International Relations Lecture Series

Olga Bezhanova

12 April, 2022

The Waxing & Waning of Democracy Around the World

About The Topic

After the fall of the USSR in 1991 and the subsequent efforts of countries in Eastern Europe and the Global South to establish democratic regimes, there was a widespread feeling that humanity had achieved what Francis Fukuyama termed “the end of history” and accepted the primacy of representative democracy over other types of political systems. Since then, however, we have seen the initial enthusiasm for democracy weaken in Latin America and countries of Central and Eastern Europe. At the same time, well-established democracies of the West have experienced a series of crises that cast doubt over their capacity to preserve fully democratic systems of government. What is the future of democracy? Will it renew itself in the coming years or are we to prepare for continued weakening of democratic institutions everywhere? 

About the Speaker

Olga Bezhanova is an Associate Professor of Spanish Literature and Chair of the Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literature at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Bezhanova’s scholarly articles appeared in journals in the US, Spain, Canada, Germany, UK, and Costa Rica. Her book Growing Up in an Inhospitable World: Female Bildungsroman in Spain was awarded the Victoria Urbano Prize for the Best Critical Monograph. Dr. Bezhanova’s second book titled Literature of Crisis: Spain’s Engagement with Liquid Capital was awarded the Best Book Prize of 2019 by the Association of Canadian Hispanists. In 2019 Dr. Bezhanova was awarded the Panteleimon Kulish Medal by the Literature, Art and Communications Academy of Ukraine. 

Olga Bezhanova