BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It is clear that Congress and the major
American political parties are more ideologically polarized than
they were a generation ago, but are Americans themselves more
This and other questions about America's political identity will
be discussed in "America Divided: The Polarization of American
Politics," a symposium to be held April 17 from 5:30-7 p.m. in Room
250 of Baird Hall on the University at Buffalo's North (Amherst)
Campus. The symposium is open and free to the public.
"Liberals and conservatives in the American electorate seem to
be more neatly sorted into the Democratic and Republican parties
than they used to be," says symposium organizer James E. Campbell,
professor and chair of the UB Department of Political Science. "The
symposium will attempt to answer how and why we have become more
divided as a nation.
"Are we engaged in a 'culture war' of secular liberals and
religious conservatives? Is this a media creation? Are divisions
based on greater economic disparities or on a polarizing
Campbell and Matthew Levendusky, a postdoctoral research
associate in political science at Yale University, will present
their research on polarization and lead a discussion on the
Both Campbell and Levendusky contributed to the recent book on
the subject of political polarization: "Red and Blue Nation?
Characteristics and Causes of America's Polarized Politics," edited
by Pietro S. Nivola and David Brady and published jointly by
Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the Brookings
Institution, a prominent Washington think-tank.
According to Campbell, "Red and Blue Nation?" grew out of a
conference jointly sponsored by the Hoover Institution and the
Brookings Institution. The conference brought together leading
scholars and distinguished journalists to examine the extent,
causes and consequences of polarization in American politics.
The UB symposium is sponsored by the Brookings Institution
Press and UB's chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political
science honor society.