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Vanderbilt Political Scientist to Speak on 2012 Election

(Posted March 19, 2012)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Marc Hetherington, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, will talk at Juniata College about how authoritarianism -- how forcefully arguments are made and if the opinion makers are in positions of authority -- has caused an increasing polarization in politics in a lecture at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 22, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Hetherington's lecture, "Personality, Polarization and the 2012 Election," will detail how politics are becoming increasingly polarized not only among politicians, but also among ordinary Americans.

Hetherington's lecture, "Personality, Polarization and the 2012 Election," will detail how politics are becoming increasingly polarized not only among politicians, but also among ordinary Americans. He argues that the post provocative issues in politics -- race, gay marriage, illegal immigration and use of force in security matters -- become a more polarizing influence on voters if the person holding those opinions are in positions of authority.

Hetherington's lecture is based on his 2009 book, with Jonathan Weiler, "Authoritarianism in America." Hetherington also is the author of "Why Trust Matters: Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism" (2005), and the 11th edition of "Parties, Politics and Public Policy in America" (2010), with co-author Bruce Larson.

He earned a bachelor's degree in 1990 in political science from the University of Pittsburgh. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in political science in 1997 from the University of Texas, Austin.

Hetherington started his academic career as a lecturer at the University of Virginia from 1997 to 1998. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton University's Center for the Study of Democratic Politics from 2001 to 2002. He was an assistant professor at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, from 1998 to 2004. He joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2004.

He has published numerous articles in such academic journals as the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly and the Journal of Politics.

He received the 2007 Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He also received the 2004 Emerging Scholar Award from the Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior section of the American Political Science Association.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.