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Discourse in Democracy

Discourse in Democracy is a series of events designed to engage undergraduate students in political and philosophical debate about today’s most important issues.  Discourse in Democracy provides opportunities for students to become more deeply involved in their Texas State community by offering lectures and seminars by keynote speakers, chances to collaborate with professors, other students, and prominent professionals in the field at the federal, state, and local levels.  We will tackle issues that matter most to students, and you can be a part of the solution by participating in our lecture series.  The Department of Political Science invites all students to join in the discussion as we work to understand and solve our country’s greatest challenges. 

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Election Night Watch Party - Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - 6:00-10:00 PM - UAC 105


Recent Events in Discourse in Democracy

2018 Meet the Professors!

Students attend meet the professors

On Wednesday, September 12, more than 100 political science and public administration students attended the department’s annual “Meet the Professors” event sponsored by Discourse in Democracy. The event gives students an opportunity to meet faculty members, to hear about their backgrounds and specialization, and to learn about the courses they teach. It also gave students a chance to hear about upcoming departmental events and the various student groups that work with the department. The formal presentations were followed by a social gathering that gave students a chance to talk informally with faculty over pizza. Attendees received a free tee shirt courtesy of Discourse in Democracy.

Mayra de Luna, a junior, observed that the event brought home to her how “many truly amazing professors and mentors” the department has. Likewise, Evan Olszewski, a junior, noted that one of his “favorite things about the department” is the high level of “interaction between the students and faculty.” He said that he always looks forward to Meet the Professors “because it brings everyone together outside the office or classroom and you get to see the professors as approachable people, happy to share their ideas and work. Also, meeting the department’s newer faculty is always fun, because you can see how they fit in with and relate to the rest of the faculty.”  

Discourse in Democracy's Annual Constitution Day Celebration Hosts Dr. Keith Whittington

Dr. Keith Whittington with Students

On Thursday, September 20th, more than 300 Texas State students and faculty, along with Dr. Mary Brennan, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Gene Bourgeois, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, attended the department’s annual “Constitution Day” Lecture. Delivered by Dr. Keith Whittington of Princeton University, the lecture explored “Why We Should Value Campus Free Speech.” The lecture was followed by questions and discussion and, afterwards, students huddled around Dr. Whittington to extend the conversation for an additional half hour. Prior to the lecture, a group of political science majors spoke with Dr. Whittington over dinner at Palmer’s Restaurant.


On Friday the 21st, Dr. Whittington conducted a seminar on “Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech”, attended by more than two dozen Texas State students and faculty. The seminar was followed by a lunch affording another group of majors the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Dr. Whittington. 

Robert Wilson, a graduate student in political science, praised the “deeply probing” nature of Whittington’s remarks, observing that he brought “academic depth” to a subject of intense debate on today’s campuses, a topic that is freely debated through the type of “popular talking points” found on the internet. Michelle Dean, a senior, noted that Whittington provided a much-needed reminder of the importance of campuses protecting “controversial” speech, “not just speech we agree with.”

The lecture and events were sponsored by the Department of Political Science’s Discourse in Democracy project and co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Jack C. Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History.

Dr. Whittington is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. His books include Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech, as well as Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning, and Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History.

Dr. Daron Shaw Discusses the 2018 Mid-Term Elections

Dr. Daron Shaw

Dr. Daron Shaw (University of Texas at Austin) visited Texas State University on Tuesday, October 2, to discuss the Mid-Term elections coming up in November. He  conducted a seminar for faculty and majors exploring how scholars and political parties aggregate date to learn how the electorate may vote. Later that afternoon, he spoke to a group of over 150 students and faculty about the upcoming mid-term election, particularly about whether which party would capture control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. He also discussed polling and how they work and whether to trust them.

Dr. Shaw is a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Election Studies Board of Overseers, and the editorial board for American Politics Research. He serves on the national decision team for Fox News and on the Advisory Board of the Annette Strauss Institute. He has worked as a survey research analyst in several political campaigns as well as a strategist in the 2000 and 2004 presidential election campaigns. His books include The Race to 270 and Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths about American Voters (co-author).