PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer, will open the 16th annual Providence Journal/Brown University Public Affairs Conference, "Democracy in America: Does It Still Work?," with a keynote address titled "American Democracy in Times of Crises." Kearns Goodwin's address has been designated the Michael P. Metcalf-Howard Swearer Memorial Lecture, an annual address which honors the memory of conference founders Michael P. Metcalf, former chairman and publisher of the Providence Journal Company, and Howard R. Swearer, Brown's 15th president. The lecture begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the Salomon Center for Teaching on the Brown campus. The lecture and all sessions of the conference are open to the public without charge.
Kearns Goodwin received the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for History for her groundbreaking work "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front During World War II." She is also the author of "The Fitzgeralds and Kennedys" and "Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream." All three books spent numerous weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. She has also written numerous articles on politics and baseball for dozens of leading national publications.
For 10 years, Kearns Goodwin was a professor of government at Harvard University, where she received her Ph.D. in 1968. Before teaching at Harvard, Kearns Goodwin was an assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson during his last year in the White House. She later assisted him with the preparation of his memoirs.
Kearns Goodwin is a regular panelist and political analyst for Boston's ABC affiliate as well as several national programs. She has also been a resource - on and off camera - for PBS documentaries on Johnson, the Kennedy family, and Ken Burns' "The History of Baseball."
More than two dozen of the nation's most prominent political practitioners, thinkers and commentators - including elected officials from both parties - will address the question "Democracy in America: Does It Still Work?" The conference will run from Feb. 21 through March 1, timed to occur just after the New Hampshire primary and just before the first New England regional primary March 5. All sessions will begin at 8 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching.
In addition to presenting lectures and panels, the 1996 public affairs conference has commissioned Brown University's John Hazen White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory to undertake a national survey of American attitudes toward government, society and the nation's future. The survey's findings will be released and discussed during the conference.Conference organizers also are working with state party officials to organize sessions that will involve all presidential candidates - a primary debate among Republican candidates and possibly a Presidential address.
Confirmed participants include Stan Greenberg, pollster and political scientist; Joe Klein of Newsweek; Lowell Weicker, former Republican senator and former independent governor of Connecticut; Michael Barone of U.S. News and World Report; Frank Rich of The New York Times; E.J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington Post; William Schneider of the American Enterprise Institute; U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.); Arthur Miller of the Harvard Law School; Jack Valenti of the Motion Picture Association; Paul Tsongas, former Massachusetts Democratic senator and presidential candidate; and Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute.