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Ugly Freedoms in American Politics

February 29 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Freedom is the highest value in American politics, but its legacy is complex. Throughout American history, freedom has supported individual liberty, emancipation, and civil rights, but has also supported white supremacy, economic exploitation, and misogyny. These “ugly freedoms” entail the right to harm and oppress others.

This talk with Dr. Elisabeth Anker will examine the ugliness of freedom, from the history of slavery to the Jan. 6 insurrection. But, it will also highlight visions of freedom that emphasize the flourishing of all people, not just a privileged few.

Anker is a professor of American studies and political science at the George Washington University. Her research and teaching interests are at the intersection of political theory and cultural studies, with a focus on practices of freedom, violence, and power in US politics and culture. She is the author of “Ugly Freedoms” (Duke, 2022) and “Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom” (Duke 2014). Her articles have appeared in Political Theory, Social Research, Theory & Event, American Literary History, Politics and Gender, Contemporary Political Theory, Journal of Communication, and others.

  • This event is free and open to the public.

The Ida Wise East Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the John Franklin East Distinguished Chair in the Humanities.


February 29
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Brian Crim

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