CANCELLED - Kevin Duong & Jennie Ikuta - "Contesting Conformity" and "The Virtues of Violence"

Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Kevin Duong & Jennie Ikuta
 **This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule in the coming months.**
Kevin Duong and Jennie Ikuta discuss their books The Virtues of Violence: Democracy Against Disintegration in Modern France and Contesting Conformity: Democracy and the Paradox of Political Belonging. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.
At the Co-op
RSVP HERE (Please note your RSVP is requested but not required)
About The Virtues of Violence: The Virtues of Violence studies a pervasive but misunderstood image of violence in modern French thought: popular violence as social regeneration. It argues that this vision of violence was not a niche phenomenon, but central to the momentous developments of modern French politics. It appealed to thinkers across the spectrum, because it answered fundamental dilemmas at the heart of democratization. Understanding its pervasive appeal, Duong argues, reveals how democracy was never simply a struggle for justice or a new legal regime, but also liberating visions of the social bond.
About Kevin Duong: Kevin Duong is an Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Specializing in political theory, Kevin Duong writes and teaches on European political thought and intellectual history, with a particular focus on modern France. Much of his research focuses on how the revolutionary agency of “the people” is expressed, but his interests extend beyond democratic theory to fields such as modern social theory, queer theory, and the history of the left.
About Contesting Conformity: Contesting Conformity provides a new interpretive lens to the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and Friedrich Nietzsche to investigate non-conformity and its relationship to modern democracy. While there are important differences among them, all three thinkers worry that certain aspects of democracy—namely, the power of public opinion, the tyranny of social majorities, and the commitment to moral equality—encourage conformity, thus suppressing dissent, individuality, and creativity. Taken together, Tocqueville, Mill, and Nietzsche show us that to the extent that we are committed to democracy, we must find ways to foster non-conformity, but we must do so within certain moral and political constraints. Drawing new insight from their work, Jennie Ikuta argues that non-conformity is an intractable issue for democracy. While non-conformity is often important for cultivating a just polity, non-conformity can also undermine democracy. In other words, democracy needs non-conformity, but not in an unconditional way. This book examines this intractable relationship, and offers resources for navigating the relationship in contemporary democracies in ways that promote justice and freedom.
About Jennie Ikuta: Jennie Ikuta is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Tulsa. As a political theorist, she is interested in the role of moral psychology in politics. Contesting Conformity is her first book. She is currently focusing on another dimension of moral psychology—willful ignorance— to consider how it sustains racial injustice. After graduating from the University of Chicago (AB '07), she went to Brown for the PhD in political theory. Beginning in Fall 2020, she will become Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637