John Shattuck and Sushma Raman at Harvard Book Store


Holding Together:
The Hijacking of Rights in America
and How to Reclaim Them for Everyone

moderated by MATHIAS RISSE


June 29, 2022
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes JOHN SHATTUCK and SUSHMA RAMAN—senior fellow and executive director at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, respectively—for a discussion of their co-authored book Holding Together: The Hijacking of Rights in America and How to Reclaim Them for Everyone. Their conversation will be moderated by their co-author and director of the Carr Center MATHIAS RISSE.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to re-introduce in-person programming this season. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About Holding Together

An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that rights are essential to their freedom, and that rights today are severely threatened. The promise of rights has been reimagined at pivotal moments in American history—from the American Revolution to the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. Can today become another time of transformation?

Holding Together is about the promise of rights as a source of American identity, the struggle to realize rights by countless Americans to whom the promise has been denied or not fulfilled, the hijacking of rights by politicians who seek power by dividing and polarizing, and the way forward in which rights can bring Americans together instead of tearing them apart.

Drawing on a series of town hall meetings with representative groups of citizens across the country discussing their concerns over rights, new national opinion polls from all demographic groups and political perspectives conducted in 2020 and 2021, and extensive research, Holding Together is a road map for an American rights revival.

John Shattuck, Sushma Raman, and Mathias Risse present a comprehensive account of the current state of rights in the United States—and concrete recommendations to policy makers and citizens on how to reclaim them.

Praise for Holding Together

“There is no better book—a blueprint really—to guide us into and past the potentially fractious decade ahead.” —Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land, a finalist for the National Book Award

“This is an indispensable study, more timely than ever, carefully documenting threats to our rights and eloquent in arguing for measures needed to come to their defense.” —Sissela Bok, philosopher, ethicist, and author of Lying

“An immensely valuable and engaging book. . . . No matter what your views are, you will come away much wiser about the challenges facing all who seek to build a good society.” —E.J. Dionne Jr., author of Our Divided Political Heart and co-author of 100% Democracy

John Shattuck
John Shattuck

John Shattuck

John Shattuck is a senior fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University and Professor of Practice at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; former Washington director of the American Civil Liberties Union; and author of Freedom on Fire: Human Rights Wars and America’s Response.

Photo Credit: Daniel Vegel

Mathias Risse
Mathias Risse

Mathias Risse

Mathias Risse is the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs, and Philosophy and the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. His work primarily addresses questions of global justice ranging from human rights, inequality, taxation, trade and immigration to climate change, obligations to future generations and the future of technology, especially also the impact of artificial intelligence on a range of normative issues. Risse is the author of On Global Justice and Global Political Philosophy, as well as On Trade Justice: A Philosophical Plea for a New Global Deal, with Gabriel Wollner.

Sushma Raman
Sushma Raman

Sushma Raman

Sushma Raman is the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University and former program officer for the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundation. She is the co-author (with Bill Schulz) of The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights.

Photo Credit: Laila Clarke

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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