Edmund Burke and Democracy


Join us for a conversation with Yuval Levin, the Director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, for a conversation about the thought of Edmund Burke. Levin, the author of The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, will situate Burke’s thought in the broader context of the late eighteenth century and reflect on its enduring philosophical and political influence. 

The conversation will be moderated by Jennifer Tsien, Associate Professor of French at UVA and author of The Bad Taste of Others: Judging Literary Value in Eighteenth Century France. 



Yuval Levin is the director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He also holds the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Public Policy. The founding and current editor of National Affairs, he is also a senior editor of The New Atlantis and a contributing editor to National Review.

Dr. Levin and scholars in the Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies research division study the foundations of self-government and the future of law, regulation, and constitutionalism. They also explore the state of American social, political, and civic life, while focusing on the preconditions necessary for family, community, and country to flourish.

Dr. Levin served as a member of the White House domestic policy staff under President George W. Bush. He was also executive director of the President’s Council on Bioethics and a congressional staffer at the member, committee, and leadership levels.

In addition to being interviewed frequently on radio and television, Dr. Levin has published essays and articles in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Commentary. He is the author of several books on political theory and public policy, most recently “A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream” (Basic Books).

He holds an MA and PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.


Professor Jennifer Tsien's primary area of research is the Enlightenment, especially Voltaire. In her first book, Voltaire and the Temple of Bad Taste, she focused on Voltaire's use of satire to enforce his rules of good writing, specifically in his comic epic about Joan of Arc, La Pucelle d'Orléans. In her second book, The Bad Taste of Others, she expanded her inquiry into French eighteenth-century ideas about good and bad literary taste. Currently, she is writing a book about colonial Louisiana (1710-1803) and the ways in which people protested imperial policies, for example through satirical songs, sentimental speeches, and fictionalized histories. She is generally interested in research questions involving the satirical tradition, French aesthetics, and the history of New Orleans.