The New Class Divide and the American Election

Tuesday, 15 May 2012, 6:30pm - 8:00pm, IWM library

Political Salon

There is a new and growing class divide in the U.S. But what are its fundamental causes? And how will it affect the upcoming presidential election? Two rival narratives about the class in America are now developing: one focusing on economic developments that have taken place over the last fifty years, the other on cultural changes in the American family life and education. As a result, two rival pictures of the American present are emerging and now begin to shape the rhetoric of the upcoming presidential election. The future of American politics could depend on which story Americans come to believe, and how American political parties respond.

Mark Lilla is a historian of ideas, Professor at Columbia University in New York, and an essayist. Best known for his books The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (2001) and The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (2007), he has also edited The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin (2001) with Ronald Dworkin and Robert Silvers, and The Public Face of Architecture (1987) with Nathan Glazer. For his work, which has a particular focus on Western political and religious thought, he was awarded with several awards, among which the Knight of the Order of Academic Palms, French Ministry of Education (1995) and the Leo Strauss Award, American Political Science Association (1991). Mark Lilla is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, and the New York Times. Previously he taught in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and at New York University. He is currently writing a book titled Ignorance and Bliss, and another on the history of the idea of conversion.


Michael Fleischhacker
Editor-in-chief, Die Presse
Ivan Krastev
Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia; Permanent Fellow, IWM

In cooperation with Die Presse and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance