Throughout the academic year, the Center for the Study of American Democracy sponsors lectures, panel discussions and other events, frequently welcoming visiting scholars, politicians and journalists. CSAD also hosts a biennial conference.

Recent Events and Speakers





  • Faculty panel: "Treason, Bribery, or High Crimes and Misdemeanors?" (Nov. 20)
  • John Ohnesorge: "Comparing Impeachment Regimes" (Oct. 31)
  • Faculty panel: "Congress, the President, and Impeachment — oh my!"  (Oct. 2)
  • Civic dialogue: My Constitution (Sept. 17)
  • Virtual content: Constitution Day Rap (Sept. 17)
  • Faculty panel: "Decades of progress, but decades to go?" (Sept. 13)
  • Watch party: Democratic Debate (Sept. 12)

Past Speakers and Topics

Moises Rendon: "Venezuela: Finding a Pathway back to Democracy"

Congressman TJ Cox (D-CA): "Building a New House in Congress"

Amos Guiora '79: "Should Human Rights Matter for U.S. Foreign Policy?"

Mike Curtin: "The Fall of Newspapers and Rise of Fake News"

Sonia Fritz: "Community Projects and Migration in the Production of 'After Maria: The Two Shores'"

Timo Lochocki: "Populist Nationalism in Europe and the U.S."

Watch party: Election Night

Panel with local experts: "Election 2018: What's at Stake?" 

Panel with local experts: "A City Charter Commission for Mount Vernon?"

Matthew Stewart: "Aristocracy and Its Discontents: America’s Class Problem and What To Do About It" and "An Emancipation of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment in the American Struggle over Slavery"

Biennial conference: "Free Speech, Civil Discourse"

Stephen Knott: "The Indispensable Alliance of Washington and Hamilton"

Faculty panel: Cool Heads on Hot Topics: Trump-Era Economic, Foreign, and Immigration Policies 

Andrew Bowman '22: The experience of an NYC firefighter and the challenge of terrorism.

Daniel Connolly '01: "The Secret History of Today's Immigration Wars"

Ken Harbaugh: "Veterans as Humanitarians: Challenging the Global Disaster-Relief Paradigm by Deploying Military Veterans as Emergency Responders"

Tom Nichols: "The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters"

Michael Green '83: "By More than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific since 1783"

Panel with local experts: "Immigration and Refugee Policy: Local impact in Ohio" 

Michael Rubin: "The Middle East After ISIS"

Susan Kruth: "Free speech, safe spaces, and academic freedom"

Panel with faculty and local experts: "President Trump at 90 Days: Immigration, Foreign Policy, Congress" 

Faculty panel: "President Trump: The First 60 Days" 

Panel with faculty and local experts: "All politics is local

Bret Stephens: "The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy: A Conversation with Bret Stephens"

Panel: "Future Policy Directions for the Trump Administration" 

Film screening and Q&A with Chris Whipple P'15: "The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs" 

Watch Parties: Presidential Debates and the 2016 Election

Faculty panel: "Making Sense of the 2016 Election" 

Conference: From Hill to Hill 

Faculty panel: "'I can make this country great again!' What Scholars Know about Populism in Democracy"

Amos Guiora: "The U.S. Presidential Election & the World"

Jeff Stewart: "Clashes of Culture and Structures: Civil Rights and Education for Limited English Proficient Students"

Martha Bayles: "How Not to Defend Free Speech"

Briefing: Leopoldo Lopez '93

Panel discussion: "I Have a Dream"

Panel discussion: The Midterms: A Post-Election Roundtable

Panel discussion: Midterm Election

Discussion: "Leo Lopez '93: A Fight for Freedom"

Panel: Internships

Allen Guelzo: "Abraham Lincoln and the Presidency"

Film screening with Pegi Vail: "Gringo Trails"

Friedrich St. Florian: "Democracy in Action: Designing the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC"

Ben Wittes: "Constitution Day: Drones, Surveillance, Detention, Interrogation, and the Rule of Law"

Biennial conference: "The Politics of Inequality"

Justice Judith L. French: "Our Modern Constitution: What's In It For Us?" 

Judge James G. Carr: "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: Some Observations from a Former Member"

Michael Morell: "The Importance of Intelligence to National Security"

Panel: "Ties Between the Military & Democracy in the Modern United States"

Panel: "Same-Sex Marriage and the Court: Implications of United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry"

Film festival: Human Rights Watch

Panel: "Equality for All: The Declaration of Independence & Martin Luther King, Jr."

