Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies

Winter 2022 Speaker Series: Avia Pasternak

Event Details:

  • Thursday, January 20, 2022
  • 2:30 - 4:00 PM
  • Zoom 

Speaker: Dr. Avia Pasternak (University College London)

Biography: Avia  Pasternak is an Associate Professor in Political Theory at the Department of Political Science, University College London. Currently, her work concentrates on collective responsibility in democracies, on the duties of citizens in unjust democracies and on the permissibility of violent protest.

Title of Talk: Responsible Citizens Irresponsible States: Should Citizens Pay for their State’s Wrongdoings? A Book Talk

Abstract: Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible States develops a fresh justification for citizens' duties to share the burden of their state's wrongdoings. This justification revolves around citizens' participation in their state: drawing on recent debates in the philosophy of collective action, Avia Pasternak shows that citizens are acting together in their state and that their state policies are the product of this collective action. Given this participation, citizens ought to share the burden of remedying harmful wrongs their state policies bring about. However, she also argues that not all citizens in all states are participating in their state. In many authoritarian states, citizens' participation in the state is highly restricted or coerced. Here, ordinary citizens do not share responsibility for their state policies and should not be forced to pay for them. These conclusions carry significant real-world implications for the way domestic international law holds various types of states, and their citizens, responsible for their wrongdoings.

Please direct any questions about the event to This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy.