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School of Public Policy to Host Colloquium, “Experts and the Problem of Knowledge in a Democracy"

The School of Public Policy will host a rare opportunity as it brings together scholars from diverse fields to talk about policy and politics. The colloquium, "Experts and the Problem of Knowledge in a Democracy," will be held on Pepperdine's Malibu campus in November as part of an effort to create a springboard for future seminars that will build a stronger community of scholars, a richer discussion on the topics that cross intellectual boundaries, and an intellectual engagement that helps the participants in both teaching and research.

Colloquium director, Ted McAllister, Edward L. Gaylord Chair and associate professor of public policy, notes, “At Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy we stress the importance of wide ranging conversation, inflected with many perspectives. We like to cross boundaries of academic disciplines, methods, and perspectives in order for the question or problem to drive our collective analysis.”

As policy experts on issues ranging from vaccination regulations to land use planning have come under increased scrutiny, the colloquium will examine not only the role of experts in our government but the related and deeper question of the problem of knowledge in a democracy. How can we produce a citizenry that possesses sufficient knowledge, context and understanding to participate meaningfully in democratic politics? The role of experts in making policies in a democracy raises the most foundational questions about how “we the people” can function as a self-governing public.

The two-day, inaugural colloquium will be led by discussion leader Wilfred McClay, G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma. McClay also served as the 2009-2010 William E. Simon Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.