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Bradford Vivian (PhD, Pennsylvania State University) is an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. His research and teaching focuses on theories of rhetoric (or the art of persuasion) and public controversies over collective memories of past events. Vivian is the author of Commonplace Witnessing: Rhetorical Invention, Historical Remembrance, and Public Culture (Oxford University Press), Public Forgetting: The Rhetoric and Politics of Beginning Again (Penn State Press) and Being Made Strange: Rhetoric beyond Representation (SUNY Press). He is also co-editor, with Anne Teresa Demo, of Rhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form: Sighting Memory (Routledge). Vivian’s work has also appeared in such journals as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, History and Memory, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly. His honors and awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend and, from the National Communication Association, the James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, the Critical/Cultural Studies Division Book of the Year Award, and the Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award.


Christopher Beem headshotChristopher Beem (PhD, University of Chicago) is managing director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. He is the author or co-editor of five books, including The Necessity of Politics (University of Chicago Press).  His latest book, Democratic Humility: Reinhold Niebuhr, Neuroscience and America’s Political Crisis (Lexington Books, 2015) argues that democracy requires a specific kind of humility to counter our natural inclination to self-delusion and self-righteousness. Before joining the Institute, Beem served as grants and communications manager for Next Door, a nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood education in Milwaukee’s central city. Before that, he directed the Democracy and Community Program at the Johnson Foundation’s Wingspread Conference Center.


Michael Berkman (PhD, Indiana University) is a professor in the Department of Political Science and the director of the Center for American Political Responsiveness (CAPR), a center of excellence within the McCourtney Institute for Democracy.  Berkman’s research focuses on American politics, particularly American state politics and policy.  His most recent research, funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on state Transitional Aid to Needy Families (TANF) programs.  Along with his colleague Eric Plutzer, Berkman has published two books on state education policy: Evolution, Creationism and the Battle to Control America’s Classrooms (Cambridge University Press) and Ten Thousand Democracies: Politics and Public Opinion in America's School Districts (Georgetown University Press).  His first book, The State Roots of National Politics: Congress and the Tax Agenda, 1978–1986 (Pittsburgh University Press), looked at how state policies influence national politics.