New Book Series "Democratic Ideals in Global Perspective"

The University of Virginia’s Karsh Institute of Democracy and the University of Virginia Press are pleased to announce “Democratic Ideals in Global Perspective,” a new book series to advance innovative approaches to scholarship on democratic governance from antiquity to the present.

“We at the Karsh Institute are thrilled to be partnering with UVA press to publish innovative and impactful work on the ideals and practices of democracy,” said Melody Barnes, Executive Director of the Institute. “We are equally delighted that two of our recently hired faculty will be leading and shaping this series.”

Eric Brandt, Director of the UVA Press, agreed. "We are delighted to join with the Karsh institute in welcoming this important series, which aligns with and will further the Press’s mission to publish outstanding series on history and the evolution of democratic societies."

Karsh Institute-affiliated faculty Jacqueline Arthur-Montagne and Emily Burrill will guide this new publishing venture. Titles in this new series—to be written by practitioners and academics alike—will provide critical insights into the pressing issues that face democracies today and add a deep perspective on the meaning and value of the foundations of democracy writ large.

Arthur-Montagne explained, “[W]e seek in this series to unify studies from far-ranging historical and world contexts, and thereby break down stereotypes and assumptions of what essential democratic formations should look like, such as citizen participation, free speech, checks on power, and beyond,” Burrill concurred: “[O]ur expansive view of ‘democratic ideals’ will also cast light on how and why certain democratic ideals emerge as load-bearing walls in contexts of social and political disorder, while others reveal their fragility in moments of crisis.”

Now more than ever, there is a demand for interdisciplinary conversations and analysis of democratic ideals that showcase the deep history of democracy as a form that has changed over time but also maintained certain continuities of form and value. The world is presently bearing witness to the war in Ukraine, a battle for democracy and sovereignty in the face of an authoritarian regime that marshals historical arguments about contiguous geopolitical empire and cultural unity. In Iceland, archaeologists have excavated the site of the Althing at Thingvellir, an open-air assembly understood to be the home of Icelandic parliament founded by Viking settlers in the tenth century, and a center of democratic debate about justice and rights. In Bolivia, public schools are deploying ancient Athenian systems of sortition and rotation to select members of student government, redefining the structure of democratic governance for an entire generation of youth leadership. These are but a few examples of the democratic problems and possibilities that require the global and interdisciplinary reach of titles in this new series, which will address evolving methods and definitions of “democracy,” as well shifting perspectives on our shared human past.

The new imprint’s first title will be Gregory S. Gordon´s Nuremberg's Citizen Prosecutor: Benjamin Ferencz and the Birth Of International Justice, scheduled to be published in 2024. This book is the first comprehensive biography of Benjamin Ferencz—prosecutor at Nuremberg, lead negotiator in postwar reparations agreements, and tireless advocate for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court—and charts Ferencz´s towering influence on the development of modern international law safeguarding human rights.

The series editors welcome project proposals on any aspect of democratic policy and governance but are especially eager to publish scholarship on democracy as a social and cultural enterprise at work in global, pluralistic societies. We are committed to book projects that see gender equity as well as gender and sexuality-based rights movements as inherently democratic; projects that show how civil struggles and minority rights claims and strategies highlight the limits and possibilities of democracy; profiles of decolonization; and projects that are creative and experimental in their use of methodologies and sources.

A diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners will serve on the series advisory board:

• Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House • Howard French, Columbia University; senior correspondent, New York Times • Kia Kaldwell, Washington University at St. Louis • Aynne Kokas, University of Virginia • Johann Neem, Western Washington University • Jessica Paga, William & Mary • Kristina Richardson, University of Virginia

At UVA Press, the editor for history and politics, Nadine Zimmerli, is excited to work with Professors Arthur-Montagne and Burrill to publish books that will both educate citizens and offer cutting-edge perspectives on the history, theory, and practice of democracy.

About the Series Editors:
Jacqueline Arthur-Montagne is John L. Nau III Assistant Professor of the History and Principles of Democracy at the University of Virginia, and author of An Education in Fiction: Classical Schooling and Prose Fiction in the Roman World.

Emily Burrill is Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia and author of the award-winning book States of Marriage: Gender, Justice, and Rights in Colonial Mali.

For more information about the Karsh Institute of Democracy, please contact Erin Tör

For more information about UVA Press, please contact Mary Kate Maco

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