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Speaker to discuss race and gender in American elections

Evelyn M. Simien will deliver "The Intersection of Race and Gender in American Elections," a look at how U.S. campaign strategists overlook the voting power of African-American women, even after they recorded the highest voter turnout rate among all racial, ethnic and gender groups in the 2008 presidential election. Simien is associate professor of political science (jointly appointed with the Institute for African American Studies and affiliated with Women's Studies) and associate director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Her research has focused on African-American public opinion and political behavior; survey research and quantitative methods; black feminist theory; intersectionality; and civil rights history. Her first book, "Black Feminist Voices in Politics," uses a national telephone survey of the adult African-American population to determine the simultaneous effects of race and gender on political behavior. Her forthcoming book, "Gender and Lynching: the Politics of Memory," considers how and why African-American female victims of lynching have not been accurately documented, but rather conveniently forgotten.

"If African-American women voters turn out and support Obama in 2012, as they did in 2008, they will exercise a decisive effect on the electoral outcomes," said MaryAnne Borrelli, associate professor of government. "Dr. Simien's analysis of these events, past and future, offers fresh insights on the workings of identity in United States presidential campaigns and elections." A nationally recognized teacher, Simien received the 2006 Anna Julia Cooper Teacher of the Year Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. The talk is Tuesday, April 19 at 1:15 p.m. in the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room in Shain Library. It is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Department of Government with support from the Suzi Oppenheimer '56 Lecture Fund.

April 15, 2011