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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

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New Center Examines American Political System

August 31, 2017 | Theresa Ahrens

capThe American political system has long been studied and dissected—and American politics is quite possibly more relevant in peoples' lives now than in years before. In July, the University established the Center on American Politics—as a part of its strategic goals outlined in DU IMPACT 2025—to help us understand the changing standards of the nation's political system.

The Center is designed to facilitate scholarship on American politics from across disciplines around campus to promote dialogue on current political issues. Discussions will include students, faculty, staff and the greater Denver community.

Led by Director Seth Masket, the Center has three core objectives:
     1. Enhance the quality, quantity, distribution, and application of rigorous, creative work by its scholars, while promoting student engagement in American politics;
     2. Foster education through scholarly and community programming; and
     3. Provide easy access and support for policy makers, media and organizations in the Rocky Mountain region

During its inaugural year, Masket will be joined by Leanne ten Brinke, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, and Juan Carlos Lopez, assistant professor in the Department of Economics—the 2017–2018 Center faculty affiliates. "Both Leanne and Juan bring a great interdisciplinary approach to their research," Masket said. "Bringing their areas of study into one Center will allow for greater collaboration and a multitude of perspectives as we examine the American political system."

Masket's research will focus on interpreting what happened in the 2016 election and what that could mean for future elections. ten Brinke will investigate the relationship between social inequality and acceptance of Machiavellian leadership styles through a series of psychological studies, while Lopez will focus on examining economic inequality and its impact on the availability of social services, with a particular emphasis on the Rust Belt cities. The Center will also host a variety of panels and events to tackle election seasons. 

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