IGS: Starting Off a New Year

photo of Jack Citrin (photo: Tim Porter)
photo: Tim Porter
January 21, 2016

By Jack Citrin

As the new semester gets underway, I wanted to provide an update about the programs and events at IGS. We’re looking forward to a busy and exciting spring semester, with a focus on American politics and the 2016 election.

Our public programming will kick off on Thursday, Feb. 4, when Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne speaks about his new book, Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond. E.J. has long been a friend to the Institute, and I know that his talk will include his typical display of thoughtful insight.

That will be only the first in a series of upcoming events on the 2016 election and American politics generally. Later this year we’ll hear from UC-Irvine law professor Rick Hasen, author of Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections, and also from Princeton political scientist Christopher Achen, author with Larry Bartels of Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Other election-related events include our annual panel on the presidency, the annual Travers Conference (which we cosponsor with the Department of Political Science) on this year’s election, and an important academic conference on whether the American constitutional system can survive modern politics. Next fall, when the election season will be at a fevered pitch, we’ll hold other similar events, including our traditional debate-watching parties, election-night festivities, and post-election analysis. Watch this website for updated information on these and other events.

But the election isn’t the only thing of interest to IGS. Our seminars will continue to examine groundbreaking research in American politics; American political history; issues surrounding race, ethnicity, and immigration; and national security. We’ll keep publishing important research. We’re planning upcoming issues of our California Journal of Politics and Policy, and forthcoming book projects from our Berkeley Public Policy Press include a history of the California Supreme Court, a recap of the 2016 election, and the memoir of one of the state’s leading officeholders. Look elsewhere on this website and you’ll also find more information on the IGS Poll, an important survey examining California political attitudes; a new working paper on the ability of the U.S. Supreme Court to influence public opinion; and a major national prize recognizing two of our graduate students for uncovering a case of suspected academic fraud. Our focus on research will continue unabated.

Our student programs are strong and growing. On February 19, we’ll hold a reception to recognize students – both graduate and undergraduate – who have received our Synar and Percy research awards. This year we expanded our Cal-in-Sacramento summer fellowship program to include 35 Berkeley students who will work in our state’s capital. And we’re taking applications now for our annual Gardner Fellowships and our Matsui Center Local Government Fellowships. You can read about their experiences on our new blog, IGS in the World.

Last, our affiliated faculty members and graduate students are involved in the ongoing public debate, lending a bit of academic thoughtfulness and analysis to the daily news cycle. Already in 2016, IGSer’s in the news include Tom Mann on the State of the Union address, John Yoo on the Obama Presidency, and Lisa García Bedolla on U.S.-Cuban relations.

All of these activities are reflected in the newly designed website you’re reading now, which we believe will play a stronger and more exciting role in keeping people informed about IGS. Every new year brings new opportunities, and I am looking forward to an exciting 2016 at IGS.

Jack Citrin is Director of IGS.