Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Build Civic Knowledge On Your Lunch Break!

This April the Richard B. Russell Library invites attendees to consider the powers and function of the U.S. Congress through an event series titled Civic Knowledge, Civic Power. This weekly program hosted from 12:30-1:30 p.m. looks to increase civic knowledge on campus and in the community with short lectures and informal discussion from speakers in UGA’s Department of Political Science
The powers of the United States Congress are considerable and well established. Congress can collect taxes, coin money, declare war, raise and support armies and a navy, and make all laws necessary and proper to carry out its powers – just to name a few. But understanding Congress cannot be done in a vacuum or just through a listing of powers

Hosted for the first time in 2017, the weekly lunch-and-learn series was created as a way to promote greater understanding at a time when surveys show declining levels of knowledge and confidence in Congress. “A 2016 survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that citizen knowledge of government basics is at a new low,” said outreach archivist Jan Hebbard. “At a time when many citizens seem increasingly interested in playing a more active role in politics, we wanted to create a space for informal learning about this branch of government and its history.” Last year’s events were so successful, the event series will now happen annually, hosted in tandem with the national Congress Week initiative each April.

At each event featured speakers will address a selected topic, beginning on April 3 with Dr. Anthony Madonna discussing how a bill becomes a law, with a particular focus on recent efforts to reshape the Affordable Care Act. Other topics on the schedule include how elections work; balancing the federal budget; and polarization in Congress. Organizers hope addressing issues that have garnered widespread attention since the 2016 presidential election will engage people from both the campus and community. “We try to keep our programming connected both to our collections, and to current events – helping people to draw connections between the past and present,” said Jill Severn, head of access and outreach for the Russell Library. 

Partners for the series include the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, the UGA College Republicans. For more information contact russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788.

Tuesday, April 3, 12:30-1:30
Lunch & Learn, How a Bill Becomes a Law (Healthcare Redux)
Room 277, Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries)

Tuesday, April 10, 12:30-1:30
Lunch & Learn, Balancing the Federal Budget
Room 277, Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries)

Tuesday, April 17, 12:30-1:30
Lunch & Learn, How Campaigns Work: 2018 Mid-Term Elections 
Room 277, Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries)

Tuesday, Apr. 24, 12:30-1:30PM
Lunch & Learn, Polarization in Congress
Room 277, Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries)

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Lecture to Spotlight Ongoing Ethics Debate in Congress

Can the American Congress be ethical in an age of intense partisan warfare? Princeton University professor and CNN political analyst Julian E. Zelizer will take up the topic of ethics in Congress on Thursday, April 5 at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.
Titled, “Ethics in the Age of Partisan Warfare,” Zelizer’s talk will explore past debates over ethics reform, as well as the push for new oversight and enforcement on the heels of growing allegations of sexual misconduct in Congress. In a recent op-ed piece for The Atlantic, Zelizer submitted that the legislative branch botched a chance to curtail sexual harassment in the 1990s and illuminated the failures of the rules and regulations put into effect in that decade. 

Dr. Julian Zelizer, Princeton University Professor
and CNN political analyst
“Unlike the other institutions rocked by harassment scandals this past year, the inner workings of Congress remain a mystery to the American people,” said Russell Library director Sheryl Vogt. “As a founding member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC), the Russell Library wants to promote a better public understanding of Congress as the branch of government closest to the people. Julian Zelizer is the ideal scholar to enlighten us about the partisanship and ethics scandals that characterize that elective body today.”

The author of numerous books, articles and op-eds, including a weekly column on CNN.com, Zelizer has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. His current book project focuses on the ethics scandal that ousted Congressman Jim Wright from his position as Speaker of the House in 1989. “This was the moment,” Zelizer explains, “when the hopes of the post-Watergate reforms faded into the darkness of rampant partisanship in Congress.”  

The lecture complements a slate of lunch-and-learn programs the Russell Library will host during the month of April which look to increase civic knowledge and awareness on campus and in the community. Promoted collectively under the Civic Knowledge, Civic Power moniker, the series will feature speakers from the UGA Department of Political Science and address topics focused on Congress, its powers and responsibilities. The series was inspired by the ongoing Congress Week initiative, an annual program of ACSC.

“Ethics in the Age of Partisan Warfare” is free and open to the public; a light reception will follow the program. The event is co-sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of History For more information call 706-542-5788 or email jhebbard@uga.edu.