Department of Politics,
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Lessons from New Hampshire
This appeared in the Daily Princetonian on January 11, 2008
For five days, Manchester, N.H. felt like the center of the universe.
Because open-seat races in both parties frame the presidential race in 2008,
New Hampshire was the perfect political storm. Democratic and Republican
upset victories in Iowa meant that the nomination process was contested.
Because the primary is open and nearly half of registered voters are
undeclared partisans, every candidate battles for every voter. Because it is
a tiny state, easily crossed several times a week, if you stand on the
corner in front of Merrimack Restaurant for a few hours, every candidate and
national media personality will walk past you. I know this because I just
got back from a Pace Center-sponsored trip to the Granite State with
two-dozen Princeton students. As a professor, I expected to go to New
Hampshire and teach the students important lessons about democracy. Instead,
it was the students who taught me three important lessons...
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Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of the award-winning book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, (Princeton 2004). And she is currently at work on a new book: For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn't Enough. Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges.
Her academic research has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes and her interests include the study of African American political thought, black religious ideas and practice, and social and clinical psychology. Professor Harris-Lacewell’s creative and dynamic teaching is also motivated by the practical political and racial issues of our time. For example, her course entitled Disaster, Race and American Politics explored the multiple political meanings of Hurricane Katrina. Professor Harris-Lacewell has taught students from grade school to graduate school and has been recognized for her commitment to the classroom as a site of democratic deliberation on race.
In a 2007 article of the Princeton Weekly Bulletin Professor Harris-Lacewell’s colleagues recognized her contributions to the academy. “She has to be one of the most talented intellectuals of her generation,” said Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion. “She brings sophisticated quantitative skills, a sense of history and a synthetic imagination. That’s rare among social scientists, and that’s why I’m so thoroughly excited and inspired that she’s here.” “What I like best is that she combines all this energy and cleverness with political passion, an eye for the big picture and a flair for communicating ideas,” said Larry Bartels, the Donald E. Stokes Professor in Public and International Affairs.
Happy New Year! This year I am going to walk in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk once again. I last participated four years ago in Chicago. Now I plan to walk New York City in October!
Merry Christmas friends and family. You can download my annual holiday letter here.
This semester I taught Introduction to African American politics. Many of the students in this course chose to participate in a massive final project that uses film and media to explore contemporary black politics.
Time to start thinking about the spring semester
of the new Faculty-Graduate Seminar in the Center for African
American Studies. We have a great line-up of speakers for the
Learn more about the seminar!