Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo
COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

Sarah A. Binder

Breckenridge Memorial Lecture: Legislating in Polarized Times.

Join the conversation on Wednesday, April 22 at 7 p.m.

Apr 21, 2020

See the video of Dr. Binder’s talk “Legislating in COVID-19 Times” on the Socrates YouTube channel.

What’s the political impact of the pandemic? How can a polarized political system respond to a crisis of this magnitude? And what can we learn from the U.S. response to COVID-19?

Congress and Crisis: Legislating in Polarized Times, a free online conversation hosted by the Socrates Project, will take place this Wednesday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. eastern time.

Sarah A. Binder, political science professor at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, will discuss the politics of legislating in polarized times and how U.S. Congress is struggling to address the ongoing crisis.

“Sarah will bring her insights on U.S. law-making performance and political responses to COVID-19,” says Karen Bird, professor and chair of McMaster’s political science department, who will moderate the discussion. Bird notes the vital importance of examining the political impact of the crisis and comparing the U.S. response to those of Canada and other countries.

“There’s a real thirst these days to understanding the deep political significance of the pandemic and to making sense of the chaos in U.S. politics,” says Bird.

Participants will be invited to text their questions in the last 30 minutes of the talk. Be sure to register in advance.

The event is presented in memory of George Breckenridge, who launched and curated the popular “Trump Talks” series in collaboration with the Socrates Project in 2018. A renowned expert on U.S. and U.K. politics, Breckenridge taught at McMaster University for more than 50 years until his death in December 2018. A scholarship fund was established in his memory to support political science students at McMaster.

“George was a great speaker who wove wonderful stories into his presentations,” says Bird. “This special event is true to his spirit and his impact as a scholar.”

She notes Breckenridge was particularly effective at translating political science research for students and the general public alike. “Sarah Binder is a great choice to speak at this memorial event,” says Bird. “She’s a superb scholar who’s also very effective in translating her research to a broader audience.”

Binder is the author or co-author of seven books and more than 30 articles, including “The Dysfunctional Congress” and “Dodging the Rules in Trump’s Republican Congress.” She is an editor and contributor to The Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage” blog.

The Socrates Project is producing Wednesday’s event in partnership with the Department of Political Science, McMaster Alumni, and the McMaster Centre for Continuing Education.

The next webinar will be held on May 6: “Why We Need The Arts More Than Ever” with Globe and Mail journalists Kate Taylor and Simon Houpt.

Learning Lessons from COVID-19 was presented on April 9.

Several past talks are posted on the Socrates Project YouTube channel.

The Socrates Project was created in 2018 to offer public lectures, workshops and cultural events that cross academic disciplines and connect McMaster University with the wider community. The two-year pilot program is funded by generous support from chancellor emeritus Lynton (“Red”) Wilson.

Register here for Congress and Crisis: Legislating in Polarized Times: Wednesday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. eastern time.

Contribute to the Dr. Breckenridge Memorial Fund to support political science students at McMaster.