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Elections: The Before and The After

October 15, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - November 5, 2020 @ 8:00 pm


Elections: The Before and The After

Four Thursdays, October 15 and 29, and November 5, 6:30–8:00 P.M., and October 22, 5:00–6:30 (Please note changed time for October 22)

October 15: Media and Political Campaigns in the Digital Age
Today’s political candidates face myriad challenges in getting their messages out, from bypassing traditional news media gatekeepers to dealing with misinformation and cyberattacks. Professor Lindita Camaj will discuss how candidates and media figures construct and transmit political messages, including how news, misinformation campaigns, advertising, and entertainment media are shaping political perceptions, emotions, and behaviors in the 2020 presidential elections.

Lindita Camaj is an associate professor at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston. She researches individual and societal factors that determine the impact of mass media on how we perceive and engage with the political world. Her published work has appeared in journals focusing on mass media, technology, politics, international communication, and journalism.

October 22: Analyzing the Voters
What causes people to vote in the way they do? What drives their choices? Why do some people decide not to vote at all? Based on her extensive research, Professor Lyn Ragsdale will illuminate the characteristics of American voters as we approach this hard-fought and consequential election.

Lyn Ragsdale is the Radoslav A. Tsanoff Professor of Public Affairs and professor of political science at Rice University. She has written five books and numerous articles on the American presidency and electoral behavior. Her most recent book, The American Nonvoter, was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

October 29: The U.S. Congressional Landscape
With the election fast approaching, Professor Sean Theriault will address these key questions: How will the presidential race affect congressional races? Who’s up and who’s down? Who’s likely to win and who will probably go down in defeat? What will the results mean for the nation’s future?

Sean Theriault, a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has received numerous teaching awards and is the author of several books on congressional decision making.

November 5: The Texas Redistricting Battle
Voters have spoken, new census numbers are coming, and battles over redistricting will soon begin. Texas will probably add two or three new congressional districts, so the old maps will need to be substantially modified. A continuing shift of population toward the “big four” urban areas of Texas will drive further changes. Will the state’s recent history of aggressive partisan gerrymandering continue in 2021, or will more bi-partisan or non-partisan maps be drawn? Professor Richard Murray will discuss the future of Texas politics.

Richard Murray is the Bob Lanier Professor of Public Policy at the University of Houston. He has worked on redistricting since 1971, when he served as an expert witness for a group of black plaintiffs challenging the Texas State Senate plan. He knows the ins and outs of both drawing redistricting plans and attacking them and can provide a candid look at the process from both sides.


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October 15, 2020 @ 6:30 pm
November 5, 2020 @ 8:00 pm
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event links will be mailed to attendees two days in advance. Please note: Zoom sessions will be recorded for our archives and made available to course registrants for a limited time after the talk. By registering, you are understood to be giving your permission to be recorded.