On Liberal Institutions, Protecting Pluralism & Free Debate

Fri Mar 22 2024 at 07:00 pm to 08:30 pm

Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema - SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts | Vancouver

SFU Public Square
Publisher/HostSFU Public Square
On Liberal Institutions, Protecting Pluralism & Free Debate Join renowned author Adam Gopnik to consider the protection of liberal democracy through arguments of history, logic, and conscience.
About this Event

When considering what 2024 has in store, author and The New Yorker contributor Adam Gopnik, feels compelled to share a political message that isn’t about politics. Rather, it’s about how this year, the institutions of liberal democracy are threatened in ways that they have never been before. Gopnik is terrified by what he sees as a lack of understanding among voters —younger and older alike—of the unique nature of our institutions and democracy within the wider context of human history. And how these institutions that we take for granted—the ones that guarantee everything from free debate to the protection of marginalized people—are in fact very fragile to assault.

In his book , Gopnik explores the urgent need to realize that pursuing political projects we favor is meaningless without the foundations of liberal democracy that guarantee free debate. He feels it essential—this year particularly—to re-articulate these themes with urgency and to share them with every group who will listen.

On March 22nd, join Adam Gopnik and consider ways to protect the possibility of politics through arguments of history, logic, and conscience. There will be a reception and book signing following the lecture—all are welcome to join!

Please note that this event will not be recorded.

About the speaker

Adam Gopnik, international bestselling author and beloved writer for the New Yorker, has—in his three decades with the magazine— written fiction, humor, memoirs, critical essays, and reported pieces from at home and abroad. He was the magazine’s art critic from 1987 to 1995, and the Paris correspondent from 1995 to 2000. Gopnik has received three National Magazine awards for essays and for criticism, the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting, and the Canadian National Magazine Award Gold Medal for arts writing. In March of 2013, he was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. His latest books include The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery (2023) and A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventures of Liberalism (2019).

About the moderator

Am Johal is Director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. He is the author of Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene (2015) and co-author with Matt Hern (2024). He is the co-founder of UBC's Humanities 101 program and chair of the Impact on Communities Coalition. He has also been an advisor to two provincial cabinet ministers (Transportation and Highways; Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers).

Event partners

Thank you to the Babcock family for their generous donation and support of Liberal Studies.

Event Photos

Admission Ticket Pricing

This event has an admission fee for attendance. We are offering limited complementary tickets for individuals facing financial barriers in accessing paid programming.

A few questions that may help guide you:

  • Are you and your family home/landowners?
  • Have you obtained an advanced degree or attended private education?
  • Can you easily access and afford healthcare services?
  • Do you have debt and/or disposable income?
  • Do you have citizenship in the country you live?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, we suggest the paid ticket. If a complimentary ticket suits your needs best, please email us at [email protected] (subject to availability).

Thank you to Indian Summer Festival and Meenakshi Das of Data is for Everyone for this sliding scale framework.

In-Person Accessibility

This event is taking place at the Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema (SFU Vancouver — Woodward's Building), located at 149 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7. There will be directional signage within the building to guide event attendees toward the Cinema.

The building is accessible at street level on the Hastings side or via a ramp on the Cordova Street Courtyard side (across from JJ Bean Coffee). There are 2 ramp entry points, one is located against the building, near the entrance to the Woodward’s Westbank Atrium (which houses London Drugs and Nesters) and one is located against the building, beside the alley. Both the Hastings doors and the Cordova Courtyard doors can be operated by accessibility buttons located beside the doorways.

Public washrooms are available on the B2, 2, 3 and 4 levels. All public washrooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible stalls. A gender-neutral washroom is available on the third floor.

Several EasyPark lots are located near the event venue. Click here to learn more about them. Note that other parking options are available, including street parking and other nearby parking lots.

If you have any questions about this event’s accessibility, technology requirements or privacy, please connect with us at [email protected].

Community Guidelines

Our community guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of all guest speakers and event participants, and to foster honest, socially accountable dialogue at our events. Thank you for respecting these guidelines!

  • Above all, there will be zero tolerance for those who promote violence or discrimination against others on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, or disability. Anyone who incites harm towards other participants (whether through chat, video, audio or otherwise) will be removed at the discretion of our technical team and moderator.
  • Don’t assume pronouns/gender/knowledge based on someone’s name or appearance. Please refer to people using the usernames and/or pronouns they provide.
  • Approach this event with an open heart and open mind. Recognize that we are all here to learn and please be respectful at all times.

Event Venue

Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema - SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, Canada


CAD 10.00

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