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What’s Responsible for the Upheaval in American Politics?

On October 29, the Kluge Center released a conversation with Theda Skocpol and Caroline Tervo in which they talked about their new book, “Upending American Politics.” These two scholars provide considerable insight into developments in American party politics in recent years – and even shed some light on this year’s election results.

Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University and a member of the Kluge Center Scholars Council, and Tervo, a research coordinator in the Harvard Government Department, spoke with the Kluge Center’s Dan Turello and Janna Deitz about the book.

According to Skocpol, “Upending American Politics” focuses on organizations and networks of citizens and professional advocates as agents of change in a way that separates it from other volumes on similar topics. Tervo emphasized the book’s inclusion of research from differing perspectives and case studies, including work by both established and younger scholars.

Skocpol argued that money in politics, though it is important, is not always a determining factor in political success. She pointed to moderate and conservative areas where Hillary Clinton did not campaign in 2016, and where the Trump campaign had alliances with gun rights organizations and Christian organizations that allowed him to overcome Clinton’s fundraising advantage.

Tervo talked about the sometimes-surprising alliances between elite political organizations that are able to work with lawmakers on one side, and grassroots organizations that can turn individuals out to rallies and protests on the other. These groups may have very different objectives from one another, Skocpol said, but the “strange bedfellow” coalitions they create together often have a great deal of clout and have successfully promoted policies that are not generally very popular among Americans.

Watch the full event here to learn more.


The 20th Century Transformation of the Dalit Movement in India

Michael Collins is a 2020 Kluge Fellow from the University of Gottingen. Collins is working on a project titled “From Boycotts to Ballots: Democracy and Social Minorities in Modern India.” Boris Granovskiy, who recently detailed at the Kluge Center, interviewed Collins on his work. Boris Granovskiy (BG): Can you share a brief history of Dalit […]

Covid-19 and the Racial Justice Movement: An Interview with Ruth Faden

Library of Congress Scholars Council member Ruth Faden is the founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Dr. Faden’s scholarship focuses on justice theory and its power to identify and find ways to mitigate structural injustices in public policy and social life. Currently, her work is concentrated almost exclusively on structural injustice and […]

Kluge Prize Recipient Danielle Allen Takes on the Hard Questions on Democracy and Public Life in Virtual Event Open to the Public

Join the John W. Kluge Center for a conversation with the new Kluge Prize recipient Danielle Allen, covering some of the difficult questions in public life today. The Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity is given biennially to a person whose career reflects the notion that ideas matter, that thought must inform public […]

Carl Elliott Answers Five Questions About COVID-19 and the Ethics of Medical Research

Carl Elliott is Professor in the Center for Bioethics and the Department of Pediatrics, and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He is the recipient of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Elliott is the […]

Applications Now Open for New Fellowship in Congressional Policymaking

Applications are now open for the Library of Congress Fellowship in Congressional Policymaking. Negotiation is vital to public policymaking in the U.S. Congress. In fact, legislative productivity is dependent on effective legislative negotiations, given the complexities of our system of separated branches with a bicameral legislature. In an effort to support scholarship in this area, […]

The Entanglement of Power, Security, and Energy Supply – Part Two

I talked with Kluge Fellow Gaetano Di Tommaso about his research project, “Petro-Modernity and Statecraft: The U.S. Energy-National Security Nexus Reconsidered (1890s-1920s).” Before coming to the Kluge Center, Tano, as we call him here, was a Teaching Fellow at Sciences Po-Paris (Reims campus), in France. This is part two of the two-part interview. Click here for part one. […]

Find Anything Cool at the Library?

One of the goals of the Kluge Center is to make the Library of Congress accessible to researchers, who can investigate and highlight the treasures it holds. In that spirit, I asked our scholars “Have you found anything cool at the Library recently?” These are their responses. Susan Schneider, Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress […]

The Entanglement of Power, Security, and Energy Supply

I talked with Kluge Fellow Gaetano Di Tommaso about his research project, “Petro-Modernity and Statecraft: The U.S. Energy-National Security Nexus Reconsidered (1890s-1920s).” Before coming to the Kluge Center, Tano, as we call him here, was a Teaching Fellow at Sciences Po-Paris (Reims campus), in France. Giselle: How did you become interested in U.S. history and […]