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The Fierce Urgency of Now: Systemic Crisis & System Change in 2024

May 30 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


What must the academy and communities do together?

It’s increasingly understood that we are facing a systemic crisis and not just short-term political or economic difficulties. Yet a huge gulf remains between recognition of the crisis and the scope and scale of the required responses. At the same time, hugely significant events are already upon us, with 2024 shaping up to be a pivotal year in determining what immediate paths we take—what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now.” With the planet heating up, tens of millions of Americans living in deep poverty, another two hundred million Americans living paycheck to paycheck, and authoritarianism on the rise worldwide, it is a time to dare to hope, but also a time in which we must act—and come together to intervene at scale, and in community.

The outlines of alternative possibilities are increasingly well developed, but now require strategies capable of delivering system change. In this decisive decade, what is the role of the academy? And what can we learn from the role of ideas, scholarship, social movements, and institutional action in aiding previous shifts (such as the New Deal, the birth of the postwar order, the long ‘60s, or the more recent hegemony of neoliberalism?).

Join Ben Manski and Joe Guinan for a wide-ranging discussion of academic-community partnerships in navigating the systemic crisis.

Ben Manski (PhD, JD) is director of Next System Studies and Assistant Professor of Sociology at George Mason University. He is a UCSB PhD and his published works take in movements, constitutionalism, ecology, democracy, technology, and the corporation. He was a movement lawyer, executive, and campaigner for many years.

Joe Guinan is President of The Democracy Collaborative and co-author (with Martin O’Neill) of The Case for Community Wealth Building and (with Christine Berry) of People Get Ready! Preparing for a Corbyn Government, named one of The Guardian’s 2019 best politics books of the year.


May 30
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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UCSB, Bren Hall, Room 4016
Santa Barbara, CA 93117 United States + Google Map