Boitempo and Sesc São Paulo promote broad reflection on democracy

International Seminar “Collapsing Democracy?”, which takes place in October at Sesc Pinheiros, São Paulo, retrieves the origins and perspectives of the concept of democracy and features international guests such as Angela Davis, Silvia Federici, Patricia Hill Collins and Michael Löwy

From October 15th to the 19th, Boitempo and Sesc São Paulo will host, in partnership, at the Paulo Autran Theatre of Sesc Pinheiros in São Paulo, the International Seminar “Collapsing Democracy?” . With up to 50 brazilian and international guests, the event will promote a broad debate about the origins and the different historical, political and social perspectives that permeate the concept of democracy. The program includes a 4 class course, 12 debates and conferences and book launches.

At a time when political polarization dictates much of the debate in Brazilian society, the seminar invites some of the most important contemporary authors and researchers to analyze the concept of democracy and its intersections with debates about class, gender, race, religion and sexuality, with the main goal of promoting reflection and re-establishing democratic dialogue.

In order to better mark these reflections, the program brings as one of its highlights the course “Democracy can be like this: History, Forms and Possibilities”. In four classes, between the 15th and the 18th, Marilena Chaui, Antonio Carlos Mazzeo, Virginia Fontes and Luis Felipe Miguel will didactically address the history, manifestations and relations of this concept with the ones of revolution and the forms of political organization.

In the afternoons and evenings, panelists, speakers and mediators will participate in a cycle of 12 debates designed to answer the question: “Democracy for what – and whom?” The question arises from the need to reverberate the diverse meanings of the term ascribed by people of different genders, ethnicities, and social classes, from the universities to the peripheries, from the South to the North. Each conference will feature one or more speakers and a mediator, responsible for the public’s participation.

Gender and race issues stand out especially thanks to the presence of some of the leading authors of black feminism in the world, such as Angela Davis, who has just published An Autobiography in Brazil, and Patricia Hill Collins, who launches in Brazil for the first time Black Feminist Thought, both by Boitempo. Also, the Seminar will have the contribution of italian philosopher and feminist activist Silvia Federici, who launches Women and witch hunt, in Brazil, also edited by Boitempo.

By addressing issues connected with some of the most striking and discussed events of the current brazilian conjuncture, this Seminar aims not only to go beyond academic discussion, but also to provide keys of interpretation for the phenomena that profoundly impacts the world today.

Changes regarding labor, brazilian society’s relationship with the inheritance of the dictatorship years, the role of education and the relations between family, conservatism and politics will be some of the topics addressed in order to better understand the brazilian social organization nowadays. Recent events that have marked the country’s recent months will also be debated, such as the judicialization of politics and the politicization of the judiciary, the role of journalism in defending democracy and the relations between economy and state policies.

The project marks a continued partnership between Boitempo and Sesc São Paulo, that since 2011holds biennial seminars, always bringing together renowned intellectuals and the latest reflections from the fields of social theories and philosophy.

Course “Democracy can be like this: history, forms and possibilities”
Mediation of Paula Almeida and Daniela Mussi

12 – 02pm | Class 1 | Democracy History
With Marilena Chaui

OCT 16 | Wednesday
10am – 12pm | Class 2 | History of democracy in Latin America
With Antonio Carlos Mazzeo

OCT 17 | Thursday

10am – 12pm | Class 3 | Democracy and revolution
With Virginia Fontes


10am – 12pm | Class 4 | Forms of political organization: parties, unions, social movements
With Luis Felipe Miguel