Some of the weightiest work I am doing reflects on the future of democracy. In particular, I am returning to a long delayed ‘big’ project, tentatively entitled Renewing Democracy, about the democratic civic ethos necessary to strengthen democracies from ‘the ground up.’ I have already published three papers on specific challenges that make such reflection necessary: “Memory, Multiculturalism and Democracy” (2020); “Democratic Conflict and the Political Theory of Compromise” (2018) ; and “Democracy, Identity, and Politics” (2018). Moreover, as part of my preparation to return to the broader themes of the book project, I have just completed two more papers that discuss further challenges to contemporary democracies: “Reviving Democracy: Twenty-First Century Challenges,” and “Too Much Democracy? Too Many Experts? Notes on a Dilemma.” For the time being, these last two papers are intended primarily as free-standing lectures covering themes that will, no doubt, make their way into the book.
A second subset of projects includes three papers that grow out of the themes in my book Making Space for Justice. This includes a paper on “Controlling the Narrative: Meaning, Power and Value in Public Life,” a paper entitled “Reclaiming the Idea of ‘the Human’ ,” and a third entitled “Leaning Into The Future: Memory, Democracy, and the Shaping of Public Space.”
I am especially excited about working on the “Leaning Into The Future “ paper, because it is my effort to respond to the work of the Chicago Monuments Project (CMP) that may reshape the public spaces of the city that I grew up in. (The paper will be part of a forthcoming edited volume on Monuments and Memory). One of my favorite statues discussed in the report by the CMP–and in my paper–is Daniel Chester French’s statue of “The Republic” (installed in 1918 in Jackson Park, Chicago as French’s recreation of an earlier statue–destroyed by fire–that he had created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.)
I also hope to revise two papers that have grown unwieldy with revisions. The first is “The Future of Democratic Citizenship” which considers the ways in which democratic citizenship continues to change in response to the globalization of commerce, the increasing role of technology in work, and rising income inequality. The second is a paper entitled “Taking Expression Seriously: Equal Citizenship, Expressive Harm and Confederate Iconography” – This is a critical examination of the meaning of certain monuments and memorials and their relationship to our capacity to affirm citizenship and belonging.
Finally, I have a very deep interest in completing a book MS on Martin Luther King – most likely a project that will serve as the bridge to retirement.