Political Polarization and Ideas for Restoring Civility to Government in 2012

Event Date: Tuesday October 25, 2011
Time: 4:00PM to 6:00PM
Location: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, 1737 Cambridge Street, Room K-354

“Political Polarization and Ideas for Restoring Civility to Government in 2012”


Jill Lepore,

Professor of American History at Harvard University


Mark McKinnon

Reidy Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government


Date: October 25, 2011

Time: 4:00-6:00 PM

Where: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
1737 Cambridge Street, Room K-354, Cambridge MA

Contact Chair: Donna Hicks (dhicks@wcfia.harvard.edu).

Speaker Bios

Mark McKinnon is a Reidy Fellow at the Shorenstein Center. For 30 years, McKinnon has worked as a communications strategist for causes, companies and candidates, including President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, Governor Ann Richards, Congressman “Good Time” Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono. He is a weekly columnist for The Daily Beast and co-founder of the bipartisan group No Labels which is dedicated to more civil discourse in politics. McKinnon is vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies, and president of Maverick Media. He has helped engineer five winning presidential primary and general elections and has been awarded more than 30 Pollie and Telly awards, honoring the nation’s best political and public affairs advertising. McKinnon’s research topic at the Shorenstein Center, “How the Press Picks Winners and Losers,” will focus on ways in which the fourth estate puts its thumb on the scale of presidential politics by making subjective and arbitrary decisions about who gets covered, who gets included in debates, who gets preferential status, and ultimately who gets exposure to the voting public.

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her books-in-progress include a biography of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister, a study of Charles Dickens in America, and a series of essays about how historians write. Her previous books include The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History (Princeton, 2010), a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice;New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (Knopf, 2005), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity (Knopf, 1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize; and Blindspot (Spiegel and Grau, 2008), a novel written jointly with Jane Kamensky, also a Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the Charles Warren Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Her next book, The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death, will be published in May of 2012.

About the Herbert C. Kelman Seminar Series

The 2011-2012 Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution series is sponsored by the Program on Negotiation, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Boston area members of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. The theme for this year’s Kelman Seminar is “Negotiation, Conflict and the News Media”.

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