The Light That Failed: A Reckoning

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1 October 2020, online at 7pm Sydney time

Speakers: Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes

Ivan Krastev* and Stephen Holmes** will be with us to discuss their book, The Light that Failed: A Reckoning, with the three leaders of the Constitutional Populism project, Adam Czarnota and Martin Krygier of the University of New South Wales Law School, and Wojciech Sadurski, of the Sydney University Law School.

The Light That Failed: A Reckoning (Allen Lane, 2019) won the 30th Annual Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the world’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues. Krastev and Holmes argue that the supposed end of history turned out to be only the beginning of an “Age of Imitation.” Reckoning with the history of the last thirty years, they show that the most powerful force behind the wave of populist xenophobia that began in Eastern Europe, and has spread to the heartland of the West, stems from alienation and resentment at the post-1989 imperative to become Westernized. The reach of the book is global, and it deals with several of the central geopolitical challenges of our time.

The event is free, but registration is essential to gain access to this webinar.

Our project is co-hosting this talk with the Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law.

*Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies and permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, IWM Vienna. He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Board of Trustees of The International Crisis Group and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. He is the author of After Europe (2017); Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest (2014) and In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders? (2013). He is the winner of the Jean Améry Prize for European Essay Writing 2020. His latest book Is it Tomorrow, Yet? How the Pandemic Changes Europe was published in more than 20 languages in mid-June 2020 and will be published in English by Penguin in October 2020.

**Stephen Holmes is Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law at NYU School of Law. He previously taught at Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Chicago. His fields of specialization include the history of liberalism, the disappointments of democratization after communism, the politics of combating terrorism within the limits of the rule of law, and the contributions of the American Constitution to the projects of territorial expansion and Indian dispossession. Besides The Light that Failed: A Reckoning, he is the author of Benjamin Constant and the Making of Modern Liberalism (1984), The Anatomy of Antiliberalism (1993), Passions and Constraint: On the Theory of Liberal Democracy (1995), and The Matador’s Cape: America’s Reckless Response to Terror (2007). He is co-author (with Cass Sunstein) of The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes (1999), and (with Moshe Halbertal) of The Beginning of Politics: Power in the Biblical Book of Samuel (2017).