“The school will emphasize the American ideal of democracy.” – Nathaniel Batchelder, first headmaster of The Loomis Institute, May 1913
With the arrival of election season in the United States, three guest speakers will discuss issues of democracy and citizenship with the school community in October as part of the 2020–21 Hubbard Speakers Series, which is made possible by a gift from Robert P. Hubbard ’47.
AUTHOR OF THE PEOPLE VS. DEMOCRACY | CONTRIBUTING EDITOR AT THE ATLANTIC | ASSOCIATE PROF. AT JOHNS HOPKINS
Less than a third of young Americans say it’s important to them to live in a democracy. Why? Because the system is a mess: opaque administrations, frustrating political candidates, policies that don’t reflect the people. Atlantic magazine contributing editor, and author of the book on the subject—The People vs. Democracy—YASCHA MOUNK conducts engaging, hopeful and incredibly informative talks, explaining exactly how we got here—and what we can do to fix it.
Liberal democracies across the globe are in serious decline, while far-right groups and authoritarian leaders—populists—are on the rise. Keynote speaker Yascha Mounk is a Johns Hopkins professor and go-to authority on why democracy is in perilous danger (or the forces behind “democratic deconsolidation”—his own term). His third book, titled The People vs. Democracy: Why Democracy Is in Danger & How to Save It offers a critically important rationale for this seismic change, weaving together historical, economic, and cultural analysis. While offering a grim diagnosis, Mounk is also hopeful—in engaging talks, he offers practical methods for everyday citizens to combat this trend, and rediscover why our rights, freedoms, and protections are worth fighting for.
His forthcoming book, The Great Experiment: How to Make Diverse Democracies Work, will draw on history and comparative politics to offer an unflinching analysis of why it is so hard to build fair, diverse democracies. It’s not an easy task to undo centuries of inequality, but, ultimately, The Great Experiment is optimistic: if we embrace the right principles and policies, we can build a truly common life.
Writing regularly for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, CNN, The Nation, and Die Zeit—and appearing on radio and television in over ten countries—Mounk also writes “The Good Fight” column: articles on populism, resistance, activism, and the changing face of democracy for Slate magazine. He’s also the host of a podcast, also called “The Good Fight,” which interviews political luminaries such as George Packer, Mark Blythe, Brian Klaas, and more.
Mounk’s second book, The Age of Responsibility: Luck, Choice, and the Welfare State, explores how our conservative embrace of ‘personal responsibility’ has actually prevented us from empowering individuals—and achieving greater equity. His first book, Stranger in My Own Country: A Jewish Family in Modern Germany, “started as a memoir of his experiences growing up as a Jew in Germany, but became a broader investigation of how contemporary European nations were struggling to construct new, multicultural national identities,” according to The New York Times. It was also translated into German.
Mounk is an Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University and a Senior Fellow at the Agora Institute. Mounk formerly lectured on Political Theory at Harvard University’s Government Department. He received his BA in History from Trinity College, Cambridge and his PhD in Government from Harvard University.
host of CNN's SE Cupp Unfiltered | political commentator
S.E. Cupp is the host of CNN's SE Cupp Unfiltered, a weekly Saturday program covering the white-hot intersection of politics and media, and a political commentator. Cupp is a practical conservative with a searing honesty who brings her distinct outlook to CNN programming and special political coverage. Cupp most recently hosted a panel-driven show on HLN that debated contemporary issues impacting the country. She joined CNN as a contributor in 2013 and HLN as a host in 2017.
Leading up to her move to CNN and HLN, Cupp was the host of S.E. Cupp's Outside With Insiders, a digital series on CNN.com where she took political insiders to the great outdoors. Past guests included Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) among others. From 2013 to 2014 Cupp co-hosted "Crossfire" on CNN, the relaunched political debate program with panelists Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter and Van Jones. Prior to joining CNN as a host and political commentator, Cupp co-hosted MSNBC's roundtable show, The Cycle.
Cupp continues to be a nationally syndicated political columnist, culture critic and author. She regularly writes for the New York Daily News, Glamour and CNN.com. Cupp penned "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity" and co-authored "Why You're Wrong About the Right" with Brett Joshpe. She was previously a consultant for HBO's hit series, The Newsroom, contributor to TheBlaze's Real News and contributing editor for Townhall Magazine.
A native of Massachusetts, Cupp relocated from Washington, D.C. to Connecticut and works out of the CNN New York bureau. She is a graduate of Cornell University and earned a master's degree from New York University. In her free time, Cupp enjoys hunting, fishing and camping with her family. She is married with one son.
NEW YORKER STAFF WRITER | SPEAKER ON RACE, HISTORY, POLITICS AND CULTURE IN AMERICA
Against the backdrop of a pandemic that is disproportionately killing Black people, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police sparked a renewed push for racial justice and calls for change. In his recently released documentary Policing the Police 2020, FRONTLINE correspondent and New Yorker staff writer, JELANI COBB examines the enormous complexities and realities of race and policing in America.
Jelani Cobb is prominently featured in Ava Duvernay’s 13th, her Oscar-nominated documentary about the current mass incarceration of black Americans, which traces the subject to its historical origins in the Thirteenth Amendment. “13th explodes the ‘mythology of black criminality,’ as The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb at one point in the film refers to the successive and successful measures undertaken by political authorities to disempower African Americans over the last three centuries” wrote The Atlantic. Cobb also teaches in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he recently accepted a duPont-Columbia Award on behalf of Duvernay for the documentary. A long-time staff writer at The New Yorker, Cobb has written a remarkable series of articles about race, the police, and injustice. His articles include “The Anger in Ferguson,” “Murders in Charleston,” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations.” He is the author of Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic, and The Devil & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays.
In awarding Cobb the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, the jury wrote, “No one has done a better job of placing [the events in Ferguson, MO]—and similar happenings in other places like Sanford, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio and Staten Island, New York—in their broader context than Jelani Cobb.” Further: “Cobb met the challenge of describing the turmoil in Ferguson in a way that cut through the frantic chaos of ‘breaking news’ and deepened readers’ understanding of what they were seeing, hearing, and feeling. Ferguson was not an aberration, he showed, but a microcosm of race relations in the United States—organically connected to the complicated legacy of segregation and the unpaid debts of slavery itself.”
Cobb was formerly Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, where he was director of the Africana Studies Institute. He has received Fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations. His forthcoming book is Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931. He is also the recipient of the Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative series Policing the Police, which aired on PBS Frontline.