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CREECA Lecture: Václav Havel’s Legacy: A Roundtable Discussion

October 28, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Roundtable Discussion

October 28, 2021 4:00-5:30pm

via Zoom


In December of this year, ten years will have passed since the death of the Czech writer, dissident, and statesman Václav Havel. Please join us for a Zoom-mediated roundtable discussion to mark this occasion by honoring Havel’s enduring legacy. Roundtable participants are noted scholars of Havel from North America and Europe: Aspen Brinton, Virginia Commonwealth University; David S. Danaher, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Barbara Day, independent scholar based in Prague; Barbara J. Falk, Canadian Forces College; Delia Popescu, Le Moyne College; Jiří Přibáň, Cardiff University; Kieran Williams, Drake University.

All participants have also contributed to a volume, forthcoming through Prague-based Karolinum Press, that analyzes key concepts in Havel’s thinking, the title of which is Václav Havel’s Meanings: His Key Words, Their Context and Legacy. Havelian concepts to be discussed during the roundtable include “truth” (pravda), “power” (moc), “civil society” (občanská společnost), “appeal” (apel/výzva), “indifference” (lhostejnost), “focus/center” (ohnisko), “theater” (divadlo), “prison” (vězení), and “responsibility” (odpovědnost). Please note that there will be time at the end of the roundtable to field questions from the Zoom audience.


About the Speakers: 

Aspen Brinton is a political theorist. She is Associate Professor of International Studies and Associate Director of the School of World Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the author of Philosophy and Dissidence in Cold War Europe (2016) and Confronting Totalitarian Minds: Jan Patočka on Politics and Dissidence (2021).

David S. Danaher is Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Reading Václav Havel (University of Toronto, 2015) and the co-editor (with Kieran Williams) of the forthcoming volume Václav Havel’s Meanings: His Key Words, Their Context and Legacy. He has taught a monograph course on Havel’s writings since the early 2000s.

Barbara Day graduated in Drama from Manchester University, before spending a year at the Drama Academy in Prague (1965-66), when she first met Václav Havel. She completed her PhD dissertation on the Theatre on the Balustrade at Bristol University in 1985, became involved in working for the underground seminars in Czechoslovakia, and now lives, writes, teaches, and translates in Prague.

Barbara J. Falk is Professor in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College/Royal Military College of Canada, and author of The Dilemmas of Dissidence: Citizen Intellectuals and Philosopher Kings (2003) and Political Trials: Causes and Categories (2008). She has written and published in the areas of comparative dissent (particularly the life and work of Václav Havel), political trials, national security law and policy, and new threats and social resilience. She is currently writing a book on comparative political trials across the East-West divide during the early Cold War, examining the Rajk, Slánský, Dennis and Rosenberg trials.

Delia Popescu is Georg Professor of Political Science at Le Moyne College, in Syracuse, NY. She is Director of the Peace and Global Studies and of the Legal Studies programs. Popescu is the author of Political Action in Vaclav Havel’s Thought: The Responsibility of Resistance (Lexington Press, 2011). Her current work focuses on comparative political theory and the conceptualization of East European political thought, which resulted in a chapter on “Eastern European Political Thought as a Conceptual Tool” in the recent Oxford Handbook of Comparative Political Theory.

Jiří Přibáň graduated from Charles University in Prague (1989) where he was appointed Professor of legal theory, philosophy and sociology in 2002. He has also been Visiting Professor (or scholar) at the European University Institute in Florence, New York University (Prague Office), the University of California in Berkeley, the University of San Francisco, the University of Pretoria, the Flemish Academy in Brussels and the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He has published extensively in the areas of social theory and the sociology of law, legal philosophy, constitutional and European comparative law, and the theory of human rights. His monograph Sovereignty in Post-Sovereign Society (Routledge) was awarded the SLSA Socio-Legal Theory and History Book Prize. His article ‘Reconstituting paradise lost: temporality, civility and ethnicity in post-communist constitution-making’ won the SLSA Hart Socio-Legal Article Prize. He is the founding director of the Centre of Law and Society and an editor of the Journal of Law and Society. He regularly contributes to Czech and international media.

Kieran Williams is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of Václav Havel (Reaktion Books, 2016) as well as books on the 1968 “Prague Spring”, intelligence reform, and electoral systems. With David Danaher he co-editor of the forthcoming volume Václav Havel’s Meanings: His Key Words, Their Context and Legacy.


October 28, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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