founding political commitments were to democracy and the rule of law, often
described as the soul and spirit of our nation. Over the generations, citizens
have given their lives to preserve those commitments, but their meanings have
always been contested. This lecture will discuss those contested meanings
throughout American history. In addition, Austin Sarat will assess the health
of American democracy and the rule of law that today some believe are under
attack. Is this a symptom rather than a cause of what some see as our governmental
crisis? Does America face an erosion of public faith in long taken-for-granted
aspects of our political life?
Austin Sarat is the William Nelson Cromwell
Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. He
addresses the social and cultural life of the law in both his teaching and
extensive writing. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D.
from Yale University.