After the Backlash

Reconsidering the Ethics, Politics and Law of Border Migration

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 9:00am to Sat, 05/11/2019 - 5:00pm
300 Wallace Hall
Event Category: 
Co-sponsored Event

This is the concluding conference (Session XII) of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series: "Global Migration: The Humanities and Social Sciences in Dialogue"

Thursday, May 9

4:30 PM: Friend Center 101

Keynote Address:  Ethics and Migration: After the Backlash

How, if at all, should we rethink migration policy in light of the backlash against migrants in the US and Europe?  Has the backlash revealed genuine but neglected concerns?  Can civic nationalist concerns -- special obligations toward fellow citizens, special concern with shared history and culture -- be reconciled with cosmopolitan duties to human beings in dire need outside our borders? 

Keynote Presenters:
Joseph Carens, Professor, University of Toronto
Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study

Reception to follow.

Friday, May 10 --Saturday, May 11, 2019 (All Day)

Panel Presentations

Wallace 300

Open to all Faculty, Students, Academic Visitors, and other University and College Affiliates

Friday, May 10, 2019

Breakfast available from 8:30 AM


9:00 AM - 9:15 AM | Welcome and opening remarks of Anna Stilz and Stephen Macedo            

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM | Session 1: Rafaela Dancygier and Justin Gest

Rafaela Dancygier | Immigration and Leftist Dilemmas

Justin Gest | Demographic Change and Backlash: A Comparative Historical Analysis

- Coffee Break -

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM | Session 2: Peter Skerry and Liav Orgad

Peter Skerry | Taking Backlash Seriously: the Revolt against Neoliberal and Multicultural Elites

Liav Orgad | The Ethics of Majority Rights (OR “How to Deal With Declining Majorities?”)

- Lunch -

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM | Session 3: Leah Boustan and Paul Frymer

Leah Boustan | Lessons from Closing the Border in the 1920s

Paul Frymer | Deportation as Public Policy

- Coffee Break -

3:15 PM - 5:30 PM | Session 4: Kieran Oberman, Anna Stilz, William Galston

Kieran Oberman | Backlash or the Backlash Argument: Which Should We Fear the Most?

Anna Stilz | Mitigating Conflicts of Interest in Migration

William Galston | Rethinking US Immigration Policy after the Backlash                                     


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Breakfast available from 8:45 AM

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM | Panel 5: Javier Hidalgo and Chandran Kukathas

Javier Hidalgo | The Bias Argument against Immigration Restrictions

Chandran Kukathas | Immigration and Freedom

- Break -

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM | Panel 6: Michael Blake and Stephen Macedo

Michael Blake | Migration in a Time of Darkness: Liberal Justice, Borders, and the Practice of Philosophy

Stephen Macedo | Immigration, Populism, and Premature Cosmopolitanism

- Lunch and Close -



RSVP (by May 1): here, or via email to

Please kindly indicate whether you plan to attend breakfasts and lunches, and include any dietary restrictions with your RSVP.

Presented by the University Center for Human Values, the Program in Law and Public Affairs, the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar on Migration in the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions