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Speaking to Citizens, Connecting with Audiences

November 9, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

How might politicians, pundits, journalists, scholars, and other social and cultural leaders best connect with the audiences they need to address?  As part of its 2021-2022 Annual Symposium, the McGillicuddy Humanities Center is pleased to sponsor a panel exploring this question and the issues it raises.  Bringing together a professional political communicator, a Maine-based journalist, and a professor of political philosophy, the panel will describe how skills learned from the humanities – such as how to conduct interviews and answer questions, how to speak and write clearly, and how to engage audiences in democratic processes – play a vital role in their work.

Moderator: Robert A. Ballingall,  Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of MaineProfessor Ballingall’s research interests lie in classical political philosophy and its fraught relationship to modern – especially liberal democratic – political thought.  Before coming to UMaine, Professor Ballingall was Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard and Allan Bloom Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow for Research in Classical Political Thought at the University of Toronto, where he also took his PhD.  Professor Ballingall’s new book, The Reverent City: Plato’s Laws and the Politics of Ethical Authority, is under contract to the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Panelist: Victoria Bonney, Director of Communications for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).  In 2017, Victoria Bonney was named Director of Communications for Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.  Before that, Bonney spent more than a decade of service as a senior spokeswoman and communications strategist for government agencies, advocacy organizations, and political campaigns. She served as Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood’s New Hampshire Action Fund, and previously oversaw the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ outreach and public education strategy throughout New England during implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Panelist: Colin Woodard is a New York Times bestselling historian, a Polk-Award winning journalist, and the author of six books.  He is a contributing editor at Politico and the State and National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, where he received a 2012 George Polk Award and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. A longtime foreign correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, he has reported from more than fifty foreign countries and seven continents. Born in Waterville, he’s a graduate of Mt. Abram High School, Tufts University, and the University of Chicago, and a past Pew Fellow in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.His books are interdisciplinary in nature, informed by his liberal arts education, and include: Ocean’s End (on the environmental crisis in the world’s oceans), The Republic of Pirates (on Blackbeard’s notorious pirate gang); The Lobster Coast (a cultural history of coastal Maine); and three books on the nature of the United States and the deep background to the existential crises it faces: American Nations, American Character, and, most recently, Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood.

This panel is part of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s 2021-2022 Annual Symposium: “Humanities: Impact in Real Life”


November 9, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium
Barrows Hall, University of Maine
Orono, ME 04468 United States
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