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Guest Thinkers

Talks at AU This Week: Politics of Environmental Sacrifice; Blog Impact on Politics

For Washington, DC area readers, talks this Thursday evening and Friday afternoon may be of interest. Details below.  For directions and a map of American University, go here.

Panel on “The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice”

Thursday, Sept. 30

5:00 – 6:30pm

A reception and book signing will follow from 6:30 – 8:00pm

School of International Service Building

Founder’s Room, Terrace Level

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington DC 20016


Erik Assadourian, Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute

Leslie Fields, National Environmental Justice Director, Sierra Club

John Meyer, Department of Politics, Humboldt State University, (Co-Editor)

Matthew Nisbet, School of Communication, American University

Paul Wapner, School of International Service, American University

Moderator: Michael Maniates, Dept. of Political Science, Allegheny College, (Co-Editor)

If the current impasse over energy and environmental policy teaches us anything, it should be that the election of sympathetic leaders is insufficient to tackle environmental challenges meaningfully. Politicians appear stymied by the fear that substantive action will be viewed as harmful to their constituents, especially during economic hard times. 

This panel will explore new strategies and ways of thinking about environmental challenges featured in Michael Maniates and John Meyer’s new MIT Press book The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice.

Can this fear be successfully countered by optimistic narratives about bold technological innovations? Must environmentalists also confront the fear of ‘sacrifice’ that is so often the basis for oppositional attacks?

Media & Communication Research Group Seminar Series

Inside the Monkey Cage:

The Impact of Blogs on Politics and Polarization

Henry Farrell & John Sides

Dept. of Political Science

George Washington University

Friday, Oct. 1

12 noon- 1:115pm

Butler Boardroom

Located on 6th floor of Butler, connected to Mary Graydon Center

In this presentation, Farrell and Sides consider how blogs and related forms of electronic communication have changed from a neglected oddity to a significant topic of social science research. This talk will provide an overview of current research, focusing on debates over how blogs and other forms of electronic communication reshape patterns of public debate and in particular whether they have significant consequences for political polarization.

Henry Farrell, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Political Science and John Sides, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University.  They are the authors of numerous peer-reviewed research articles and scholarly book chapters in the areas of international affairs, public opinion, and mobilization respectively.  They also contribute to the popular political science blogs “The Monkey Cage” and “Crooked Timber.”


The Media & Communication Research Group (MCRG) in the School of Communication is a collaborative network of American University faculty and students studying the influence of media and communication on public life, civil society, and social problems. MCRG also serves as a public forum for discussion and debate and as the host for a speaker and seminar series.


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