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DEBATE: Are Referendums a Threat to Democracy?

  • Kimmel Center Room 406 (map)

In the past decade alone, referendums have changed the world as we've come to know it. Two years ago, Britain exited the European Union. Last October, Colombians rejected a historic peace agreement with FARC rebels. In Thailand, a constitutional amendment placed political power into the hands of the military. Ireland will vote on abortion next year, while Spain and Iraq struggle with ethno-nationalist calls for independence. 

Do referendums threaten democracy? Or are they true representations of the people's will? Are decisions made through referenda, as Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff put it, merely "Russian roulette for republics?" Join us as we deliberate these timely questions. 

Our guest debater is NYU Liberal Studies Professor Michael Shenefelt. Shenefelt is the author of two books: "The Questions of Moral Philosophy" (Humanity Books/Prometheus) and "If A, Then B: How the World Discovered Logic" (with co-author Heidi White, Columbia University Press).  Specializing in philosophy and political theory, Shenefelt has distinguished himself at NYU as a two-time recipient of the José Vázquez Teaching Award, among other accolades. 

RSVP here. Food will be provided :)