Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the department of history and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. In 2007, Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America's "Top Young Innovators" in the humanities and sciences. He is the author and editor of nine books, including The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office (2017), Liberty's Surest Guardian: American Nation-building from the Founders to Obama (2011), American Foreign Relations since 1898 (2010), Henry Kissinger and the American Century (2007), The Global Revolutions of 1968 (2007), and Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Detente (2003). His research emphasizes the interconnections between grassroots politics and elite policy-making. In his teaching and writing, he seeks to internationalize understanding of American history by focusing on the foreign "others" who have contributed to local and national definitions of identity in the United States. He also examines how American citizens—from ordinary men and women through distinguished politicians and businesspeople—have influenced the world outside the United States.
This lecture examines the historic origins of authoritarian politics in the U.S. and other parts of the world during the last century. Beginning with the emergence of fascism in the 1920s, extremist ideologies, cultish personalities, and the manipulation of law have colluded to empower repressive, hateful movements. These movements have often risen through democratic institutions, especially in the United States. This lecture will show why authoritarianism feeds off democracy, and it will analyze how democracies have effectively resisted authoritarianism within and without.