CHSS Fall Symposium: Public Opinion in a Time of Political Crisis

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM

What have the events of the past year taught us about the role of public opinion in American democracy?  What do Americans think about politics, and why do they think what they think? How do the attitudes of the public influence American political life? 

The Intellectual Life Committee in the College of Humanities and Social Science will bring together three scholars, each from a different discipline, to discuss the ways that public opinion has shaped, and been shaped, by polarization, the pandemic, racial violence, the evolving media system, and, of course, the election.  

The Panelists

Devon Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, whose research focuses on attitudes to criminal justice as well as racial and ethnic differences in public opinion. Professor Johnson has received awards for her research from the American Association for Public Opinion Research and the Law and Society Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

Samuel Robert Lichter is a professor of communication, and directs Mason's Center for Media and Public Affairs, which conducts scientific studies of the news and entertainment media.  Professor Lichter is the author or co-author of fourteen books and over one hundred articles on such subjects as political communications, political sociology, and health and risk communication.

Jeremy Mayer is an associate professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at Mason, and author of numerous books and articles on media, politics, and elections. Professor Mayer is an award-winning teacher, and has offered political commentary to numerous national networks and newspapers.

This is a virtual meeting; please contact Kristin Samuelian ( for Zoom login information. 

For questions about the symposium, please contact Sam Lebovic at