The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies occasionally hosts special events including conferences, workshops, and symposia that focus on the center's thematic. Details of these events can be found below.

The conference is free and open to the public.


Religion, Identity, and PoliticsMay 10-11, 2013

Religion, Identity, and Politics

May 10-11, 2013
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The goal of the conference is to re-examine and to rethink the mutual constitution of religion and politics, and to stimulate a lively discussion of several issues:

  • how religion differs from ethnic, linguistic, or national identities
  • how doctrine matters: in the growth of some religions, in its impact on public policy and political institutions, and in its trans-national impact
  • how states regulate religion, and the difference between favoring some religions and privileging others
  • how organized religion affects electoral cleavages, state institutions, and redistributive policies (and vice versa), and
  • the rise of “fundamentalisms”—when, where, and why do they arise?


How Autocracies Work: Beyond the Electoral ParadigmApril 15-16, 2011

How Autocracies Work: Beyond the Electoral Paradigm

April 15-16, 2011
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The goal of the conference is to weigh the current emphasis on elections and electoral institutions in autocracies against other facets of autocratic rule: repression, economic dependence, informal institutions, etc.

The burgeoning field of authoritarian regime studies has increasingly focused on the peculiarities and importance of elections, electoral institutions, and electoral participation—yet there have been few efforts to see how these interact with, substitute for, or contravene the repressive capacity of the authoritarian state and the networks of economic dependence it creates (through employment, housing, or redistribution.) How do the repressive pillars of autocratic rule interact with each other, how do they affect the durability and robustness of authoritarian rule, and how do they function across autocracies?


The Nines: Brinks, Cusps, and Perceptions of Possibility—from 1789-2009December 3-5, 2009

The Nines: Brinks, Cusps, and Perceptions of Possibility—from 1789-2009


December 3-5, 2009
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The 20th anniversary of 1989 stimulates reflections on the momentous events from Germany to China that promised change in the world. But the end of other decades—1979 in Iran and Afghanistan, the financial crisis in 1929, and in exemplary ways, 1789 in France—inspire similar commemorative reconsiderations. These and other “nines” include moments of transition and change, possibility and crisis. While the promise of democracy might frame our reflections on 1989, it is not enough to help us appreciate how other radical transformations were conceived or experienced, and indeed, what the iconic “1989” also embodied beyond democracy’s extension. We need to better understand how world-historic events shape the imagination, and how visions of the world and its perceived trajectories can shape the course of events.

In Fall 2009, the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, together with other partnering units at the University of Michigan, presented programs addressing the relationship between world-historic events and alternative visions of the world embedded in these times. This series explored 1989 alongside historical transformations of the many other iconic “nines” of the modern era and the alternative futures they inspired.


If you would like a copy of one of the conference papers, please email