America: The State of Our Democracy
Dr. Patrick N. Allitt is Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University, where he has taught since 1988. The holder of a doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Allitt-an Oxford University graduate-has also taught American religious history at Harvard Divinity School, where he was a Henry Luce Postdoctoral Fellow. He was the Director of Emory College's Center for Teaching and Curriculum from 2004 to 2009, where he looked for ways to improve teaching. In this critical administrative position, he led workshops on a wide variety of teaching-related problems, visited dozens of other professors' classes, and provided one-on-one consultation to teachers to help them overcome particular pedagogical problems. Professor Allitt was honored with Emory's Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2000 was appointed to the N.E.H./Arthur Blank Professorship of Teaching in the Humanities. A widely published and award-winning author, Professor Allitt has written several books, including The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities throughout American History; Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950-1985; Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome; and Religion in America since 1945: A History. He is also author of I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom, a memoir about one semester in his life as a university professor. In addition, he is the editor of Major Problems in American Religious History. He has written numerous articles and reviews for academic and popular journals, including The New York Times Book Review.
Background Adam was born in London. He grew up between England and Heidelberg Germany. Having received his BA in Economics from King’s College Cambridge in the summer of 1989, he had the good fortune to witness the end of the Cold War in Berlin, where he began his postgraduate studies. He went on to take his PhD from the London School of Economics. From 1996 to 2009 Adam taught at the University of Cambridge, where he was Reader in Modern History and Gurnee Hart fellow in History at Jesus College. After Cambridge, Adam was appointed to the Barton M. Biggs Professorship at Yale University, where he succeeded Paul Kennedy as the Director of International Security Studies. Adam joined Columbia’s history department in the summer of 2015. Academics and Awards In February 2011 Adam served as Thomas Hawkins Johnson Visiting Professor in Military History at West Point He has appeared on PBS Television, BBC Radio, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, the History Channel, Swiss and French television. Authorship Adam’s first book, Statistics and the German State: the Making of Modern Economic Knowledge appeared in 2001. Wages of Destruction: the Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy was published in 2006 and Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of the Global Order 1916-1931 in 2014. For these books Adam won the Leverhulme prize fellowship, the H-Soz-Kult Historisches Buch Prize, the Longman History Today Prize, the Wolfson Prize and the LA Times History Prize. He was shortlisted for the Kirkus review, Duff Cooper and Hessel Tiltman prize and his books have featured in the book of the year lists of the Financial Times, LA Times, Kirkus Review, Foreign Affairs and the Economist. Adam’s books have been translated into eleven languages. He has written and reviewed for the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, the TLS, the LRB, the New left Review, the New Statesman, the WSJ, the New York Times, the New York Review of books, Dissent, Die Zeit, Spiegel, TAZ and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Adam is represented by Andrew Wylie and Sarah Chalfant of the Wylie literary agency.
01: The American Revolution: The First Chapter of America’s Democracy
Professor Edward O'Donnell plunges into how democracy began in the United States and how unlikely it was to emerge in a world full of monarchies. He unpacks the choices and conflicts that have made history, providing a deep dive into the events surrounding the American Revolution, as well as insights into the Declaration of Independence, the emergence of equal rights, and the effects of capitalism on the success of creating a truly democratic nation.
02: Law & Religion: The Founding Fathers’ Intention & Where We Are Today
Professor Patrick Allitt looks at our Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the First Amendment through the lens of multiple religious movements and historical turning points, such as famous church-state and religious rights cases that have come up through the courts. You’ll see how, although we still struggle with the limitations of religion and law as defined and intended by the Constitution today, America’s religious tolerance remains one of the foundations of our democracy.
03: Can Democracy Disintegrate? The German Experience
Professor Adam Tooze introduces the Weimar Republic, outlining the factors that led first to its rise and then its eventual collapse. He compares and contrasts the timeline and key figures with the current situation American democracy faces. As he walks us through both scenarios, he dispels rumors, myths, and the misconceptions we may have that history is indeed repeating itself and that our own democracy is facing an imminent collapse.