November 21, 2011

Bennett to deliver University Faculty Lecture

Lance Bennett, a longtime professor in the Department of Political Science, will deliver the University Faculty Lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Its the highest recognition the faculty can bestow on someone in its ranks, and the roster has included artists, musicians, historians, scientists and engineers – some of them Nobel laureates.

Lance Bennett

University of Washington

Lance Bennett

Sponsored by the Office of the President, the lecture will be given at 7 p.m. in Room 130, Kane Hall.

Bennett will speak on “The Democratization of Truth: Communication and the Crisis of Contemporary Politics.” He contends that U.S. public institutions have been challenged by the growing number of ways to communicate, and that it has polarized the country. Bennett will explore ways to meet this challenge.

He has been a UW faculty member since 1974. Along with his appointment in political science, he holds the Ruddick C. Lawrence chair in communication.

Bennett researches communication as it affects citizen participation in politics. His honors include career awards from the American Political Science Association and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association, which recognizes lifetime achievement in the study of human communication. Bennett also holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Most recently, Bennett and his colleagues, Professor Alan Borning and doctoral student Travis Kriplean in UW Computer Science and Engineering, along with Diane Douglas, executive director of CityClub of Seattle, developed the Living Voters Guide, an online tool that helps Washington voters define their views on ballot initiatives and compare them with those of other voters.

“Ive always been fascinated by whether societies manage to create good lives for most of their citizens, and what either hinders or facilitates it,” Bennett said. “We can use civic tools to create realities that work better for people and the political power to bring them about.”