Panel: "Immigration & Immigration Reform"

Charles Murray: "Coming Apart at the Seams: America's New Cultural Divide"

David T. Daniels: "Government Policy and Rural Sustainability"

Panel: "Contemporary Repatriation and Restitution Arguments: The Global Market, the International Legal Community and the Collecting Institution"

Watch party: State of the Union

David Shipler: "Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America"

Discussion and Q&A with Kathy Berger: "Beneath the Blindfold"

Ambassador Heather Hodges: "Wikileaks, Secrecy, and Cyber-Security"

Faculty panel: The Election

Watch party: Election Returns

Debate: Ohio's 7th Congressional District

Watch party: Third Presidential Debate

Martha Raddatz: "From War Zones to the White House"

Watch party: Second Presidential Debate

Discussion: "What is Outsourcing?"

Watch party: First Presidential Debate

Zack Space: "The Tea Party and the Health of our Constitutional Institutions"

Stephen Moore: "The Election and the Economy"

Biennial Conference: "Should America Promote Democracy Abroad?"

Discussion: "Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Part

Watch party: State of the Union

Discussion: "Protecting Civil Liberties in the War on Terrorism"

Panel: "Democracy and Local Politics in Knox County"

Lawrence Lessig: "Constitution Day: Political Corruption and the American Constitution"

Faculty panel: "How to Get an Internship in Washington D.C.

Discussion: "9/11 Ten Years Later: Personal Reflections"

Chris Elsner' 04: "Crude Revolution: Ramifications of Middle East Turmoil for International Energy Markets"

Panel: "The Crisis in Japan"

Peter Wallison: "What Caused the Financial Crisis and What Should We Do About It Now?"

Faculty panel: "How To Get an Internship in Washington D.C."

Dr. Bo Jordin: "Excellence in Health Care Quality and Efficiency: Are there lessons for the US from Sweden?"

Watch party: Midterm Elections: Should Government Control, Sponsor, or Protect the Arts?

Discussion: "Nuclear Proliferation: Do We Still Need to Worry?"

Norman Ornstein: "The Role of Congress in Our Constitutional System"

Inaugural biennial conference: "The Future of Political Parties"

Robert Faulkner: "Saving Liberal Democracy: Lincoln's Plan"

Panel discussion: "Engineering Human Beings: Prospects and Ethics"

Film screening: "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"

Watch party: President Obama's State of the Union Address

Discussion: "Dealing with Climate Change: The Danish Experience in Gaining Energy Independence"

Film screening: "12 Angry Men"

Panel: "Presidential Prerogative and the Constitution"

Film screening with Murray Horwitz '70: "Ruggles of Red Gap"

John Harwood P'11: "The First Nine Months of the Obama Administration: An Assessment"

Discussion: "The Role of History in Judging and Other Influences on Judges"

Watch party: President Obama's Health Care Speech to Congress

Discussion: Obama's First 100 Days

Discussion: "How Obama Won: An Autopsy of the 2008 Election"

Book discussion: "Presidents We Deserved (and a Few We Didn't)"

Discussion: Election Analysis

Biennial Conferences

CSAD's biennial conferences bring the Kenyon community together with national experts to analyze the pressing issues of today — no matter how controversial — through nonpartisan and civil discourse.

2017: "Free Speech, Civil Discourse"

The fall 2017 conference focused on issues relating to free speech and civil discourse. The imperatives of free society and polite society are sometimes in considerable tension; how to balance these tensions was one of many questions addressed in the two day conference.

2016: "The Expectation of Privacy"

The spring 2016 conference focused on the expectation of privacy and encryption, surveillance and big data. The opening address was given by James B. Comey P'16, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time.

2014: "The Politics of Economic Inequality"

The spring 2014 conference focused on the politics of economic inequality. The opening address was given by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and chief economic advisor to the McCain presidential campaign.

2012: "Should America Promote Democracy Abroad?"

The spring 2012 conference asked the question, "Should America promote democracy abroad?" Panels looked at the political, economic and social aspects of democracy and how the promotion of democracy coheres with U.S. principles and values. The keynote was given by Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations.

2010: "The Future of Political Parties"

CSAD hosted its inaugural conference in spring 2010. Entitled "The Future of Political Parties," the conference included a joint keynote given by E.J. Dionne of the Brookings Institute and the Washington Post and William Kristol, political analyst and editor of the Weekly Standard.