College of Law

The 57th Annual William H. Leary Lecture

The 57th Annual William H. Leary Lecture

DATE: Friday, January 20 2023
TIME: 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm MST
LOCATION: College of Law and Virtual Event
COST: Free and open to the public.
1 hour CLE (pending).

The Possible Futures of American Democracy


There is plenty of doubt about American democracy: whether it will survive, whether it can overcome our problems if it does, and whether it deserves to be called a democracy (or even to survive) in the first place. Too often, these urgent questions come at us as fast as the news cycle, and our responses, like a Twitter feed, reinforce what we already thought, amplified with fight-or-flight adrenaline. But if we slow down and think through some possible futures for the country, we can see more clearly what democracy means, and how law, politics, and culture can interact to uphold democracy or to erode it.



Jedediah Purdy, Raphael Lemkin Professor of Law, Duke Law School
Jedediah is the author of seven books, most recently Two Cheers for Politics: Why Democracy is Flawed, Frightening and Our Best Hope. He has written extensively in forums including the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Law Review, the Atlantic, the Nation, and the New York Times. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children.


The Leary Lecture is named in honor of William H. Leary, Dean of the University of Utah College of Law from 1915 to 1950, who was renowned for his intellectual rigor and love of teaching. The Leary Lecture has been an annual event since 1965.

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