The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) at the University of Michigan presents an inaugural lecture by Dan Slater, Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professor of Emerging Democracies and professor of political science on the topic “Democracies Emerging and Submerging.” Professor Slater specializes in the politics and history of enduring dictatorships and emerging democracies, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. He comes to Michigan after twelve years on the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he served as director of the Center for International Social Science Research (CISSR), associate professor in the Department of Political Science, and associate member in the Department of Sociology. His book manuscript examining how divergent historical patterns of contentious politics have shaped variation in state power and authoritarian durability in seven Southeast Asian countries, entitled Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia, was published in the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics series in 2010.

In this lecture, Slater will explore how research on authoritarianism and democratic dysfunctions might ironically shed light on enduring questions of democratic emergence—especially when it builds on concepts transcending disciplinary boundaries. The lecture also serves as a keynote for the “Democracies Emerging and Submerging” conference hosted by WCED on September 28-29. The conference, a meeting of the Democratic Change Research Initiative, brings leading scholars of authoritarianism and democratization to WCED to present and discuss their ongoing research on why democracy and autocracy either emerge and endure or falter and fail.

WCED and the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2018-19. Over the past decade, the Weiser Centers have curated a wide range of activities benefitting U-M students and faculty, scholars and practitioners, and the community at large. WCEE and its constituent centers promote contextual expertise on states and societies in Europe and Eurasia while WCED is committed to supporting scholarship on the critical challenges and barriers to democracy worldwide.

Dan Slater will speak on September 27 at 7:00 PM in Room 1010 Weiser Hall, 500 Church Street. The lecture is co-sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Department of Political Science; and International Institute. It is free and open to the public.

Contact: Derek Groom | 734.764.0351 |

The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) combines academics with practical applications, promoting scholarship to better understand the conditions and policies that foster the transition from autocratic rule to democratic governance, past and present. It also educates new generations of practitioners who can apply their learning and experience to help extend democratic freedoms. Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCED is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute. For more information, visit