The Humanities Institute

Program Archive

Secrets in a Democracy

Bound up in such concepts as sacredness, intimacy, danger and the forbidden, secrecy is something familiar to all of us. Commonly we perceive secrets as guilty, conspiratorial, or pathological, forgetting that secrets can also protect our identity, intentions, actions, and property. As individuals, to have no capacity for secrecy is to be out of control, leaving one vulnerable and open to coercion. To have no insight into what others conceal is to lack power as well.

At the collective level, many have argued that official secrecy is incompatible with democracy. While others allow that institutional secrecy is sometimes legitimate and necessary, they maintain that those who exercise power must justify their control over secrecy and openness. Even with persuasive reasons, they insist that accountability is indispensable in a democracy. Still others claim that confidentiality and national security are sufficient rationale for professional, corporate, administrative and military secrecy.

Through an art exhibition and a lecture and film series, the program on Secrets in a Democracy will examine: when secrecy is legitimate and when it is injurious; the ways in which we keep, reveal, and discover secrets and what they say about us; as well as what ought to happen when formal secrets are revealed.

Speakers and Events

September 3, 2009
Linda Pollack with Allan Ides
Founder, My Daily Constitution, Professor of Law and Christopher N. May Chair, Loyola Law School Los Angeles

The War Powers Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11) and the U.S. Constitution Toda
The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

September 8, 2009
"We Live in Public"
Ondi Timoner, Director

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

September 10, 2009
Linda Pollack with Jeffrey Kaye
Founder, My Daily Constitution

Do U.S. Constitutional Rights Extend to Non Citizens?
The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

September 15, 2009
"USA vs. AL-ARIAN"
Line Halvorsen, Director

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

September 17, 2009
Aaron Gach
Center for Tactical Magic

Revolutionary Breakthroughs in Extra-Sensory Perception
Hampton Room, Malott Commons

September 22, 2009
"The Order of Myths"
Margaret Brown, Director

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

September 24, 2009
Linda Pollack with Mark Golub
Founder, My Daily Constitution

The Color-blind Constitution
The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

September 24, 2009
Uzma Z. Rivzi
Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Pratt Institute

"Liberty and Justice for All (except you): Art, Community Activism, and Immigrant Politics"
Garrison Theater, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

October 1, 2009
Linda Pollack with Kim Pearson
Founder, My Daily Constitution

Liberty, Equality, and LGBT Rights
The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

October 4, 2009
Trevor Paglen
Artist

Blank Spots on the Map
Lyman Hall, Pomona College

October 6, 2009
"God Willing" (fine cut)
Evangeline Griego, Director

Garrison Theater, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

October 8, 2009
Linda Pollack with Jessica Levinson
Founder, My Daily Constitution; Director of Political Reform, Center for Governmental Studies

Whose First Amendment?: Reclaiming the Public Interest in Our Media
The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

October 13, 2009
"Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech"
Liz Garbus, Director

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

October 23, 2009
Dana Priest
Investigative Reporter, Washington Post

The Perils of Secrecy: From Secret Prisons to Walter Reed
Balch Auditorium

October 26, 2009
Darius Rejali
Department of Political Science, Reed College

The Secret Histories of Modern Torture
Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

October 27, 2009
"The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court"
Pamela Yates, Director

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

October 29, 2009
Jennifer Friedlander
Edgar E. and Elizabeth S. Pankey Professor of Media Studies, Pomona College

Hampton Room, Malott Commons

November 3, 2009
"New World Order"
Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel, Directors

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

November 4, 2009
Jodi Dean
Department of Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center

November 10, 2009
"Secrecy"
Peter Galison and Robb Moss, Directors

Boone Recital Hall, Scripps College Performing Arts Center