October 09, 2009

Leading political scientist to speak on campus

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Nationally known American political and media scholar Thomas E. Patterson will speak next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Patterson presents, “The Small Minded: Politics in the New Information Age,” at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 14, in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium. Admission is free, and the public is welcome to attend.

Patterson is the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and also teaches at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is sponsoring Patterson’s visit.

Patterson specializes in voter behavior, the media, and its relationship to politics, institute Director David Yepsen said.

“Tom is one of the nation’s leading political scientists and a respected scholar,” Yepsen said. “I hope people will use his visit as an opportunity to hear from one of the nation’s best.”

According to the institute, Patterson will explore the impact that new information technology has on citizens, particularly youths, how people connect to public affairs today, and positive and negative outcomes of those changes.

Yepsen said Patterson will talk about what happened in last fall’s presidential election, and changes in the American electorate. He will also look at the media’s performance.

Patterson delivered the 2000 Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture at SIUC.

Patterson is the author of several books, including his 2003 book, “The Vanishing Voter,” which studied and analyzed reasons behind plummeting voter participation. Patterson’s 1994 book on the media’s political role, “Out of Order,” earned the American Political Science Association’s Graber Award as the best book of the decade in political communication, according to Patterson’s biography.

More information is available at paulsimoninstitute.org, or calling 618/453-4009.