UW Today

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April 3, 2008

Lectures explore faith, finance in American politics

Presidential candidates use issues of faith and finance to build political platforms, create campaign strategies, and justify their positions on such issues as education, health care, immigration and the environment.

That’s why the College of Arts and Sciences and the UW Alumni Association are sponsoring a lecture series, “Faith & Finance: Twin Pillars of American Politics,” that will examine how and why faith and finance became central to political debates and shapes the political landscape of American government.

The lectures will be at 7 p.m. April 9, 16, 23, and 30 in Kane Hall. Admission is free but advance registration is required. Go to www.uwalum.com.  

UW professors David Domke and Mark Smith will be the speakers. Domke is a former journalist and author of the recently published book, The God Strategy: How Religion Became A Political Weapon in America. He is a professor and head of journalism in the Department of Communication at the UW. Smith is the author of The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society. He is an associate professor of political science and an adjunct professor of communication at the UW. He regularly teaches courses on public opinion and American political culture.


The lecture schedule:


April 9
The Conservative Ascendancy in America
Beginning in the 1960s, American political, religious, and economic conservatives developed a set of strategies to transform the political landscape. In this lecture and discussion, Domke and Smtih will outline the ideas, rhetoric, and policy developments of the last few decades.


April 16
Economics and Religion in Campaigns and Elections
Presidential candidates leverage the power of voters’ perceptions and issues surrounding faith and finance to garner political support. In this lecture and discussion, the speakers will explore how presidential campaigns influence voting decisions by focusing on religious and economic issues.


April 23
Mass Media and the Democracy Crisis
The news media play a critical role in presidential campaigns and has significant impact on presidential elections. This lecture and discussion examines how news media influences political campaigns and how journalists cover issues of faith and finance.


April 30
The 2008 Presidential Campaign
This year’s campaign occurs during the Iraq war and where there are lingering fears about terrorism, climatic changes, and an unstable economy. Since 1928, the 2008 presidential election will be the first that does not include a sitting or vice president as a major party candidate. This final lecture explores how faith and finance are primary factors that indicate what kind of change American can expect.