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SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins to Launch Center for Economy and Society

Feb. 16, 2022
CONTACT: Jason Lucas
Cell: 443-301-7993
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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University has established the Center for Economy and Society through $10 million in funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network. At SNF Agora, the new center will strive to bring together thinkers on the political left and right to address the perils facing market democracies.

“This question that the new center will tackle—about how to understand and reimagine the changing relationship between society, the state, and the economy—goes hand-in-hand with the work the institute is doing to understand threats to democracy and opportunities for change,” said SNF Agora Director Hahrie Han. “We are so excited to be working with Steven Teles and the entire team to build the Center for Economy and Society, which will take a pluralistic approach to understanding the history and future of economic liberalism.”

Over the coming years, the center will develop a series of interdisciplinary, cross-ideological convenings to generate conversations between scholars, policymakers, and public intellectuals around the challenges facing market democracies. Planning is underway for programming this semester, featuring an event with New York Times columnist Ezra Klein focused on supply-side progressivism and regular dinner discussions on political economy, which will take place in Washington, DC.

Teles, a professor of political science, will serve as the center’s director. The leadership team will include Angus Burgin, associate professor of history; Ling Chen, assistant professor of political economy; and Henry Farrell, SNF Agora professor of international affairs. Margaret Levi, director of Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, will lead the center’s advisory board.

“The Center for Economy and Society aims to be at the center of the conversations that these challenges and possibilities will spur. There are few places where serious economic thinkers on left and right can talk and argue in serious and productive ways,” said Teles. “The center will provide a pluralistic space in which scholars and practitioners with different approaches to the open society can thrash out their disagreements, discover common ground, and build new frameworks for governing.”

To help build the initiative, the Hewlett Foundation and Johns Hopkins will fund two new endowed positions for scholars. The university has also committed a Bloomberg Distinguished Professorship to work with the center. During the 2023-2024 academic year, the center will host Northwestern University Assistant Professor of Political Science Chloe Thurston, a leader in the American political economy field.

The center will also create opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to approach studies of the economy by drawing together ideas from across the social sciences and humanities.

For more about the SNF Agora Institute, visit snfagora.jhu.edu.


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