Popular Sovereignty and Populism
The George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics and Institutions, which has its home at Ohio University, invites paper proposals for a conference and subsequent edited volume on Popular Sovereignty and Populism. The conference will be held at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (15–16 March 2019). Previous George Washington Forum conferences have resulted in edited books from the university presses at Cambridge, Oxford, and Virginia.
In his Considerations on Representative Government, political theorist John Stuart Mill argues that “the ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community.” Currently, we live in a moment where some exercises of the people’s power result in what is often called democratic illiberalism. This conference and volume intend to illuminate the concept of popular sovereignty and its related expression, populism. We are especially interested in the crucial continuities and discontinuities in popular sovereignty that emerge when we study critical moments in political history. These include (but are not limited to) the theory and practice of popular sovereignty in the Italian Renaissance; seventeenth-century England; revolutionary and federal America; and revolutionary France. Proposals shedding light on the development of modern popular sovereignty, both within and outside the European and Anglo-American traditions, including papers with a primary focus on ancient and medieval politics, will be given full consideration.