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Political Transitions Revisited

Please join us at a panel discussion among some of the authors of the Spring 2019 issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly, POLITICAL TRANSITIONS REVISITED (86:1), which looks at transitions away from democracy in various places around the world.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

6:00 - 8:00 PM

The New School

Hoerle Lecture Hall

University Center, L105

63 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10003


Elzbieta Matynia, Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies; Director of Transregional Center for Democratic Studies, The New School

Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

Sanjay Ruparelia, Jarislowsky Democracy Chair, Ryerson University

Kian Tajbakhsh, Professor of Urban Planning and Urban Studies; Fellow, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University


Yasmine Ergas, Director of the Program in Gender and Human Rights, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University


To order the related issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly,



Yasmine Ergas is Director of the Specialization on Gender and Public Policy and Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs. She also directs the program in Gender and Human Rights of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, is a member of the Executive Committee of the University’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and is the co-convener of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council at Columbia University. A lawyer and sociologist, she has worked on issues regarding gender and women’s rights as a policy analyst and advisor, scholar and advocate. Among other honors, she has been awarded fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation and the Italian Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca. She was recognized by SIPA for teaching a “top 5” course (out of approximately 200) in Spring 2012. She co-led a working group of the Committee on International Trade of the New York City Bar Association on child labor and international trade and practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, and Studio Legale Pedersoli.

Elzbieta Matynia is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies and Director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS) at The New School. Her research in political and cultural sociology focuses on democratic transformations, gender and democracy, the borderlands of a shared Europe, and more recently on the challenges faced by democracies emerging with a legacy of violence. As director of TCDS, she has developed and directs international Democracy & Diversity Institutes for rigorous study and cross-cultural research on the critical issues facing today’s world. Her book Performative Democracy (2009, Paradigm), explores a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens. Challenges following 1989 are explored in her An Uncanny Era: Conversations between Adam Michnik and Vaclav Havel (2013 Yale University Press). A Fulbright research scholar in South Africa, she is working on a new book, Democracy After Violence. Elzbieta is a member of the editorial board of Social Research.

Andrew Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of political science at Columbia University. He is the regular Asia book reviewer for Foreign Affairs magazine and author of Peking Politics, 1918-1923; Chinese Democracy; and Human Rights in Contemporary China, with R. Randle Edwards and Louis Henkin.

Sanjay Ruparelia is the inaugural Jarislowsky Democracy Chair at Ryerson University. In this capacity he hosts public panels in partnership with community leaders and organizations that focus on citizen engagement. In addition, Dr. Ruparelia initiates and leads collaborations to analyze high-functioning democratic models as the basis of potential reforms to have an impact on society - locally, nationally and globally. His research addresses the politics of democracy, equality and development in the postcolonial world, as well as the role of parties, movements and institutions in politics.

Kian Tajbakhsh is Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University. In this role, Dr. Tajbakhsh works on university-wide initiatives focused on global migration. He is also a professor of Urban Planning and Urban Studies, focusing on questions of local governance and democracy, local economic development, spatial planning, and the challenges of global urbanization. His research interests also include the challenges facing cities as well as competing paradigms of world order. He is currently completing a book on local government and democracy in Iran. Before joining Columbia, Tajbakhsh worked for fifteen years as an international expert in three related areas of urban policy and local government reform; democracy and human rights promotion; and international social science research collaboration. His urban policy research and consulting specializes in governance and decentralization, with a focus on strengthening local democratic political institutions. From 1994 until 2002, Dr. Tajbakhsh was a professor of urban policy at The New School. Tajbakhsh was among the pro-democracy activists arrested and detained by the Iranian government during the Green Movement protests in 2009. After several years under house arrest, he was one of the five Iranian-American dual citizens whose release was negotiated under the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2016 by the Obama Administration.

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