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Conferences & lectures

Political Theory of Populism Workshop

Friday, April 16, 2021 –
Saturday, April 17, 2021 (all day)

  • Arash Abizadeh (McGill University)
  • Cristina Lafont (Northwestern University)
  • Patti Tamara Lenard (University of Ottawa)
  • Agnes Tam (Concordia University)
  • Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)
  • Kevin Vallier (Bowling Green State University)
  • Daniel Weinstock (McGill University)
  • Juliette Roussin (Laval University)
  • Joseph Heath (University of Toronto)
  • Will Kymlicka (Queen’s University)
  • Jules Salomone-Sehr (CRÉ/CUNY)
  • Brennen Harwood (Queen’s University)
  • Víctor Muñiz-Fraticelli (McGill University)
  • Colleen Murphy (University of Illinois)


This event is free


Social Justice Centre


Agnes Tam



The Political Theory of Populism Workshop explores the conceptual and normative resources political theory has to understand and respond to the phenomenon of populism. While empirical research on populism has grown exponentially over the past decade, theoretical engagement remains relatively scant. At present, populism is not clearly defined and distinguished from adjacent phenomena. Often assumed as a threat, the full range of roles populism plays in democracy, justice, and governance is not well understood. Even less attention has been dedicated to the remedies for problematic forms or elements of populism. This workshop aims to tackle these neglected conceptual and normative issues raised by the phenomenon of populism.

This workshop will take place virtually, over one and half days. Workshop papers will be pre-circulated. All participants are expected to read them in advance. To register, please fill in this form. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants closer to the event date. For any inquiries, please contact the workshop chair Agnes Tam via

This workshop is organised by Agnes Tam, in association with the Social Justice Centre (Concordia University) and the Groupe de recherche en philosophie de Montréal (GRIPP).




Friday, April 16, 2021

(All listed times are in EDT)

9:15 - 9:30 Welcome & Introductions

9:30 - 10:45

Pablo Gilabert

Author: Agnes Tam (Concordia University)
Paper: "Do Liberals Have to Fear Identity-Expressive Populism?"

Commentator: Jules Salomone-Sehr (Centre de Recherche en Éthique)
10:45 - 10:55 Break

10:55 -  12:10

Pablo Gilabert

Author: Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)
Paper: "Filling the Void, Possessing Power: The Transformative Character of Populist Politics"

Commentator: Brennen Harwood (Queen's University)
12:10 - 13:30 Lunch

13:30 - 14:45

Agnes Tam

Author: Cristina Lafont (Northwestern University)
Paper: "Power to the People: Citizens' Assemblies and the Populist Conception of Representation as Embodiment"

Commentator: Joseph Heath (University of Toronto)
14:45 - 14:55

14:55 - 16:10

Agnes Tam

Author: Arash Abizadeh (McGill University)
Paper: "Popular Sovereignty vs. Democracy: Or, How Rousseau Killed Democracy"

Commentator: Juliette Roussin (Université Laval)
  End of Day 1


Saturday, April 17, 2021

(All listed times are in EDT)

9:30 - 10:45

Agnes Tam

Author: Kevin Vallier (Bowling Green State University)
Paper: "Diversity Destabilizes Illiberal Political Orders"

Commentator: Victor Muñiz-Fraticelli (McGill University)
10:45 - 10:55 Break

10:55 -  12:10

Agnes Tam

Author: Patti Lenard (University of Ottawa)
Paper: "Anti-immigrant Populism and the (Failure of the) Duty of Civility"

Commentator: Will Kymlicka (Queen's University)
12:10 - 12:20 Break

12:20 - 13:35

Agnes Tam

Author: Daniel Weinstock (McGill University)
Paper: "Confronting Populism through Institutional Design"

Commentator: Colleen Murphy (University of Illinois)
  End of Day 2
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