The Science of Building Successful Movements

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The Science of Building Successful Movements

What’s the difference between a movement that wins victories for its constituents, and one that fails? What are the factors that make collective action powerful?

Join professor of political science and SNF Agora Institute director Hahrie Han for a discussion of her new book, Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America. Co-authored with Elizabeth McKenna and Michelle Oyakawa, the book uses data from six recent U.S. examples to show that the power of successful movements most often is rooted in their ability to act as  “prisms of the people,” turning participation into political power just as prisms transform white light into rainbows.

Joined by SNF Agora deputy director Stephen Ruckman, Han will talk about what she and her co-authors learned about the choices organizations made and strategies they used to win power—and what you can do to make change happen.

ABOUT Hahrie Han
Professor; Inaugural Director, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute

Hahrie Han is the Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Director of the P3 Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in the study of organizing, movements, civic engagement, and democracy. Her newest book will be published by the University of Chicago Press in July 2021, entitled Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America. She has previously published three books: How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st CenturyGroundbreakers: How Obama's 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in Americaand, Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and Inequality in American PoliticsHer award-winning work has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and numerous other outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a fifth book, to be published with Knopf (an imprint of Penguin Random House), about faith and race in America, with a particular focus on evangelical megachurches.

ABOUT Stephen Ruckman
Deputy Director, SNF Agora Institute

Stephen Ruckman is deputy director for SNF Agora, where he works closely with the director and team to advance the institute’s research and teaching missions and support delivery of all institute activities. Prior to joining the institute, he held a number of policy roles in the government and nonprofit sectors, most recently serving as JHU’s senior adviser to the president for policy.

Over his career, Ruckman has worked in both federal and state government and for both houses of Parliament. An attorney by training, he was senior policy adviser in the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission and an assistant attorney general in the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, where he handled policy matters ranging from campaign finance reform to consumers’ online privacy. He also worked as a fellow and program manager of the Hills Program on Governance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Ruckman graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College, receiving his B.A. in political ethics and music. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a M.A.R. in Ethics from Yale Divinity School, and a M.Sc. in Philosophy, Policy, and Social Value from the London School of Economics, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar. He is a member of the bar in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

 Event Date
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Start Time: 12:00pm EDT
End Time: 1:00pm EDT

Via livestream

Baltimore, MD 21218

Hopkins at Home

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