Democracy & the Pandemic Mini-Conference: May 20-21, 2020

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Democracy & the Pandemic: Contributions from the May 2020 Conference of the Democracy Seminar

Democracy Seminar and Transregional Center for Democratic Studies welcome you to the “Democracy and the Pandemic” conference. The conference was hosted online in May and featured prominent academics from around the world who discussed the implications of the pandemic for democracy and authoritarianism.



11AM – 2PM
How are the responses to the pandemic driving de-democratization?
11:00 – 11:15 AM – Introductions
11:15 – 12:00 PM – Session 1: How are the state responses to the pandemic strengthening authoritarian regimes?
Facilitator: Jeffrey C. Goldfarb

  1. Daniel PeresBolsonaro’s Regime of Chaos and Fear: The Pandemic and the Collapse of Democracy in Brazil
  2. Jacek KucharczykPandemic as a Catalyst for Populist Authoritarianism: The Case of Poland 
  3. Michal Vašečka, From Mafia State to “Parish” Republic
  4. Paweł Marczewski, Torn Mask of Social Solidarity: Law and Justice Response to the Economic Downturn
  5. Mark W. FrazierHong Kong in 2020: Pandemic, Protest and Great Power Rivalry 
  6. András BozókiAfter Orwell: Some Thoughts on the Post-Pandemic World

12:00 – 12:15 PM – coffee break
12:15 – 1:00 PM – Session 2: How are the responses to the pandemic strengthening the centralization of power, and the municipal and community power that resists it?
Facilitator: Jacek Kucharczyk

  1. Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer,  Authoritarian Appetites versus Local Solidarity
  2. Kristóf SzombatiCOVID-19 and the Curtailment of Municipal Power in Hungary 
  3. Utku Balaban, Urban Politics and Pandemic in Turkey
  4. Daniel Gerbery, Trust or Discipline? What Saturates Civic Responses to a COVID-19 Crisis in Slovakia? 
  5. Nazan Bedirhanoglu, Turkey’s Forged Success Story: Re-opening Without Closing Down?

1:00 – 1:15 PM – coffee break
1:15 – 2:00 PM – Session 3: How are the responses to the pandemic strengthening authoritarian movements and institutions
Facilitator: Elzbieta Matynia

  1. Alexandra Bitušíková, Fascists in Slovak Politics: Waiting for a New Chance in Times of the COVID-19 crisis?
  2. Gábor ScheiringThe Political Consequences of Populist Health Crisis Management:  The Political Economy of Coronavirus Responses in Hungary 
  3. Malkhaz Toria, The State of Emergency for All? Asymmetric Power Relations and Crisis of Democracy in Georgia during the Pandemic 
  4. Ali Rıza Güngen, Turkey’s COVID-19 Response and Resilience of Authoritarianism



11:00 AM – 2:30 PM
How is de-democratization constituted and opposed?
11:00 – 11:15 AM – Recap from Day 1
11:15 – 12:00 PM – Session 4: How do the pandemic and the authoritarian responses to it undermine human rights and gender justice?
Facilitator: Jeffrey C. Isaac

  1. Kálmán Petőcz,  Human Rights in the Times of Emergency
  2. Kerem Altiparmak, New Expertise of Authoritarian Regimes: How to Escape From Implementation of International Standards: The Cases of Demirtaş and Kavala
  3. Jan OrlovskyNGO Sector in Slovakia as a Subject of Conspirators 
  4. Maria BucurDomestic Violence as Pandemic
  5. Elżbieta Korolczuk, Gender Ideology as Pandemic: Anti-Gender Campaigns in a Time of Crisis 

12:00 – 12:15 PM – coffee break
12:15 – 1:00 PM – Session 5: What are new ways to constitute, defend, and strengthen democracy during the pandemic?
Facilitator: Jeffrey C. Goldfarb

  1. Chang Liu,  Chinese Young Nationalists amid The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Rap against a “Diary” 
  2. Pawel KnutAnother Plague – Old Challenges, New Responses: The Meaning of COVID-19 to Polish LGBT Movement 
  3. Elçin Aktoprak, The School of Human Rights in Turkey: An Alternative Space under Authoritarianism
  4. Open discussion of this topic given the proceedings thus far.

1:00 – 1:15 PM – coffee break
1:15 – 2:00 PM – Session 6: How do we resist dictatorships with a democratic face during the pandemic?
Facilitator: Elzbieta Matynia

  1. Jeffrey C. IsaacOn the Challenges of Securing the November Election in USA Politics
  2. Dagmar KusáDemocracy “As If” 
  3. Jeffrey C.  Goldfarb, The Expressive Dimension of Politics, Donald Trump and His Opposition
  4. Samuel Marec, Trumpization of Political Communication during COVID-19 Crisis 

2:00 – 2:30 PM – Wrap-up Session