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Is liberalism dead? And if so, is inequality to blame?

3 December 2018
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Law Theatre
This event has ended
ariel photograph of high rise with pools next to shanty town

Liberalism in 2019 has few friends: some commentators are even heralding the death of liberalism. What, then, went wrong in the liberal tradition to get us to this point? Is the liberal model itself to blame – including liberal understandings of freedom and the state? Or has the problem been one of implementation – or a failure by liberalism to take seriously issues of equality and access to the social minimum for all? Further, how might we conceive of alternatives to liberalism, or reimagine the liberal tradition, so as better to respond to these failings?

Join us for a conversation about the future of liberalism with Professors Ratna Kapur, Mark Tushnet and Richard Holden and Dr Michaela Hailbronner, co-moderated by UNSW’s Dr Ben Golder and Professor Rosalind Dixon.

A UNSW Grand Challenges event


Photo of Ratna Kapur

Ratna Kapur

Ratna Kapur is currently a Visiting Professor at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. Her regular position is as Distinguished Faculty, Symbiosis School of Law, India, and Senior Faculty, Institute of Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School. She has written and published extensively on human rights, international law, and postcolonial and feminist legal theory. Her latest book is Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl (2018).


head shot of Mark Tushnet

Mark Tushnet

Professor Mark Tushnet graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School and served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall. He specialises in constitutional law and theory, including comparative constitutional law. His research includes studies examining (skeptically) the practice of judicial review in the United States and around the world. He also writes in the area of legal and particularly constitutional history, with works on the development of civil rights law in the United States and (currently) a long-term project on the history of the Supreme Court in the 1930s.


Head shot of Michaela Hailbronner

Michaela Hailbronner

Michaela Hailbronner is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Münster in Germany. Her current research is primarily in the field of human rights and comparative constitutional law. Her analysis of German constitutionalism against a broader comparative background appeared in a paper that won the I.CON Inaugural Best Paper Award 2014 and in her first book Traditions and Transformations: The Rise of German Constitutionalism (Oxford University Press, 2015). Since then she has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law at Heidelberg (Germany), the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and taught at the University of Ottawa (Canada) as a visiting professor during the January term 2016.


Richard Holden Headshot

Richard Holden

Richard Holden is Professor of Economics in the UNSW Business School. Professor Holden received a PhD from Harvard University and was a faculty member at MIT and the University of Chicago before returning to Australia. He has been published in leading economics journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review and Review of Economic Studies. His popular writings have appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, New Republic, American Affairs, Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Conversation. He is a fellow of the Econometric Society, and of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Photo of Rosalind Dixon

Rosalind Dixon

Rosalind Dixon is a Professor of Law at UNSW Sydney. She earned her BA and LLB from UNSW Sydney and was an associate to the Chief Justice of Australia, the Hon. Murray Gleeson AC, before attending Harvard Law School, where she obtained an LLM and SJD. Her work focuses on comparative constitutional law and constitutional design, constitutional democracy, theories of constitutional dialogue and amendment, socio-economic rights and constitutional law and gender. She was the co-Lead of the Grand Challenge on Inequality and is now the co-Director of the New Economic Equality Initiative. Rosalind is the Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and deputy director of the Herbert Smith Freehills Initiative on Law and Economics.

Head shot of Ben Golder

Ben Golder

Ben Golder is Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Education) at UNSW Law. Ben works at the intersection of Political and Legal Theory, and is interested in the areas of Public Law and Human Rights. He is currently researching critical and historical approaches to contemporary human rights discourse and, more specifically, the relationship between human rights and post-foundationalist thought.