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CANCELED: Seminar: ‘The Power and Allure of Dictators’

March 28, 2020 at 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

As part of the Adventures in Ideas weekend seminars, Carolina Public Humanities presents “The Power and Allure of Dictators.”

In the face of populist pressures, many nations around the world are turning to authoritarian leaders whose attachment to the liberal values of democracy, transparency, and human rights is questionable at best or outright denied. What inspires people to prefer the rule of one person over sharing power among many? By what right do individuals assume they speak for everyone? Are there common factors that lead to dictatorships or characterize how they function? To answer these questions, the seminar will review the history and development of “dictators” from the earliest use of the term in ancient Rome to the autocrats in small today. Since dictators often establish their legitimacy through legal means and then abuse the power consigned to them, we should learn how to recognize them before we’re ruled by them.


Topics and speakers include:

Roman Use and Abuse: Republican Dictators from Cincinnatus to Caesar
Richard J. A. Talbert, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of History Emeritus

Napoleon: Sovereignty, Revolution, and the First Nationalist Dictator
Maximilian P. Owre, Teaching Assistant Professor of History and Executive Director, Carolina Public Humanities

Stalin: Power and Party in the Soviet Union
Anna Krylova, Associate Professor of History, Duke University

Despots and Tyrants in the Contemporary World
Jeremy Hunter, Independent Scholar and Journalist

Why Dictators? The Appeal and Dangers of One-Person Rule
A panel discussion with our speakers


Register or call 919.962.1544 (pre-registration is required).

The tuition is $125 ($115 until January 23). Tuition for teachers is $62.50 ($57.50 until January 23). Teachers can also receive a $75 stipend after attending (view more information) and 10 contact hours for 1 unit of renewal credit. The optional lunch on Saturday is $15.

Discounts are available for UNC students, faculty, & staff. See the UNC Student, Staff, & Faculty Discounted Registration Policy.

Co-Sponsored by the General Alumni Association.

View information about GAA discounts and other scholarships available to Humanities Program participants.

Visit for more information.