Nov 19 2020


4:00 pm - 5:30 pm



An American Reckoning (On the Frontlines of Democracy lecture series

The 2020 US election raises profound questions for America and the prospects of democracy, equality and justice in many parts of the world. What is the place of social movements and political organizing in our democracies? How does the political approach and impact of the Movement for Black Lives compare to previous iterations of the Black liberation struggle in the U.S.? And what lessons should we learn from our current political moment?

In this talk, Deva Woodly explores the answers to these questions, making the case that this critical juncture gives people a unique opportunity to forge a new democratic politics for the 21st century.

Following her presentation, Dr Woodly will engage in conversation with Sanjay Ruparelia and Debra Thompson. This event is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson and open to all.



Deva Woodly is an Associate Professor of Politics at the New School. She is the author of The Politics of Common Sense: How Social Movements Use Public Discourse to Change Politics and Win Acceptance (Oxford 2015). Her research covers a variety of topics, from media & communication, to political understandings of economics, to race & imagination, & social movements. Her forthcoming book is Reckoning: Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Necessity of Social Movements.

Sanjay Ruparelia is the inaugural Jarislowsky Democracy Chair, and an Associate Professor of Politics, at Ryerson University. His research examines the politics of democracy, inequality and development in India, China and the postcolonial South. He is the author of Divided We Govern: Coalition Politics in Modern India (Oxford 2015), editor of The Indian Ideology (Permanent Black, 2016), and co-editor of Understanding India’s New Political Economy: A Great Transformation? (Routledge 2011).

Debra Thompson is an Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University. A leading scholar of the comparative politics of race and inequality in democratic societies, she is the author of the award-winning book, The Schematic State: Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census (Cambridge 2016). Her research has also appeared in the Canadian Journal of Political ScienceSouth Atlantic QuarterlySocial and Legal Studies, and Ethnic and Racial Studies, among other journals.


On the Frontlines of Democracy is a new public lecture series, organized by Sanjay Ruparelia, the Jarislowsky Democracy Chair at Ryerson University, to analyze its prospects in the twenty-first century. Around the world, democracies face serious challenges, old and new. Can we protect our constitutional democracies in an era of popular mistrust, severe partisanship and resurgent nationalism? Can they reduce inequalities of power, wealth and status, defend deep diversity and confront climate change in the new digital age? And can we develop innovative strategies to revitalize civic engagement and empower public institutions to renew the promise of democracy?____________________________________________________________________________________

We are committed to hosting an inclusive and accessible event for everyone. This event will be closed-captioned. Please let us know if you require accommodations. Contact Melissa Wong, for more details.