Date October 17, 2016
Media Contact

Events across campus to spotlight Election 2016, before and after

With all eyes on the U.S. presidential election, public events and discussions at Brown will focus on the country’s future and the forces shaping the election.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With the U.S. presidential election down to its final weeks, an array of events at Brown University will highlight what’s at stake this election cycle and the forces that may influence the outcome.

From a forum on Oct. 20 focused on voting insecurity, to an an election night watch party on Nov. 8, to reflections on President Obama’s legacy on Dec. 6, community members can take part before, during and after the vote in conversations about an election unlike any in recent history.

Stephen Kinzer, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, which will host a number of events in the coming weeks, said this year’s election season will prove memorable, if not necessarily for positive reasons:

“The campaign has been an extreme example of what is wrong with our political system, including almost a complete lack of serious debate over the major questions facing our country,” he said. “Like many Americans, students are watching with fascination and horror.”

The following events offer a few highlights of what’s to come in the approaching weeks. The University’s full events calendar is available at

Voting Insecurity: Why We Won’t be Able to Verify the Outcome of the 2016 Election
Thursday, October 20

With rising concerns about cyber attacks infiltrating Democratic National Committee computers and accusations about a “rigged” system, electronic voting expert Barbara Simons will discuss how we arrived at the current process and the perils of internet voting. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. It begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching’s De Ciccio Family Auditorium on Brown’s College Green. This event will be live-streamed on the Brown website.

Hawks and Doves: What’s Gender Got to Do with It?
Friday, October 21

With the potentially historic presidential election nearing, researchers will take part in a discussion that draws on research from Professor Rose McDermott on how gender can influence political and social behavior. Speakers include McDermott, professor of political science, and Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, director of the Pembroke Center and professor of Italian studies and comparative literature. Free and open to the public, the Family Weekend event is sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates. The event begins at 4 p.m. in Room 305 of Pembroke Hall at 172 Meeting St.

U.S. Foreign Policy and the 2016 Election
Tuesday, October 25

As part of a seminar series that highlights the “dangers and opportunities” of the upcoming election, Watson Institute senior fellows Brian Atwood and Chas Freeman will discuss U.S. foreign policy questions and critical international relations issues at stake this election. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Watson Institute’s Kim Koo Library at 111 Thayer St.

Election Night Watch Party
Tuesday, November 8

When Election Day arrives on Nov. 8, members of the community are invited to the Watson Institute to follow the evening’s events as returns roll in from across the country. A panel discussion — with speakers to be posted as finalized — will precede the watch party. With limited space, a Brown I.D. is required for entry. The begins at 8 p.m. at 111 Thayer St.

What Happened and Why?
Wednesday, November 9

With the results in and a new president announced, political scientists Wendy Schiller and Mark Blyth will offer analysis on the election and its outcome. The event begins at 4 p.m. in the Watson Institute’s Joukowsky Forum at 111 Thayer St.

Behind the Scenes with Mara Liasson
Monday, November 21

National Public Radio correspondent Mara Liasson (a Brown Class of 1977 graduate) and David Corn, columnist for Mother Jones, will cap off Watson’s Election 2016 series. The final interview in a three-part series, the discussion will focus on Liasson’s reporting of the presidential election. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. in the List Art Building’s Auditorium (Room 120) at 64 College St.

What Has Happened, Where Do We Go from Now and the 116th U.S. Congress
Tuesday, November 22

James Morone, director of Brown’s Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, will offer his analysis as part of the student discussion series addressing the “dangers and opportunities” of the current election. With the election over, Morone will highlight what happened and what we might expect of the 116th U.S. Congress. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Watson Institute’s Kim Koo Library at 111 Thayer St.

Reflections on the Obama Legacy
Tuesday, December 6

As the final installment of the “dangers and opportunities” series, Professor Glenn Loury will reflect on how we can begin to assess Obama’s legacy before his formal departure from office in January. His talk will touch on Obama’s defeats and victories, the legislative deadlock in Congress and how the 44th president might be remembered. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Watson Institute’s Kim Koo Library at 111 Thayer St.