Roundtable discussion: Is America sliding into authoritarianism?

Online event - Zoom
Friday 30 October 2020 (17:00-18:30)

Tuesday 3 November marks the most consequential US presidential election in a generation. After four years of having Donald Trump lead America, we are now seeing the erosion of basic democratic norms such as the peaceful transition to power, the manipulation of foreign policy for personal political gain, militarized responses to peaceful protest, mass voter suppression, and tacit support for white nationalist groups.

Bringing together scholars of comparative and US politics, this roundtable discussion will focus on three questions:

  1. Is America sliding into authoritarianism?
  2. Will a win by Joe Biden hail a return to “normal politics”?
  3. What will happen on the night of 3 November?

Join us for a discussion on the role of the Michigan militia, social movements and Black Lives Matters, the role of the US courts, and how it all comes together.  

Convenor: Dr. Tereza Capelos, Director of the Institute of Global Cooperation and Security, UoB 

Chair: Dr. Christine Cheng (War Studies, Kings College London)

Speakers: Dr. Consuelo Amat (Stanford University), Dr. Regina Bateson (University of Ottawa), Dr. Colin Provost (University College London), Dr. Christine Cheng (Kings College London) 

Consuelo Amat is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) at Stanford University and a Senior Research Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Her research interests include state repression, armed and unarmed resistance, political violence, and the development of civil society in authoritarian regimes. Her current book project, The Emergence and Consolidation of Opposition to Authoritarian Rule, examines how opposition to autocratic regimes develops in the face of different patterns of state repression. The United States Institute of Peace, the John F. Enders Foundation, the Tinker Foundation, and Yale University’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies have supported her research. Consuelo received her Ph.D. in Political Science with distinction from Yale University. She also holds an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University. During the 2017-2018 academic year Consuelo was a United States Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar. Before starting graduate school she worked at the Brookings Institution, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Peace Action West, and Human Rights Watch. 

Regina Bateson is a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa. She earned a BA in history from Stanford University and a PhD in political science from Yale University, with support from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Her articles are published or forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, and the Journal of Peace Research. Her research has also been featured in outlets like the New York Times, Ms. Magazine, TIME, and Nautilus. Before moving to Ottawa, she taught in the political science department at MIT. In 2017-2018, Bateson moved back to her hometown and ran for Congress in California's 4th District. She was also previously a Foreign Service Officer for the US Department of State. 

Christine Cheng is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in War Studies at King’s College London. Dr Cheng is the author of Extralegal Groups in Post-Conflict Liberia- How Trade Makes the State (OUP), which won the 2019 Conflict Research Society’s Annual Book Prize. She is also co-editor of Corruption and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Selling the Peace?. Working with the UK government’s Stabilisation Unit, she co-authored Securing and Sustaining Elite Bargains that Reduce Violent Conflict, the final report of the Elite Bargains and Political Deals project on conflict-affected countries. Recently, she worked with Chatham House on a DFID-funded study of Conflict Economies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. From 2020-2025, Dr Cheng will lead a major interdisciplinary project on Violent and Peaceful Behaviour (part of FCDO’s XCEPT research programme). At King’s, Dr Cheng teaches on the MA in Conflict, Security, and Development. Previously, she was the Boskey Fellow in Politics at Exeter College, Oxford, and the Cadieux-Léger Fellow at Global Affairs Canada. She has worked for the UN and the World Bank. Dr Cheng holds a DPhil from Oxford (Nuffield) and an MPA from Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs. Dr Cheng sits on the Advisory Board of Women in Foreign Policy

Colin Provost is an Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy at University College London (UCL) where he is Director of the MSc in Public Policy.  He received his PhD in Political Science from Stony Brook University and prior to his time at UCL, he was a Prize Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University.  His research focuses on how law, politics and administration affect the regulation of business, with a particular focus on the U.S.  This research, which has been supported by the British Academy and the National Science Foundation, has been published in numerous political science and public policy journals and handbooks.  He also writes for public audiences in outlets such as The ConversationThe Globe Post and the Washington Post Monkey Cage, among others.  Colin is a research collaborator with the UCL Global Governance Institute, a member of the UCL Centre for U.S. Politics and a co-convener of ComplianceNet, an organisation of scholars devoted to studying the intersection of rules and human behaviour.  From 2011-2013, he was Director of Environmental Governance for the UCL Environment Institute.

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