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Lenfest Center for the Arts

615 West 129th Street

The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room

New York, NY 10027

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Screening followed by a conversation with Astra Taylor, Chenjerai Kumanyika, Rutgers University, and Nicholas Lemann, Columbia Journalism School.

Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, the film What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too often take for granted.

Director Astra Taylor’s idiosyncratic, philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Featuring a diverse cast—including celebrated theorists, trauma surgeons, activists, factory workers, asylum seekers, and former prime ministers—this urgent film connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means.

Co-presented by Columbia Journalism School and the Urban and Social Policy Concentration, SIPA

Check-in will begin one hour prior to start time. Seating is limited and first come, first served. Advance registration does not guarantee seating; early arrival is suggested.


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Lenfest Center for the Arts

615 West 129th Street

The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room

New York, NY 10027

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