Thursday, September 15, 2016

Louisiana Public Broadcasting and UNO to Host Panel Discussion on Economic and Political Equality

tocquevilleLouisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) and the Alexis de Tocqueville Project at the University of New Orleans will host a panel discussion to explore issues of economic and political equality. The event will take place October 4 at 7 p.m. on UNO’s campus in the Liberal Arts Building, room 236. Attendance is open to the public and free of charge.

Chris Surprenant, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Alexis de Tocqueville Project at UNO, will moderate the panel discussion. The panel will include Tocqueville scholar Benjamin Berger from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and columnist Jarvis DeBerry from The Times-Picayune | nola.com. The discussion will become one component of a three-part series to be aired on LPB’s weekly news magazine “Louisiana: The State We’re In.”

French historian Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about a political “equality of conditions” in America when he traveled to the new country from France in the 1830s. He observed the way the lack of titles of nobility shaped its people and the democratic process. The panel will explore what Tocqueville’s writings can teach us about equality in present day Louisiana.

The event and associated media production are supported by a grant from New York Public Media’s WNET and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Prior to the start of the panel discussion, the audience will watch a preview of “Dream On,” a PBS series featuring political comedian John Fugelsang as he retraces Tocqueville’s 1831 study of America, which came to define America as a place where anyone, of any background, could climb the ladder of economic opportunity. Fugelsang asks whether the optimistic spirit of the American Dream that Tocqueville popularized is alive and well in the 21st century.

Founded in 2011, the Tocqueville Project is an academic research, public policy and educational programming center. It aims to follow in the footsteps of French historian Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the most significant outside observers of moral and political life in the United States, by examining the enduring questions in the history of Western moral and political thought and considering how our answers to these questions affect social and political life.