Ruth Ben-Ghiat: Strongmen

March 2, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Art Building 2535 McCarthy Mall Honolulu, HI 96822 Add to Calendar

Cultural and political historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat shows how modern-day authoritarians from Putin to Trump draw on a playbook originally perfected by Moussolini a century ago. Emphasizing virility, violence, social division, and perceived national victimhood, these reactionary "strongmen" exploit populist discontent to rise to power and then govern in their own corrupt interest. Drawing upon decades of scholarship, Ben Ghiat demonstrates why this is such a perilous moment for democracy around the world. More importantly, she explains how authoritarianism has been defeated in the past and can be again.

Dr. Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, a Guggenheim fellow, and an advisor to Protect Democracy. She is an MSNBC opinion columnist and a regular contributor to CNN and The Washington Post. She publishes Lucid, a newsletter on threats to democracy. Her latest book, Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, looks at how illiberal leaders use propaganda, corruption, violence, and machismo—and how they can be overcome.

Dr. Ben-Ghiat is the spring 2023 Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals, a program chartered by the late senator and his wife to bring scholars, artists, and public intellectuals to Hawai‘i to share their life experiences and discuss their work on behalf of democratic ideals. The Inouye chair is administered jointly by the Department of American Studies in the College of Arts, Languages & Letters and the William S. Richardson School of Law.

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UH Better Tomorrow Speaker Series, Mānoa Campus

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