What is Democracy?: Film Screening and Panel Discussion with Members of the WLL Faculty

What is Democracy?: Film Screening and Panel Discussion with Astra Taylor (director) and BU Faculty (Lida Maxwell, Petrus Liu, Vivien Schmidt, Spencer Piston, Margaret Litvin)

10/24 at 5pm, Photonics 206


BU will host one of the first American screenings of Astra Taylor’s new documentary, “What is Democracy?”, followed by a short panel discussion with the director (Astra Taylor) and BU faculty (Lida Maxwell [PO], Spencer Piston [PO], Petrus Liu [WLL & WGS], Margaret Litvin [WLL], and Vivien Schmidt [PO & Pardee]). Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too often take for granted. What does it mean for the people to rule—and is that something we even want? Taylor answers the question through linked interviews with philosophers (Silvia Federici, Cornel West, Wendy Brown), Black Lives Matters activists, trauma surgeons, immigrant textile workers, elementary school children, college Republicans, a long-serving state legislator, Syrian refugees, and unemployed Athenians in Greece (among others). This diverse cast confronts vital questions: Who gets to participate in democracy? What is freedom? Can democracy even exist in an era of concentrated wealth? How can the people reclaim the power that is supposed to be theirs? Instead of providing easy answers, What is Democracy? reminds us that wrestling with ideas is central to the ongoing struggle to rule ourselves. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means.

This event is hosted with generous support from the CAS Dean’s Office, the Thurman Center, the BU Humanities Center, CURA, the Political Science Department, the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Philosophy Department.