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Opening Exhibition Conversation: We the People

Great Hall
This event has passed
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be closed Monday, May 13, to prepare for the visit of Antiques Roadshow. We will return to normal hours of operation Wednesday, May 15.
Crystal Bridges Great Hall

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Prof. Anita Allen will be unable to join this event. 

Celebrate our new, free exhibition We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy with an opening discussion exploring the importance of the US Constitution and free speech to democracy.

Join Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center; Anita L. Allen, Henry R. Silverman professor of law and professor of philosophy at University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law; and Eric Slauter, Deputy Dean of the Humanities at the University of Chicago, for a conversation centered around the text and impact of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We’ll explore the relationship between the two documents, dive deep into the First Amendment, and see why the freedom of conscience and expression is so important to democracy.


Free, tickets required. Reserve your spot online or with Guest Services at (479) 657-2335.

Or, join us virtually and watch the livestream on July 28.



About the Speakers

Jeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey Rosen is the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit whose mission is to increase awareness and understanding of the US Constitution. Located steps from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Center engages millions of citizens as an interactive museum, national town hall, and provider of nonpartisan resources for civic education. Rosen hosts the Center’s weekly We the People podcast, which brings together liberal and conservative voices for constitutional debate and teaches Constitution 101 classes for learners of all ages. These educational resources are hosted on the Center’s acclaimed Interactive Constitution, which has received more than 55 million hits since launching in 2015. Rosen is also a professor at The George Washington University Law School and a contributing editor of The Atlantic. He was previously the legal affairs editor of The New Republic and a staff writer for The New Yorker. Rosen is the author of six books including, most recently, Conversations with RBG: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law. His other books include biographies of William Howard Taft and Louis Brandeis. Rosen is a graduate of Harvard College; Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and Yale Law School.


Headshot of Jeffery Rosen

Anita L. Allen

Anita L. Allen is the Henry R. Silverman professor of law and professor of philosophy. A graduate of Harvard Law School with a PhD from the University of Michigan in Philosophy, Allen is internationally renowned as an expert on philosophical dimensions of privacy and data protection law, ethics, bioethics, legal philosophy, women’s rights, and diversity in higher education. She was Penn’s Vice Provost for Faculty from 2013–2020 and chaired the Provost’s Arts Advisory Council.

Headshot of Prof. Anita Allen

Allen is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Law Institute, the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018–19 she served as President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association. From 2010 to 2017, Allen served on President Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Allen has served on the faculty of the School of Criticism and Theory, for which she is an advisor. She served a two-year term as an Associate of the Johns Hopkins Humanities Center, 2016–2018. She has been a visiting professor at Tel Aviv University, Waseda University, Villanova University, Harvard Law, and Yale Law, and a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton. She will visit the Government School at Oxford University in 2022, Fordham Law School in 2023, and Oxford’s University College as the Hart Fellow in 2024, when she will also deliver the H.L.A. Hart Memorial Lecture. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Tilburg University (Netherlands) in 2019 and from Wooster College in 2021. Allen was awarded the 2021 Philip L. Quinn Prize for service to philosophy and philosophers by the American Philosophical Association, the 2022 Founder’s Award by the Hastings Center for service to bioethics, and the 2022 Privacy Award of the Berkeley Law and Technology Center for groundbreaking contributions to privacy and data protection law.

A prolific scholar, Allen has published over a hundred and twenty articles and chapters, and her books include Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide (Oxford, 2011); Privacy Law and Society (Thomson/West, 2017); The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the 21st Century Moral Landscape (Miramax/Hyperion, 2004); Why Privacy Isn’t Everything: Feminist Reflections on Personal Accountability (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), and Uneasy Access: Privacy of Women in a Free Society (1988). Allen has given lectures all over the world, been interviewed widely, and has appeared on television, radio, and in major media.

She currently serves on the Board of the National Constitution Center, The Future of Privacy Forum, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, whose Lifetime Achievement Award she has received and whose board she has chaired. Allen has served on numerous other boards, editorial boards, and executive committees including the Pennsylvania Board of Continuing Judicial Education, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, the Association of American Law Schools, the Maternity Care Coalition, the Women’s Medical Fund, and the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children. Professor Allen is a member of the Pennsylvania and New York bars and formerly taught at Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Pittsburgh Law School, after practicing briefly at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and teaching philosophy at Carnegie-Mellon University.

At Penn, Allen is a faculty affiliate of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, the Africana Studies Department, the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, the Center for Innovation, Technology and Competition, and the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences.


Eric Slauter

Eric Slauter is Deputy Dean of the Humanities and the College at the University of Chicago, where he is an associate professor in the Department of English, an associate faculty member in the Divinity School, and serves as the founding director of the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture. A specialist in early American cultural, intellectual, and legal history, Slauter earned a PhD at Stanford University and has held research fellowships at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Huntington Library, and the Newberry Library. He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and an elected fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He has chaired the faculty board for the University of Chicago Press and served as a visiting editor at the William and Mary Quarterly, the leading journal of early American history. Slauter is the author of The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution and a series of essays on the language of rights in eighteenth-century America. He is currently completing a book about the origins, meanings, and afterlives of the Declaration of Independence.


Headshot of professor Eric Slauter

Lectures & Talks sponsored by

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We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy is sponsored by Kenneth C. Griffin.


Learning and engagement programming for We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy is sponsored by

Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates, & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. | Johnny and Jeanie Morris, Bass Pro Shops | Alturas Foundation | Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc. | Sotheby’s | Bob and Becky Alexander | Marybeth and Micky Mayfield | Lamar and Shari Steiger | Jeff and Sarah Teague / Citizens Bank | Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities | Avis and Bill Bailey | Scarlett and Neff Basore | June Carter Family | Terri and Chuck Erwin | Jackye and Curtis Finch | The Harrison and Rhonda French Family | Jim and Susan von Gremp | Laurice Hachem | Shannon and Charles Holley | Valorie and Randy Lawson / Lawco Energy Group | Donna and Mack McLarty | Steve and Susan Nelson | Neal and Gina Pendergraft | Helen Porter | JT and Imelda Rose | Lee and Linda Scott | Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Catherine and Michael Mayton, Trustees | William Reese Company