Danielle Allen: “Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus”

During the course of four lectures, Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, explored the distinctive challenges posed to democracy by the emergency conditions brought by a global pandemic. She also described the specific resources the U.S. Constitutional system has for achieving resilience in the face of this existential threat. Lead author on the recently released report, Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience, Allen focused on how we can integrate health, economic, ethical, and democratic objectives in our response to COVID-19.


Lecture 1
May 12, 2020

Bulwark of Democracy—Solidarity and Democratic Resilience in Times of Emergency


Lecture 2
May 13, 2020

Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience


Lecture 3
May 19, 2020

Federalism Is An Asset


Lecture 4
May 20, 2020

A Transformed Peace


About Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a former Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Allen is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project, a distributed research and action lab at Harvard University. The Democratic Knowledge Project seeks to identify, strengthen, and disseminate the bodies of knowledge, skills, and capacities that democratic citizens need in order to succeed at operating their democracy. The lab has three core projects: the Declaration Resources Project, the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment Project (HULA), and the Youth and Participatory Politics Action and Reflection Frame. In addition, the lab is currently co-designing a new yearlong eighth grade civics curriculum for public school districts in Massachusetts, as well as supporting professional development offering and assessment tools.