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Sept 6: National Agenda speaker series begins

Illustration by Lukas Emory

The series theme is ‘As We Stand | Divided’

The University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication will sponsor its seventh annual National Agenda speaker series this semester, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6, with a talk by video game developer and congressional candidate Brianna Wu.

All talks in the series are free and open to the public.

This year’s theme for the series, which brings nationally known speakers to campus, is “As We Stand | Divided.” It will explore gender, geographic, religious, partisan, cultural and other divides in the United States.

Each fall, National Agenda encourages students, faculty, staff and the community to join the conversation about important topics. Previous series have looked at a range of key American political issues, including corporate influence, the growing importance of digital campaigns and the 2016 election.

The director of the series is Lindsay Hoffman, associate director of the Center for Political Communication and associate professor of communication.

In the first lecture in the series, Wu will speak about gender divides.

The head of development at GSX, a Boston independent video game studio, Wu came to national prominence when she and other women working in the tech industry were personally targeted by alt-right groups, including one spearheaded by Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to Donald Trump. Her story has been told and fictionalized in several media, including in an episode of Law & Order: SVU and on The Sci-Fi Channel.

Wu is also a 2018 Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in Massachusetts.

The National Agenda talks will be held Wednesdays in Mitchell Hall on UD’s Newark campus; except for the Oct. 18 talk, all will begin at 7:30 p.m. The remaining speakers and their lecture titles are:

Sept. 20 — David Joy, “Geographical Divides.” Joy is a Southern novelist and author of the novels Where All Light Tends To Go and The Weight of This World, as well as the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey, which was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award.

Oct. 4 — Asma Khalid, “Religious Divides.” Khalid covered the 2016 presidential election for NPR and was a founding member of the NPR politics podcast. After the election, she drew attention with her essay, “What It Was Like to Cover the Election as a Muslim,” where she described public reaction as she traveled the country.

Oct. 18, at noon — Former Vice President Joe Biden, “Bridging the Divides.” In partnership with UD’s Biden Institute, he will discuss the many divides that exist in Washington today and during his two terms as vice president. Biden was a U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years and a leading architect of domestic policy.

Nov. 1 — David Bonior and Mike Castle, “Political Divides: Past and Present.” Castle, former governor and then U.S. Representative from Delaware, was president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of centrist Republicans in Congress. Bonior, of Michigan, also served in the U.S. House, where he was one of the highest-ranking Democrats. He now works to engage students in civic action.

Nov. 15 — Chris Garcia, “Cultural Divides.” A comedian and writer based in Los Angeles, Garcia is a first-generation Cuban American. He has appeared on Adam Devine’s House Party and Last Call with Carson Daly and has been heard in episodes of NPR’s This American Life and Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

For more about National Agenda, visit the website, where videos of previous presentations are also available. The 2017 series is supported by UD’s Office of the Provost.

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