 22

Michael Hanchard, Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Racial and Ethno- National
Regimes in Liberal Polities

Jan. 29

Nadia Urbinati, Political Science, Columbia University

Populism and the Interpretation of Democracy

Feb. 5

Eric Schickler & Paul Pierson, Political Science, UC Berkeley

Polarization and the Durability of Madisonian Checks and Balances: A Developmental Analysis

Feb. 12

Daniela Cammack, Political Science, UC Berkeley

Representation in Ancient Greek Democracy

Feb. 19
Hélène Landemore, Political Science, Yale University

Can Citizens Make the Law? Evidence from the French Citizens’ Convention for Climate

Feb. 26

Lawrie Balfour, Politics, Virginia University

All the Waste and Beauty of the World’: Toni Morrison on Freedom and Devastation

Mar. 5

James Lindley Wilson, Political Science, University of Chicago

Making the All-Affected Principle Safe for Democracy

Mar. 12

Aziz Huq, Law, University of Chicago

Democracy as Failure


Mar. 19

Jonathan Gould, Law, UC Berkeley

Structural Biases in Structural Constitutional Law


Apr. 2

Melissa Lane, Politics, Princeton University

Against Anarchy: Theorizing Rule with Plato

Apr. 9

Richard Pildes, Law, New York University

The Courts and the 2020 Elections

Apr. 16

Michael Dawson, Political Science, University of Chicago

Why Race and Capitalism?

Apr. 23

David Estlund, Philosophy, Brown University

(Deep) Democracy, (Pure) Procedure, and (Basic) Structural Injustice

Apr. 30

Last session (for enrolled students only)

No paper