Rationality, Ritual, and Democratic Decision-Making: Perspectives from Classical Athens
zoom (registration link below)
October 16, 2020
Sara Forsdyke (University of Michigan), Josiah Ober (Stanford University)
10AM PST -

To attend, please register here.

As the November 2020 General Election approaches, the nature of democratic decision-making is a question of vital importance for participants in American democracy. How do communities make collective decisions? Do democratic institutions encourage more rational choices? Or irrational ones? How do religious ideas and practices shape the patterns and outcomes of community decision-making? 

Classical Athens has often been exemplary for thinking through big questions of democratic theory and practice. In a panel discussion on Friday October 16, 10:00AM PST, Sara Forsdyke (University of Michigan) and Josiah Ober (Stanford University) will take up these questions in relation to both Classical Athens and more contemporary societies. Emily Mackil, (UC Berkeley Department of History and Chair, Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archeology) and Duncan MacRae (UC Berkeley Department of Classics) will serve as interlocutors. With the history and institutions of classical Athens at the center of the conversation, the panel will range across fundamental issues of democratic practice and theory, touching on political institutions, rationality, political and religious ritual, and, ultimately, the significance of democratic political participation.