Location: Princeton Public Library, Community Room

A keynote speaker and two panels of experts, featuring historians and journalists, will discuss the history of democracy, active citizenship and participatory journalism. Registration requested.

The 2023 Public Humanities Forum explores the relationship between democracy and journalism through two panel discussions and a public lecture.


10 a.m. - Check-in and Coffee

10:30 a.m. to noon - First Panel: "Democracy, Citizenship, and the Power of the Powerless"

Noon to 1:15 p.m. - Lunch (complimentary to registered guests)

1:15 to 2:45 p.m. - Second Panel: "Democratic Societies and Participatory Journalism"

2:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. - Coffee Break

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Public Lecture: Jan-Werner Müller, "Democracy's Critical Infrastructure"

Book signing to follow.

Keynote Speaker: 

Jan-Werner Müller is Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences and professor of Politics at Princeton University. He works mainly in democratic theory and the history of modern political thought; he also has research interests in the relationship between architecture and politics, as well as the normative implications of the current structural transformations of the public sphere. Publications include Constitutional Patriotism (2007), Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe (2011) and What is Populism? (2016), which has been translated into more than 20 languages. 2019 saw the publication of Furcht und Freiheit: Für einen anderen Liberalismus, which won the Bavarian Book Prize; in 2021, Democracy Rules appeared with FSG, Penguin, and Suhrkamp. 

Panelists and Moderator on the First Panel:

Dan-El Padilla Peralta is an Associate Professor of Classics in the Department of Classics at Princeton University. He is the author of two books: Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (Penguin 2015) and Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (Princeton 2020) and he has co-edited two others: Rome, Empire of Plunder: The Dynamics of Cultural Appropriation (with Matthew Loar and Carolyn MacDonald; Cambridge 2017); and Making the Middle Republic: New Approaches to Rome and Italy, c. 400 – 200 BCE (with Seth Bernard and Lisa Mignone; Cambridge 2023). In addition he is a volume editor for the Cambridge History of the African Diaspora. Projects in the works include Classicism and Other Phobias, a manuscript emerging from the 2022 W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures; 338 BCE: Rome and the Age of Empires, co-authored with Denis Feeney (under contract with Harvard University Press); A People’s History of Rome (under contract with Princeton University Press); and a manifesto on race and racism within the disciplinary identity of classics, co-authored with Sasha-Mae Eccleston.

Rachel Devlin is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University specializing in the cultural politics of girlhood, sexuality, and race in the postwar United States. She is the author of Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters, and Postwar American Culture (2005). In her most recent book, A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools (2018), Devlin draws on interviews and archival research to tell the stories of the many young women who stood up to enraged protestors, hostile teachers, and hateful white students every day while integrating classrooms. Among them were Lucile Bluford, who fought to desegregate the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism before World War II, and Marguerite Carr and Doris Faye Jennings, who as teenagers became the public faces of desegregation years before Brown v. Board of Education. Devlin has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History (Harvard University), and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute (Harvard University).

Stanley Katz is President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, the national humanities organization in the United States. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1955 with a major in English History and Literature. He was trained in British and American history at Harvard (PhD, 1961), where he also attended Law School in 1969-70. His recent research focuses upon developments in American philanthropy, the relationship of civil society and constitutionalism to democracy, and the relationship of the United States to the international human rights regime. He is the Editor in Chief of the recently published Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History, and the Editor Emeritus of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court. He also writes about higher education policy, and has published a blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the co-founder and editor of the history of philanthropy blog www.histphil.org. Formerly Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor of the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, he is a specialist on American legal and constitutional history, and on philanthropy and non-profit institutions. He received the annual Fellows Award from Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by Pres. Obama) in 2011.


Christopher Fisher is an Associate Professor of History at the College of New Jersey. He earned his BA from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. in history, with a focus on U.S. diplomacy, from Rutgers University in 2001. His areas of expertise are the U.S. in the twentieth century, cold war culture and diplomacy, US in the World, American empire and imperialism, African-American history, and Racism and Race Relations in the US. With Alan Dawley and Robert C. McGreevey, he is the co-author of Global America, The United States in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2018).

