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Dr. John Inazu on Confident Pluralism

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Upper House

365 East Campus Mall

#200

Madison, WI 53715

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In recent years, the United States seems more polarized and divided than ever. We see this in the public debate over LGBTQ rights, in challenges to religious liberty, in clashes over abortion, and in tension between law enforcement and minority communities. In all of this legal and societal turmoil circulating around seemingly irresolvable differences, we are forced to ask—can we really live in peace together?

Join us as we welcome distinguished law professor and author, Dr. John Inazu, who argues that we can and must live together peaceably in spite of deep and sometimes irresolvable differences. We can do so in two important ways – by insisting on constitutional commitments that honor and protect difference and by embodying tolerance, humility, and patience in our speech, our collective action (protests, strikes, and boycotts), and our relationships across difference. Confident Pluralism suggests that it is often better to tolerate than to protest, better to project humility than defensiveness, and better to wait patiently for the fruits of persuasion than to force the consequences of coercion. Confident Pluralism will not give us the American Dream. But it might help avoid an American Nightmare.

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John Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University in St. Louis and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He teaches courses in criminal law, law and religion, and the First Amendment. His scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, and related issues of political and legal theory. John’s first book, Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly, was published by Yale University Press in 2012. His most recent book, Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Difference, was published by The University of Chicago Press in 2016. He has written broadly for mainstream audiences in publications including USA Today, CNN, The Hedgehog Review, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. Despite the confident pluralism of his academic training (BSE and JD from Duke and PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill), he remains an avid Duke fan.

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Upper House

365 East Campus Mall

#200

Madison, WI 53715

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