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Danielle Allen to deliver One Book One Northwestern keynote

Author’s “Our Declaration” kicks off a year of events, programs

Danielle Allen
Danielle Allen will deliver the keynote address for this year's One Book One Northwestern on Oct. 19.

EVANSTON - This year’s One Book One Northwestern keynote address will be delivered this week by political philosopher and best-selling author, Danielle Allen.

The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 19, at 4:30 p.m. It will be held in the Ryan Family Auditorium at the Technological Institute, located at 2145 Sheridan Road on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

Allen’s book argues for defense of equality as a cornerstone of democracy.

Allen’s argument about the interdependence of liberty and equality in her line-by-line “slow read” of the Declaration in the book reflects what she taught her night students on the South Side of Chicago.

“The Declaration of Independence is the single best and most efficient primer on democratic citizenship that I know,” Allen said. “Especially in times as turbulent as these, it’s a valuable anchor for all who desire to secure the health of our democracy. Its lessons about equality, freedom and agency belong to all Americans.”

Allen’s work is particularly resonant today, said Geraldo Cadava, associate professor in the department of history at Northwestern and One Book chair for the 2017-18 academic year.

Earlier this month, first-year and transfer students got a modern glimpse of the world of Revolutionary America as they attended ‘Hamilton.’

“Recent politics have forced us to revisit the meaning of American institutions and ideals,” Cadava said. “This book is an opportunity to create a campus-wide conversation, not just about equality and freedom, but also the role Northwestern, as an institution and as a community, has to play in national debates.” 

About Allen

A 2001 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Society of American Historians. She is also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.

Allen was educated at Princeton (AB, 1993), Cambridge (Ph.D. 1996) and Harvard (Ph.D. 2000). Before accepting the post at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, she served as a faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Before that, she served as dean of the Division of Humanities and professor of political science, classical languages and literature at the University of Chicago.

Allen’s current work focuses on the connection between education and democratic equality as well as the significance of political equality for theoretical accounts of justice. 

Find more information about the event on PlanIt Purple.

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