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The Evolution of Devolution

Lecture by Donald Horowitz, James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science Emeritus, Duke University

Federalism and regional autonomy are widely recommended for alleviating ethno-regional tensions in divided societies. This lecture will enumerate some of the advantages of devolving power to regions in such circumstances and also discuss the hesitation that some central governments entertain about doing so. Among these is a fear that creating federal or regionally autonomous units incentivizes ethnic separatism or even outright secession. Professor Horowitz will show this fear to be very greatly exaggerated, but he will also show that central governments that devolve power to ethnically heterogeneous units risk unregulated struggles for power within those units. In such cases, ethnic discrimination is widespread, and courts often have great difficulty rectifying it, despite abundant constitutional provisions guaranteeing ethnic equality.

Event details

Speaker bio:

Donald L. Horowitz is the James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science Emeritus at Duke University. He holds law degrees from Syracuse and Harvard and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard. The author of eight books, Professor Horowitz has held a number of distinguished visiting positions at Universities in the US, Hungary, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the UK.

He has also served as Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, a Guggenheim Scholar, and a Carnegie Scholar. In 2009, he was presented with the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Ethnicity and Nationalism Section of the International Studies Association. He has been a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and a Siemens Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. Professor Horowitz delivered the Lipset Lecture in Washington and Toronto in 2013. He also gave the Corry Lecture at Queens University in Ontario in the same year. He has given keynote addresses and other named lectures at universities in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, India, England, Northern Ireland, Malaysia, and South Africa; and the Castle Lectures on Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale.

Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993, Professor Horowitz served as President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy from 2007 to 2010. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Flemish-speaking Free University of Brussels.


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