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Join Charles Beitz, Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics at Princeton University for an Obert C. Tanner Lecture on the Intimations of Failure. This is the third and final event For the People? Representative Government in America lecture series.

Political scientists, constitutional lawyers, and democratic theorists consider norms of democratic representation in literature whose paths cross too seldom. They do not agree about the meaning of fair and effective representation. Democratic theory is perhaps the area to which one would look for insight, but for the most part it has been too remote from political practice to illuminate the problems of our recent institutional history. These lectures will try to bring the theory of democratic representation into closer contact with its troubled American practice.

For those interested in the moral basis of representative democracy, the narrative of malfunction raises two questions. First, are the symptoms documented by political scientists really failures? What norms of democratic representation do they infringe? This is a problem of diagnosis. Second, approaching the subject more constructively, what would successful democratic representation look like? If we grant that democratic politics is unavoidably a form of regulated rivalry, what would it mean for its regulation to be fair and effective? The first lecture addresses diagnosis. The second lecture discusses prescription. This seminar and discussion includes commentary on these topics by Martin Gilens, Pamela S. Karlan, and Jane Mansbridge.

The in-person event will be held at Toll Room, Alumni House, on the UC Berkeley Campus. The event will also be available virtually via live stream on the lecture webpage.

Please be advised that this event is not being offered virtually, though a recording of the lecture will be available on the Tanner website following the event. Former messaging mistakenly included references to a live stream, which will not be available.

For updates about this lecture and upcoming lecture series events, please visit the Tanner Lectures website.

Date & Time

October 19, 2022
4:10pm - 6:00pm


Alumni House, Toll Room
Berkeley, 94704 United States + Google Map
View Venue Website


Alumni House, Toll Room
Berkeley, 94704 United States + Google Map
View Venue Website


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