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Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) serves scholars, students, policymakers and the public by propelling actionable research, providing public education and promoting a more reasonable democratic square.

American University’s New Perspectives in Studies of American Governance program awarded $200,000 grant

September 2021

With support from the Hewlett Foundation’s U.S. Democracy Program, the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University was recently awarded a $200,000 grant to promote New Perspectives in Studies of American Governance (NP). The NP program, in partnership with Purdue University, incentivizes emerging scholars to broaden the range of perspectives with respect to gender, race/ethnicity, capacity, and culture when pursuing insight into American governance at the federal level. 

Specifically, the NP includes a small grants program for scholars of Congress and the Executive branch, whose research examines new questions and/or does so from a broader point of view than has traditionally been the case in these fields. A call for proposals will be disseminated in coming months.

The Principal Investigators of this program include David Barker, Professor of Government and Director of CCPS, Bettina Poirier, Director of the Program on Legislative Negotiation and Senior Affiliate for WCL, and Valeria Sinclair- Chapman, Professor of Political Science, African American Studies, and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Purdue University. She is also Director of Purdue’s Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion as well as its Legislative Internship Program.

American University’s Program on Legislative Negotiation, a joint endeavor of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and the Washington College of Law, awarded $1.2 million dollar grant

August 2021

With a new round of support from the Hewlett Foundation’s U.S. Democracy Program, American University’s Washington College of Law (WCL) and Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) are expanding the Program on Legislative Negotiation (PLN).

The overarching purpose of this program is to create a culture of bipartisan negotiation in Congress and state legislatures via targeted training, educational initiatives, and scholarly research. The PLN will carry out four sets of specific activities over the three-year period covered by this grant, including Congressional staff trainings, experiential learning for students and professionals, new research and dissemination, and building a learning community.

The PLN will continue to be led by Director, Professor Bettina Poirier, a former high-level Capitol Hill staffer, with approximately 15 years of experience in senior roles in the House and Senate.

Professor Poirier will work closely with the Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS), David Barker, who serves as a co-principal investigator on this joint WCL/SPA effort.

AU President Sylvia Burwell has continued to express enthusiastic support for the PLN. AU is committed to ensuring its ongoing vibrancy well beyond the life of this grant.

Understanding Legislative Negotiation Conference

April 9, 2021 | 8:30am- 5:00pm
Via Zoom


American University’s Program on Legislative Negotiation, the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, and the Hewlett Foundation’s US Democracy Program, hosted the Understanding Legislative Negotiation Conference on April 9, 2021.
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New Perspectives and New Questions in Legislative Studies Conference

April 8, 2021 | 8:30am- 5:00pm
Via Zoom

American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies hosted “New Perspectives and New Questions in Legislative Studies,” a virtual conference on April 8, 2021

Co-hosted by Valeria Sinclair-Chapman (Professor of Political Science, Purdue University), David Barker (Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University) and Bettina Poirier (Professor of Law and Director of American University’s Program on Legislative Negotiation), with support from the Hewlett Foundation’s US Democracy Program, this conference aimed to foster innovation and collaboration on new lines of legislative scholarship that reflect the broadening perspectives of American lawmakers (and the constituents they serve).
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A conversation with James E. Clyburn

James Clyburn, U.S. House Majority Whip (D-SC), reflects on his experience and offers his perspective on the Biden administration, the prospects for racial progress, and the state of U.S. democracy

James A. Thurber Dialogues on American Democracy

Head shots of speakers

January 29, February 24 and March 24, 2021 | 6 p.m. ET
Via Zoom

To celebrate the illustrious career of Distinguished University Professor James A. Thurber, American University hosted the James A. Thurber Dialogues on American Democracy. In these public conversations, Professor Thurber partnered with leading experts/authorities on democratic vitality to examine the grave dangers that threaten the American Experiment, and examined the precarious-yet-possible pathways to achieving a “more perfect union.”

