13th Annual University of Chicago International Education Conference: Democracy in Recession


13th Annual University of Chicago International Education Conference: Democracy in Recession — Lecture Series and Workshop

The University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS), Center on East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES), Center on Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), Chicago Center on Democracy, and Neighborhood Schools Program are pleased to present:

Democracy in Recession — Lecture Series and Workshop

October 22, 26, 29 and November 6, 2020 via Zoom 

Registration required: https://forms.gle/y6j6hXjBzZRKdtpV6

Is democracy in recession around the world, or is it striking back? Democracy worldwide is under assault by a spectrum of authoritarian regimes. Their anti-democratic toolbox varies from voter suppression to media control and state-sanctioned violence, but protesters and activists around the world are using some of the same technological tools to fight for freedom of assembly and expression. This series of region-specific lectures and concluding workshop is designed to give teachers tools for introducing these regions and their issues into the classroom, as well as project ideas to further enrich their students.

(All times listed are in U.S. Central Time)


Part 1:  October 22 @ 6:00 – 7:15 PM with Victoria Hui, Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

“How Beijing has Killed Hong Kong’s Freedom and Democracy and Why American Students Should Care”

Professor Hui will narrate Hong Kong’s struggle for freedom and democracy through two protest slogans: from “Today’s Tiananmen, Tomorrow’s Hong Kong” in 1989 to “Today’s Tibet/Xinjiang, Tomorrow’s Hong Kong” in 2020. For three decades, Hong Kong people have struggled for democracy so as to preserve their preexisting freedoms. Chinese leaders, on the other hand, have tried to make Hong Kong safe for the Chinese Communist Party. The national security law aims to kill Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy. Hong Kong people have vowed to fight on to prevent the city’s further descent into the daily struggles and harsh reality faced in Tibet or Xinjiang. Hong Kong is a global city and its fate shapes the future of the world order. American students can help by supporting Congressional acts and government policies that protect Hong Kongers.


Part 2:  October 26 @ 6:00 – 7:15 PM with Nader Hashemi, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

“Social Protests, Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Middle East: A Framework for Understanding”

The Middle East seems to be perpetually in turmoil. This region is broadly identified in the American imagination with dictators, wars, the oppression of women, extremist movements and failed states. Are these problems the result internal cultural/religious factors or are the problems of Middle East attributable to external factors connected to foreign intervention and exploitation? How can educators begin to address this topic dispassionately, objectively and honestly? What is the best pedagogical approach to adopt when teaching this emotionally charged and controversial subject? This lecture will answer these questions.


Part 3:  November 9 @ 6:00 – 7:00PM with Elena Gapova Professor, Western Michigan University. 

“The ‘Urban Revolution’ in Today’s Belarus and Why Women are Leading”

On August 9, 2020, Belarus, a post-socialist nation of nine and a half million, held presidential elections. After polling stations had closed, and Alexander Lukashenko, the president for the last twenty-six years, announced his victory with 80% of votes, people took to the streets. They have been protesting ever since, despite beatings by riot police, arrests, and even torture, demanding fair elections and the release of all political prisoners. The Belarusian revolution, as it is now called, became associated with the image of three women – a presidential candidate and two leaders of her team – raising their hands in the gesture of protest and solidarity. Elena Gapova will narrate the story of women emerging as the leaders of the Revolution as its most active and strong-willed participants.


Part 4:  November 6 @ 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM  13th Annual UChicago International Education Conference Keynote with Zeynep Tufekci (UNC School of Information and Library Science) and 

Workshop with Stephen Duncombe (Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications, New York University)


For more information, please visit 


These activities are made possible by generous support from Title VI National Resource Center Grants from the U.S. Department of Education.