State of Democracy

The State of Democracy Lecture Series provides a forum for meaningful discussions of significant public issues - both current and more enduring - which cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries. These discussions enable explorations of real-world challenges and foster continued discussion and debate.

We are fortunate to have one lecture per year sponsored by the Norman M. and Marsha Lee Berkman Fund. Norman M. Berkman is a graduate of Syracuse University (’57) in Political Science. His wife, Marsha Lee, graduated from Northwestern University. They firmly believe that the State of Democracy Lecture Series they sponsor serves as a valuable link in the political discourse between the University and the community, and fosters understanding of significant contemporary issues.

All events begin at 4:00 PM in the Maxwell Auditorium and are followed by an open reception unless otherwise noted and parking is available in the Irving Garage for a small fee. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided for these lectures. If you require additional accommodations, please call 315-443-9707 or email

"Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present"

Ruth Ben-Ghiat

April 30, 2021 | 4:00 PM EST | VIRTUAL

BenGhiat_HeadshotHomepageHistorian, Educator, and Commentator 

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University. She writes frequently for CNN and other news and analysis sites on fascism, authoritarian leaders, propaganda, and threats to democracy around the world and how to counter them.

SOD. Strongmen Book Pic smaller She will discuss her new book, "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present," the first study to place President Donald Trump in the context of a century of authoritarian leaders that use a playbook of corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power.

This lecture will be available for viewing via Zoom Webinar. Preregistration required for link.