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Society and Culture

Terrorist warnings affect political attitudes, says Vanderbilt researcher

Sep. 1, 2009—When citizens in the United States and Mexico are confronted by terrorist threats, they cope in ways that can put significant stresses on the nations' democracies, according to research by political scientists at Vanderbilt and Claremont.

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Obama’s appointees: some strong, some not, Vanderbilt expert finds

Aug. 25, 2009—A Vanderbilt University political scientist's study of President Obama's appointments during his first six months in office finds some agencies are receiving significantly more qualified presidential appointees than others.

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Why Obama’s birth certificate issue won’t go away: Vanderbilt expert

Jul. 30, 2009—The controversy over President Obama's birth certificate will not go away as long as he refuses to release sealed records, including the original birth certificate, according to Carol Swain, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University.

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VU sociologists analyze American music forms and their changes over time

May. 28, 2009—Vanderbilt sociologists Jennifer Lena and Richard Peterson analyzed 60 samples of American music and found that each one --over time -- took on forms that were roughly comparable during their developmental sequences. The professors call these four distinct genre types Avant-garde, Scene-based, Industry-based and Traditionalist. "Classification as Culture: Types and Trajectories of Music Genres" has been published in the American Sociological Review.

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Conventional views on liberalism and Black Power challenged by VU professor

May. 22, 2009—Black Power's complex relationship with liberalism during the civil rights era and the surprising consequences of that interaction are explored in Devin Fergus' book Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics, 1965-1980.

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New generation of African American scholars seek leadership roles

May. 12, 2009—A new generation of African American theology scholars are striving to define their place at the intersections of religion, social causes and education. Next month, more than 40 of them from across the country will gather at Vanderbilt University to discuss the challenges on this formidable road.

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Will a bad economy hurt democracy?

May. 1, 2009—Results from the latest AmericasBarometer Survey showing what the impact of worldwide economic decline might mean for democratic consolidation in Latin America will be presented on May 8 at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C. The presentation by Vanderbilt University political scientists Mitchell Seligson and Elizabeth Zechmeister is titled "Economic Shocks and Democratic Vulnerabilities: Evidence from the AmericasBarometer Survey."

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Black church participation up in urban areas; family programs, economics and real-world sermons drive attendance

Apr. 1, 2009—Churches with predominantly black congregations are thriving in urban and suburban areas, and the most successful churches employ a variety of sophisticated marketing and programming strategies to draw members, a new study by Vanderbilt University researcher Sandra Barnes finds. The research offers insights into what successful black churches have in common today, when parishioners have more choices and expect more from their churches than they have in the past.

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President’s cabinet secretaries control the pork, Vanderbilt research finds

Mar. 17, 2009—While many people associate the word "pork" with lawmakers' wasteful spending for pet projects, new Vanderbilt research demonstrates the importance of cabinet secretaries and their political ideology in the distribution of lucrative federal grants.

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How Obama uses rhetoric to bring together nation key to inaugural, says Vanderbilt speech expert

Jan. 19, 2009—One of the most important themes to listen for in Barack Obama's inaugural address is a call for a united American body or citizenry, says Vanessa Beasley, an associate professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University. Beasley is the author of You, The People: American National Identity in Presidential Rhetoric, which looks at previous inaugural addresses from 1885 to 2001.

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Vanderbilt expert: Tennessee legislative coup could benefit Williams in long run

Jan. 14, 2009—Voters in Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams' district could continue to support and re-elect the Elizabethton representative – even if he switches parties – says Vanderbilt University political scientist Christian Grose.

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Obama presidency signals new era in America’s struggle with self-identity, says Vanderbilt historian

Jan. 8, 2009—America's arduous struggle over competing visions of nationhood involving race is a giant step closer to resolution with the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, says Vanderbilt University historian Gary Gerstle.

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