The Democracy 20/20 Webinar Series: The Protests and U.S. Democracy

The Democracy 20/20 Webinar series will bring together scholars who can put contemporary events in historical and comparative perspective in order to promote deeper understanding of the challenges that these unsettling times pose for American democracy. Read more here.

The Protests and U.S. Democracy
Friday, June 26, 2020 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. (EST)

Protests against police violence and racial inequality have spread across the United States in recent weeks, attracting large crowds not only in major cities, but also in smaller cities and towns. The demonstrations place racial justice and civil rights at the center of political debate heading into the November 2020 elections. In this session of our webinar series, three experts on U.S. politics will analyze the protests and their implications for U.S. democracy. Click here to register.


Megan Ming Francis is a Visiting Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. Francis specializes in the study of American politics, with broad interests in criminal punishment, black political activism, philanthropy, and the post-civil war South. She is the author of the award winning book, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State.


Daniel Q. Gillion is the Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt Presidential Distinguished Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests focuses on racial and ethnic politics, political behavior, political institutions, public policy, and the American presidency. He is the author of three books, most recently, The Loud Minority: Why Protests Matter in American Democracy (Princeton University Press).


Lara Putnam is UCIS Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh.  She researches social movements and political participation in local, national, and transnational dimensions. Since 2017 she has been studying grassroots political organizing in “rust belt” Pennsylvania and beyond. Her findings have been featured in Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance, ed. Theda Skocpol and Caroline Tervo (Oxford University Press) as well as the Washington Post, Washington Monthly, Vox, and Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.


Kenneth Roberts, Department of Government, Cornell University, teaches comparative and Latin American politics, with an emphasis on the political economy of development and the politics of inequality. His research is devoted to the study of political parties, populism, and labor and social movements.



Democracy 20/20 is sponsored by the American Democracy Collaborative, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs.

The American Democracy Collaborative is a group of scholars of American political development and comparative politics who have come together to examine the state of democracy in the United States today. Political scientists have been concerned for some time about trends that weaken American democracy, including rising economic inequality, growing polarization, resurgent racism or nativism, and escalating executive power.