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Popular Sovereignty and Populism

March 15, 2019 - March 16, 2019
George Washington Forum, Ohio University

Baker University Center 240/242
Baker University Center, 1 Park Place
Athens 45701
United States

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The George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics and Institutions, which has its home at Ohio University, invites paper proposals for a conference and subsequent edited volume on Popular Sovereignty and Populism. The conference will be held at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (15–16 March 2019). Previous George Washington Forum conferences have resulted in edited books from the university presses at Cambridge, Oxford, and Virginia.

In his Considerations on Representative Government, political theorist John Stuart Mill argues that “the ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community.” Currently, we live in a moment where some exercises of the people’s power result in what is often called democratic illiberalism. This conference and volume intend to illuminate the concept of popular sovereignty and its related expression, populism. We are especially interested in the crucial continuities and discontinuities in popular sovereignty that emerge when we study critical moments in political history. These include (but are not limited to) the theory and practice of popular sovereignty in the Italian Renaissance; seventeenth-century England; revolutionary and federal America; and revolutionary France. Proposals shedding light on the development of modern popular sovereignty, both within and outside the European and Anglo-American traditions, including papers with a primary focus on ancient and medieval politics, will be given full consideration.


Keith Baker (Stanford), Mark Blitz (Claremont McKenna), Michael Braddick (Sheffield), and Catherine Zuckert (Notre Dame) will deliver plenary lectures. The submission deadline for abstracts is 1 November 2018.

The conference organizers welcome proposals from advanced doctoral students and both early career and established scholars in the fields of history, intellectual history, political theory, law, literature, and related disciplines.

Proposals should include a 500-word abstract, a brief (1-2 page) curriculum vitae, and current contact information. Please send proposals to both conference organizers by 1 November 2018.


Dr. Chris Barker, Department of Political Science, The American University in Cairo (chris.barker@aucegypt.edu)


Dr. Robert G. Ingram, Department of History, Ohio University (ingramr@ohio.edu)


Notifications will be sent by 21 November 2018.

Limited financial support is available on a competitive basis for junior faculty

members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students who cannot secure institutional funding.

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