“History doesn’t repeat, but it does instruct” is the ethos of Timothy Snyder’s new book, “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.” Four Cornell professors will hold a community read and public discussion of Snyder’s book Oct. 30 at 4:30 p.m. in Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall.
Snyder’s book looks at 20th-century European history to uncover what sparked the change from democratic governments to authoritarian regimes in several countries. Sign up to receive a free copy of the book and pick it up in Room 103, Africana Studies and Research Center, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. or at Society for the Humanities, A.D. White House, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. any weekday until Oct. 30.
“The founding fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy,” writes Snyder, the Levin Professor of History at Yale University. “Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the 20th century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.”
By drawing parallels between the actions of tyrannical leaders of the 20th century and political actions taking place in the United States today, Snyder’s book offers practical advice on how citizens can help fight tyranny and stop democratic governments from becoming authoritarian dictatorships.
Cornell professors on the panel are: Mabel Berezin, professor of sociology; Jonathan Boyarin, the Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies and director of the Jewish Studies Program; Kevin Gaines, the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Africana Studies and chair of the Africana Studies and Research Center; and Aziz Rana, professor of law.
The event is organized by the Jewish Studies Program, the Society for the Humanities, the Africana Studies and Research Center and American Studies Program.
Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences.