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22nd October, 2018

Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual by Dr Daniel Bessner

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Event Details

22nd October, 2018
17:30 - 19:00
College Building
City, University of London
Northampton Square

Speaker: Dr Daniel Bessner

Panel: Dr Daniel Bessner will discuss his new book on Hans Speier with Prof Inderjeet Parmar and Dr Or Rosenboim, Dept of International Politics, City, University of London.

Daniel Bessner is the Anne H. H. and Kenneth B. Pyle Assistant Professor in American Foreign Policy in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.


One of the major institutional innovations in U.S. foreign policymaking since 1945 has been the rise of a network of think tanks and academic centers connected to government decision-makers termed the “military-intellectual complex.” This talk explores the intellectual trajectory of Hans Speier, the founding head of the RAND Corporation’s Social Science Division, in order to explore why intellectuals joined and built the national security state. It argues that the interwar crisis of European democracy compelled many social scientists to conclude that the public could not be trusted to make correct political decisions. Intellectuals like Speier therefore worked to establish institutions like RAND, which stood outside the traditional democratic process and enabled scholars to offer advice to decision-makers without paying attention to public opinion.

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