Panelists and Moderator on the Second Panel:

Jane Ferguson is a Polk, Emmy, Peabody, OPCA and DuPont award-winning foreign correspondent for PBS NewsHour, contributor to The New Yorker, and McGraw Professor of journalism at Princeton University. Now based in New York City, she has over thirteen years of experience living and reporting in the Middle East and reporting from the Arab world, Africa and South Asia. Her work focuses on US foreign policy and defense, conflict, diplomacy, and human rights. With an emphasis on in-depth, magazine length broadcasting, Jane's reporting is characterized by exclusive, ground-breaking access, thoughtful story-telling and character-driven reporting. Her memoir, No Ordinary Assignment was published by HarperCollins in July 2023. 

Tennyson Donyéa, a seasoned journalist, storyteller, and aspiring filmmaker continues to leave his mark on New Jersey's media landscape. A Temple University alumnus, he holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production (2016) and later deepened his journalistic expertise through the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators program at CUNY Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in 2022. Over the past seven years, Tennyson has extensively reported for various platforms including TV, radio, and both print and digital mediums. His journey has taken him to various states – from California to Maine – but his role at WHYY News in Philadelphia stands out, showcasing his dedication to delivering quality news about New Jersey politics. In 2023, Tennyson's commitment to local journalism was recognized when he received the New Jersey News Commons' Partner of the Year award. This accolade celebrated his significant contributions to bolstering New Jersey's local news ecosystem. Keenly aware of the narratives surrounding New Jersey's Black community, Tennyson took it upon himself to challenge and reshape these perspectives. In 2021, he founded "Black In Jersey" with the aim to provide a more accurate representation of Black communities and address pertinent issues in the fight for Black liberation. Originally hailing from Washington, D.C., Tennyson has called New Jersey home since 2019 and is currently based in Trenton, NJ, where he continues to be a beacon of change in the world of journalism.

Andrew Rodriguez Calderón is a computational journalist at The Marshall Project. Previously a Cross-Borders Data Investigations Fellow at Columbia University, he investigated U.S.-based, right-wing evangelical groups that use dark-money to promote anti-LGBTQ policies in Central and South America. While at The Marshall Project, he has used computer programming and data visualization to report on the immigration courts, border detention of migrant children and the cost of deportation to taxpayers. He has also collaborated on national award-winning stories, including "Detained," "Think Debtor’s Prisons Are a Thing of the Past? Not in Mississippi," and "More Immigrants Are Giving Up Court Fights and Leaving the U.S."


Anastasia Mann is a lecturer at Princeton University and the founding director of SPIA in NJ. Her work focuses on struggles for economic rights and racial justice by, for, and with communities on the margins of American society. Trained as a historian, Stacy’s interests include reparations and transitional justice, immigrant organizing, access to quality public services, social welfare and social control, kinship, leisure, and mutual aid. Her work is attuned to the ways that gender, race, class, and ethnicity shape structures of opportunity. Mann’s career spans academia (Northwestern, Princeton, Rutgers), research-driven nonprofits (the Russell Sage Foundation, New Jersey Policy Perspective), and the civic sphere (Princeton’s Human Services and Civil Rights Commissions, and the New Jersey Commission on New Americans). Her publications include contributions to The Encyclopedia of Working Class America (Routledge), Flunking Out: New Jersey’s Support for Public Higher Education Falls Short, Garden State Dreams: In-State Tuition for Undocumented Kids (both New Jersey Policy Perspective), and Middlesex County, New Jersey: Crossroads of the World (Rutgers, Eagleton Institute). 

Co-sponsored by the SPIA in NJ Initiative of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Princeton University Program in Journalism, and Labyrinth Books and presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Community Room Accessibility

Wheelchair accessible

Assistive listening system compatible with personal T-coil-enabled devices (compatible  headphones also available for use during programs)

English-language subtitles for films (when available)

If there is an accommodation that you need or would like so that you can fully enjoy library programs, please visit our Accommodations Request Form.