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Roundtable 1: How can knowledge production contribute to (re-)democratization

10.00-11.30, October 7

Participants: Jennifer McCoy (Georgia State University); Alberto Alemanno (Haute Ecole Commerciale, Paris); Julia Sonnevend (New School, NY); Anna Clark (University of Technology, Sydney); Sonya Ziaja (University of Baltimore)
Moderator: Laszlo Bruszt (DI/CEU)

The crisis of liberal democracies is associated with a legitimacy crisis of scientific knowledge production, where conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxer movements or climate denialism are often directly linked to racist, misogynist, xenophobic and anti-LGBTQ political agendas. Denying the legitimacy of scientific knowledge is often the first step to denying claims to equality and equity voiced by diverse social groups. This roundtable examines under what conditions can the institutions, governance structures and social uses of scientific knowledge production foster a re-democratization of political systems and societies.

Watch the panel here

Read the summary here

About the speakers:
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Jennifer McCoy
Jennifer McCoy, PhD, is professor of political science at Georgia State University and non-resident scholar at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was a Senior Core Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Budapest, Hungary in spring 2019.  McCoy was chosen for the inaugural class of Distinguished University Professorships at Georgia State University in 2013.  Specializing in international and comparative politics, Dr. McCoy’s areas of expertise include democratic resilience; democratic erosion and partisan polarization; crisis prevention and conflict resolution; democracy promotion and collective defense of democracy; election processes and international election observation; and Latin American Politics. 
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Alberto Alemanno
Alberto Alemanno is Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law & Policy at HEC Paris. He has pioneered innovative forms of academic and civic engagement and activism in the EU transnational space via his civic start up The Good Lobby as well as the EU Public Interest Clinic he established with New York University School of Law. He has been involved in dozens of campaigns, ranging from the first European Citizen Initiative putting an end to international roaming to the drafting of the EU whistleblower directive. He’s the author of over twenty scientific articles and several academic books. The World Economic Forum nominated him Young Global Leader in 2015 and Friends of Europe included him among the 40under40 European Young Leaders. 
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Julia Sonnevend
Julia Sonnevend is Associate Professor of Sociology and Communication at the New School for Social Research in NYC. Sonnevend received her PhD in Communications from Columbia University, her Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School, and her Juris Doctorate and Master of Arts degrees in German Studies and Aesthetics from Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of media studies, the sociology of culture, and international relations, and focuses on the “re-enchantment” of society, on the magical, non-rational moments, qualities, technologies and artifacts of contemporary social life worldwide. Her work aims to show that we are far less rational in our political, social and mediated lives than we imagine ourselves to be. 
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Anna Clark
Anna Clark is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology Sydney. Her PhD thesis, Teaching the Nation, was published by Melbourne University Press and examines debates about teaching Australian history in schools. Follow up research, History's Children: History Wars in the Classroom (New South, 2008), used interviews with 250 history teachers, students and curriculum officials from around Australia to explore Australian history teaching in school. She has also written two history books for children. Her teaching interests range across Australian history and historiography, including contests over the past, oral history, history education, memory studies, and public history. Her current Future Fellowship project, Re-imagining the National Story, is a history of Australian historiography funded by the Australian Research Council. 
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Sonya Ziaja
Sonya Ziaja is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Law and Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School’s Center for International and Comparative Law in 2021. Ziaja holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Arizona, MSc in Water Policy from the University of Oxford, and JD from the University of California Hastings. Her research interests focus on the overlapping areas of environmental governance and law, technology and society: How can environmental law and institutions sustainably adjust to rapidly changing bio-geophysical conditions and societal demands associated with climate change? And with what consequences for equity and democratic participation? Her approach to these questions draws on her interdisciplinary background in geography, water policy and law, as well as her practical knowledge of energy regulation. Prior to joining the University of Baltimore, Dr. Ziaja worked in energy regulation at the California Public Utilities Commission and was the research lead for the Water, Energy, Climate Nexus at the California Energy Commission. Her research has informed the climate adaptation strategy of the U.S. National Parks Service and the first climate adaptation regulation of investor-owned energy utilities in California.
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Laszlo Bruszt
Laszlo Bruszt is Co-Director of the CEU Democracy Institute, and Professor of Sociology at the Central European University. During the regime change in 1989 he served as National Secretary of the newly formed independent trade unions and has represented them in the Roundtable Negotiations. He started to teach at CEU in 1992 and has served as its Acting Rector and President in 1996/97. Between 2004 and 2016 he was teaching at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His publications focus on issues of regime change and economic transformation. His more recent studies deal with the politics of economic integration of the Eastern and Southern peripheries of Europe. 

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