Public Lecture Series 2013 – Faculty of Arts and Sciences

22nd Jan 2013, 5:30pm - 8:00pm

Edge Hill University

Barack Obama and the Polarization of American Politics – Professor Kevern Verney

Although not as euphoric as in the heady days of 2008 President Obama continues to enjoy considerable support in the international media and from peoples and governments around the world. Within the United States opinion is more sharply divided. Although still admired by many Americans he is viewed as an anathema by others as ‘that man in the White House’. His flagship policies, most notably healthcare reform, or ‘Obamacare’, have met considerable opposition. This is likely to continue during his second term of office, as reflected in the recent divisive negotiations as the President and Congress struggled to reach agreement to prevent the U.S. economy from falling over the ‘fiscal cliff’.

Professor Verney looks at the reasons why Obama has become such a polarizing figure in American society, examining the domestic impact of the global economic crisis, the changing demography of the United States and what American historian Richard Hofstadter once described as ‘the paranoid style in American politics’. He also considers the extent to which race remains a divisive issue, despite the oft repeated claims made in 2008 and since that the election of Obama as President showed the United States was now a ‘post-racial’ society.       

Professor Verney is Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Edge Hill University. He has numerous publications on African American history and is currently the Co-Investigator for a research network on the Presidency of Barack Obama funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).


  • 5.00 – Arrival and drinks reception
  • 6.00 pm – Lecture
  • 7.00 pm – Buffet

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