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Making sense of the moment: A three-part series examining the long- and short-term causes of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

As Americans continue forging through these unprecedented times, The College of New Jersey is presenting a three-part interdisciplinary series examining the long- and short-term causes of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The series asks how did we get here, and what does the insurrection tell us about the fissures and future of American democracy?

“The attack on the U.S. Capitol has made clear that we are living through a period of social and political crisis, with significant questions about the fragility of American democracy and our shared commitment to values of justice, equality, and liberty,” says event organizer Daniel Bowen, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science.

Of course, such questions have always been part of the American story, he says. The panel series will employ various lenses through which we might be able to view more clearly the Capitol attack, the social and political forces providing fertile ground for the violence, and our shared democratic enterprise.

“This semester, our ability to gather, talk, and listen is severely constrained by the pandemic,” says Bowen. “I hope the panel series provides a space for us as the TCNJ community to process together this moment — both the Capitol insurrection and its long- and short-term causes — and reflect on where we may be headed.”

All are welcome to attend the panels via Zoom. Click panel titles below for links.


Part 1: The Struggle for Racial Equality and a Multiracial, Multiethnic American Democracy

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST via Zoom

Can the centuries-long struggle for an equitable multiracial and multiethnic democracy and racial justice inform how we understand the attack?

TCNJ faculty panelists include:
Zakiya Adair, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and African American studies
Diane Bates, sociology and anthropology
Daniel Bowen, political science
Christopher Fisher, history


Part 2: Violence, Whiteness, and White Supremacy

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST via Zoom

What does the resurgence of violent white supremacy mean for our understanding of “We the people”?

TCNJ faculty panelists include:
Marcia O’Connell, biology
Janet Gray, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies
Craig Hollander, history
Shaun Wiley, psychology


Part 3: The Rise of Authoritarianism and the Failure of American Political Institutions

Friday, April 9, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST via Zoom

With the rising threat of authoritarianism, how fragile is American democracy and how robust are its institutional guardrails?

TCNJ faculty panelists include:
Sarah Chartock, political science
Jarret Crawford, psychology
Emilie Lounsberry, journalism and professional writing
Nicholas Toloudis, political science/international studies

This series is co-sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Division of Inclusive Excellence, and the Department of Political Science.


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