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Howard Schweber: Religion, politics, and American conservatism, at ANUAdd to Queue

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  • Date posted : Jan 01, 1970


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Professor Howard Schweber gives this lecture entitled 'Religion, politics, and American conservatism' at The Australian National University. Howard Schweber is a Professor in the Departments of Political Science and Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, currently, the inaugural Fulbright-Flinders University Distinguished Chair in American Political Science. Professor Schweber has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from the University of Washington, an MS in History from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Government from Cornell University. His latest book, Democracy and Authenticity: Toward a Theory of Public Justification (Cambridge University Press, 2011) is his fourth. He has also authored The Language of Liberal Constitutionalism (Cambridge, 2007), The Creation of American Common Law, 1850-1880: Technology, Politics, and the Construction of Citizenship (Cambridge 2004), and Speech, Conduct and the First Amendment(Peter Lang, 2003). For decades, American conservatism has included a religious right wing as well as geopolitically-minded neoconservatives and paleoconservatives. That "religious right" has been dominated by evangelical Protestants, who brought a specific brand of religious self-identification into American politics in the 1980s, reviving a populist tradition with roots in the earlier part of the century. Neoconservatives proclaimed a vision of a future with America dominating the globe as an omnipresent "unipower." And paleoconservatives championed American exceptionalism, limited government, and the benefits of capitalism. In the past few years, however, all three of these elements of the American conservative movement have undergone transformative changes. The increasing importance of Catholic public intellectuals and candidates for the religious right and the surprising support they receive from evangelical Protestant voters; the rise of the Tea Party movements, and the American public's increasing recognition of the limits of American power in the world all point to major changes in the nature of American conservatism. Can these different elements be held together in a coherent political movement? Or are the categories of "liberal" and "conservative" and the roles of the national parties due for realignment?

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