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CCU to host presidential election lecture series

August 16, 2016
Holley Tankersley will discuss   “The Presidency and Presidents: A Historical Evolution” on Aug. 27.

A Saturday lecture sequence on the U.S. presidential election will be presented by Coastal Carolina University’s Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts during the fall semester. The sequence will include four lectures on the presidential election, with the first on Saturday, Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public with no ticket required. The series will be held at CCU’s 79th Avenue Theatre at the Myrtle Beach Education Center located at 900 79th Ave. N.

“This is a new and innovative program created by the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts,” said Holley Tankersley, former chair of CCU’s Department of Politics and current associate dean of Edwards College. “We hope it serves as the foundation for future development of an American Studies program with a certificate, minor and perhaps even a major. Each lecture in the four-part series will feature a different faculty member discussing some particular aspect of presidential elections, using this year’s election as a focal point.”

“The Presidency and Presidents: A Historical Evolution” is the topic of the first lecture. The presentation, led by Tankersley, will focus on the contours of the office as defined by the Constitution, the expansion of power over time (both personal power and institutional power), and the policymaking capacity of the office.

“The 2016 presidential election has been an unusual and lively one, and it has made the public aware of a number of ‘nuts and bolts’ campaign and election issues that normally do not get much attention,” Tankersley said. “Voters should understand not just candidates’ positions on the issues, but also how the presidency and presidential elections work in order to fully evaluate how successful a president any given candidate might be.”

All discussions are at 10 a.m. Future events in the series include:

* Saturday, Sept. 10, Drew Kurlowski, associate professor of political science, “Rules Matter: Election Law Revealed”

* Saturday, Sept. 17, Kyle Holody, assistant professor of communication, “The Role of the News Media in Determining Why and How We Vote”

* Saturday, Sept. 24, Christian Smith, assistant professor of English, “The Deliberative Rhetoric of the 2016 Presidential Election”

Smith believes the topics of individual lectures will extend the public and private conversations that are already occurring. “I think this series is beneficial as it works to create a space for the kinds of discussions and deliberation that are at the heart of the democratic ideal,” said Smith. “My lecture will make this same argument as it concerns the role of rhetoric in both ancient Greek culture and in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The American Studies Lecture Series is designed to provide a multidisciplinary perspective and reflective discussion on issues involving American culture, identity, history, politics and society. CCU faculty from departments ranging from history, art and communications to anthropology, theater and cultural studies will participate in the program.

The second four-lecture sequence, titled American Identity, will explore questions relating to what it means to be an American and how that definition is interpreted and understood across various societal dimensions. The “American Identity” sequence will begin Oct. 22 and take place on Saturday mornings through Nov. 12.

For more information on the Presidential Election lecture sequence or the American Studies Lecture Series, contact Carol Osborne, director of American Studies and Community Outreach, at osborne@coastal.edu.