The first conversation on Friday, January 29 featured U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who is also the author of United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good. Watch the recording here.

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The second conversation in this series featured Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Historian, author of Twilight of Democracy and GULAG: A History. Watch the recording here.

The third and final conversation featured Robert Putnam (renowned political scientist, author of The Upswing and Bowling Alone)and Shaylyn Romney Garrett (co-author with Robert Putnam of The Upswing). Watch the recording here.

This event series was sponsored by American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, the Kennedy Political Union, and the United States Capitol Historical Society.

The Future of the GOP

February 3, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. ET
Via Zoom

The Future of the GOP

Where does the Republican Party go now that Trump has lost? Does it reclaim the mantle of conservatism? Does it continue its populist march? Does it remain in Trump’s grip? CCPS Director David Barker explored these questions with three prominent thought leaders within the GOP:

  • Sara Fagen (CEO of Deep Root Analytics, contributor to ABC News and former White House Political Director)
  • Henry Olsen (Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and columnist for the Washington Post)
  • Tevi Troy (Presidential historian, former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, former Senior White House aide)

Recording of the event is available here or above.

Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore Project

This project will locate and publish letters, from 1844–53, of the twelfth and thirteenth U.S. presidents.
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2019-2020 Understanding Legislative Negotiation Grant Recipients

We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2019-2020 Understanding Legislative Negotiation grants.

2019 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

Simon Heuberger Headshot.CCPS is pleased to announce that Simon Heuberger is the recipient of this year's award. Learn more about Simon.

American University Launches Program on Legislative Negotiation

Launch Event for Program on Legislative Negotiation The Program on Legislative Negotiation addresses the gridlock in Congress and in state legislatures.
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Read the program's latest Request for Proposals: Understanding Legislative Negotiation Research Grants.

David Barker on One Nation, Two Realities

CCPS Director David Barker talked about his book, One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy, and the current political stalemate between Congress and the White House.

Madison Prize Honors Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray

Vicky Wilkins, Sen. Lamar Alexander, and David ScaggsU.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have been named as the inaugural recipients of the Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence by American University School of Public Affairs. The new award recognizes lawmakers who strive for legislative compromise in the same spirit outlined by James Madison in Federalist 10. In an era of extreme polarization in American politics, the Madison Prize is an effort to draw attention to legislators who work across the aisle to resolve difficult issues.
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Congress & the Presidency Journal

Congress and the Presidency: A Journal of Capital StudiesThis publication is an interdisciplinary journal of political science and history, published by American University, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies since 1984. The journal is now being published three times a year. Congress & the Presidency features articles on Congress, the President, the interaction between the two institutions, and national policy-making.
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Contact Us

(202) 885-3491
ccps@american.edu

Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
Kerwin Hall, Room 235
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

Robert Putnam, Shaylyn Romney Garrett, Jim Thurber

Government & Politics ·

Can Today’s Polarized America Come Together Again?

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David Barker

Government & Politics ·

SPA Professor David Barker Tracks Support for Political Protests

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Campaign banner for Whig Party candidates in the national election of 1848, promoting Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore

Research ·

Grants Will Support Publication of Presidential Letters of Taylor and Fillmore

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European Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute students

European Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute

This unique course will introduce students to the art and craft of lobbying in the European Union.

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political signs

American University Magazine American

My Favorites: Rising Political Stars

Top 10 up-and-coming politicians

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Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

The Institute features a two-week intensive course in major aspects of lobbying and political influence.

More about PAAI

James Thurber, middle, sits in the Campaign Management Institute classroom.

Campaign Management Institute

The Campaign Management Institute has become an internationally recognized curriculum in the art and science of campaigning.

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CCPS Video & Audio Clips

  • Setting Limits on Presidential Power Under the Trump Administration

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  • The Transition and the First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency

    Watch the video

Thurber Scholarship Endowment students

Thurber Scholarship Endowment

The James and Claudia Thurber Scholarship Endowment, established by former AU students and colleagues.

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