UNBOUND BOOK FESTIVAL ONLINE PANEL: “Pursuing Happiness in Troubled Times”


We’ve decided to move our planned panel for April’s Unbound Book Festival to the new world of Zoom, gathering four political historians and theorists together to consider the relationship between individual ambition and the need for cooperation in democratic societies (see below for a brief abstract and presenter line-up). The conversation will happen at 2pm on Saturday, April 25, and you can find the Zoom registration link here, no password required to register.


The political theorists and historians on the panel will consider the ways and means of being ourselves and thinking democratically in times of rapid change and polarized opinions. America has always struggled with the tension between the rights and ambitions of individuals and society’s need for some degree of cooperation and harmony. This panel explores how the founders and other thinkers have tried to resolve this tension and keep our democracy in balance.

Carli Conklin is an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law and Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Kinder Institute. She is the author of The Pursuit of Happiness in the Founding Era: An Intellectual History, published in 2019 as part of the Kinder Institute’s Studies in Constitutional Democracy monograph series with University of Missouri Press. She studied law and legal history through University of Virginia’s joint J.D./M.A. program and went on to receive a Ph.D. in History at UVA.

Aurelian Craiutu is a Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. A scholar of modern political theory, his two most recent books are A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830 (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Jennie Ikuta will join the Kinder Institute and MU Political Science Department in Fall 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy and Political Science, after previously serving as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Tulsa. She received her Ph.D. in Political Theory from Brown University, and her first book, Contesting Conformity: Democracy and the Paradox of Political Belonging, was published in 2020 by Oxford University Press.

Daniel Mandell is a Professor of History at Truman State University and served during 2018-19 as a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at the Kinder Institute. He is the author of numerous monographs on the history of indigenous peoples in New England, including Tribe, Race, History: Native Americans in Southern New England, 1780-1880 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), which received the Organization of American Historians 2008 award for best book on American cultural history. He is most recently the author of The Lost Tradition of Economic Equality in America, 1600-1870, published in April 2020 by Johns Hopkins Press. He received his Ph.D. in History from University of Virginia.