University of Rochester

EVENT: Themes of Race, Political Representation Bring Scholars to Conference Organized by Center for the Study of African-American Politics

April 18, 2003

A roundtable discussion with Congressional scholar and Distinguished University Professor Richard F. Fenno, Jr., will open a conference devoted to new perspectives on the study of race and political representation May 2 to 4 at the University of Rochester.

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of African-American Politics, the discussion of Fenno's latest book, Going Home: Black Representatives and Their Constituents, gathers experts on African-American politicians to delve into the book's detailed portraits and analyses. The discussion begins at 3 p.m. Friday, May 2, in the Great Hall of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus. The event is free and open to the pubic.

One of the nation's most respected scholars of Congress, Fenno is William J. Kenan Professor of Political Science at Rochester. He has written more than a dozen books about Congress and the American system of government.

Three panelists who have researched and lectured on topics central to power in the black community, its political representatives, and other aspects of African-American politicians will join him. David T. Canon, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is the author of Race, Redistricting, and Representation (University of Chicago Press, 1999) and the winner of the Richard Fenno Award given annually for the best book on legislative politics by the American Political Science Association.

Known for her highly acclaimed book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress, Carol M. Swain is professor of law and of political science at Vanderbilt University. Black Faces, Black Interests (Harvard University Press, 1994) received the Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book of the year published in the United States on government, politics, or international affairs.

William E. Nelson, professor of political science and research professor of African-American and African Studies at Ohio State University, has focused his research and teaching on black politics and public policy, among other specialties. He is the author of Black Atlantic Politics: Dilemmas of Political Empowerment in Boston and Liverpool (State University of New York Press, 2000), which received the Best Book Award by the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. He has served as president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, president of the African Heritage Studies Association, and has held leadership roles in other national groups.

Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, assistant professor of political science, will be moderator of the discussion. This spring's conference has been organized by Sinclair-Chapman and Fredrick C. Harris, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of African-American Politics at the University of Rochester.

The center takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of African-American issues. It is one of a few university-affiliated centers for research in African-American politics and society in the United States. Within the College, the center is associated with the Department of Political Science and the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies.

After the opening session, the conference will move to Hutchison House on East Avenue on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, for presentations of academic papers by political scientists from around the country. Presenters will include William Bianco, associate professor of political science, Pennsylvania State University; Suzanne Dovi, assistant professor of political science, University of Arizona; Christian Grose, assistant professor of political science, Lawrence University; Kerry Haynie, associate professor of political science and interim director of the Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy, Rutgers University; Vincent Hutchings, associate professor of political science, University of Michigan.

Other presentations will be made by Mingus Mapps, doctoral student at Cornell University and fellow of the Taubman Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Keesha Middlemass, assistant professor of political science, University of Kansas; Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, assistant professor of political science, University of Rochester; Wendy Smooth, assistant professor of political science, University of Nebraska; Katherine Tate, professor and chair, Department of Politics and Society, University of California at Irvine; and Carl Walton, assistant professor of political science, Morris Brown College.

Fenno's Going Home (University of Chicago Press, 2003) examines the careers of four black representatives-Louis Stokes, Barbara Jordan, Chaka Fattah, and Stephanie Tubbs Jones-from their home districts to the U.S. Capitol. He finds that while these politicians had different visions of how they should represent their districts, they shared crucial organizational and symbolic connections to the people they represented.




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