In the Spotlight

Ben Railton
Associate Professor of English Studies and Coordinator of American Studies, Fitchburg State University

From the time of the nation’s founding, America has been home to diverse peoples and cultures – including Moroccans, Filipinos, and Chinese along with Native Americans, Africans, and others. Bigotry, nativism, and xenophobia have long vied with mutual acceptance.

Ashley M. Howard
Assistant Professor of African American History, Loyola University New Orleans

What do the continuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri have in common with the 1960s uprisings in many U.S. cities? Howard looks to history to explore the roots of racial conflicts – and to suggest possible solutions.

The 2014 elections brought a wipeout for Democrats and a romp for Republicans. Turnout was low, especially among Democratic constituencies, at a time when most Americans are disgruntled with the President and Congress and think the nation is on the wrong track. SSN members explore what happened and why – and look ahead to the consequences of this election for government and politics.

Jeffrey M. Berry
John Richard Skuse Professor of Political Science, Tufts University
Sarah Sobieraj
Associate Professor of Sociology, Tufts University

Mockery, fear, and personal attacks dominate blogs, television, and radio talk shows – especially on the right – making politics confusing and unappealing to most Americans.

Craig Volden
Professor of Public Policy and Politics, University of Virginia
Alan E. Wiseman
Associate Professor of Political Science and Law, Vanderbilt University

Two SSN scholars have used decades of data to rank the legislative prowess of U.S. Representatives, finding that persistence and a willingness to reach across the aisle pay off.

Congress has begun the process of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act of 1965 amid intensifying public debates over college affordability and the effectiveness of federal student aid programs. As lawmakers look for policy solutions to today’s challenges, SSN scholars explain the history, purpose, and challenges facing the law – and suggest possible reforms.

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