Published: Jan. 14, 2021

CU Boulder experts are available to speak on a range of topics related to the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, new administration policy priorities and more. 

Musical selection

Susan Thomas is the director of the American Music Research Center and a professor of musicology who specializes in the study of American popular music.  She can discuss the role of music in U.S. presidential inaugurations and the use of music to shape political culture and identity.

News coverage

Liz Skewes, chair of the department of journalism, can discuss the unique challenges— including threats of physical violence— journalists face covering politics right now. Skewes is a former political reporter and author of Message Control: How News Is Made on the Presidential Campaign Trail.

Coping with mental health issues

Sona Dimidjian, a professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Reneé Crown Wellness Institute, can discuss how to cope with mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, in the wake of the violence at the U.S. Capitol and as inauguration day approaches. 

The Psychology of political polarization

Leaf Van Boven, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, can discuss the psychology behind political polarization and how to talk to friends and relatives with different viewpoints. Van Boven’s research rests at the intersection of psychology and politics, exploring why people make the decisions they do and what drives allegiances. It has shown repeatedly that Democrats and Republicans have more in common than they think they do. 

Immigration and citizenship 

President Elect Biden is set to propose a series of immigration policy reforms, including an 8-year path to citizenship for many immigrants currently living in the U.S. Ming Hsu Chen is an associate professor and faculty director of Colorado Law’s Immigration and Citizenship Law program. She can talk about how Congress, local governments and even universities can act proactively to protect “Dreamers.”

National Prayer Breakfast

Deborah Whitehead is an associate professor of religious studies at CU Boulder who specializes in the study of U.S. religions. She can discuss the National Prayer Breakfast and the history of church/state relations in the U.S.

Racial and gender equity

Celeste Montoya, an associate professor in the Department of Women and Gender Studies, can discuss the role that social movements - including the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter - played in the 2020 election, as well as the composition and policy agenda of the incoming administration. 

Role of science 

President-elect Joe Biden this week elevated the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to a cabinet-level position for the first time. Science policy expert Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies, can discuss the significance of this change and the role science may play for the incoming administration.

Climate policy

Alice Madden, executive director of the University of Colorado Law School’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment, can discuss the Biden administration’s likely efforts to reverse Trump administration rollbacks of environmental protections. She can also discuss likely new climate policies and politics.

The rise of the alt-right

Ben Teitlebaum, an assistant professor of ethnomusicology and international affairs, can discuss the rise of the alt-right movement, the relationship between President Donald Trump and former campaign advisor Steve Bannon and the possibility of a last-minute Bannon pardon. Teitlebaum is an alt-right scholar and author of War for Eternity: Inside Bannon’s Far-right Circle of Global Power Brokers.

Maureen Kosse, a PhD student in the Department of Linguistics, studies the online behavior of the alt-right, particularly the relationship between alt-right memes and white nationalist conspiracy theories like "white genocide." She can speak about the language of white nationalists and the role of dog whistles from the linguistic perspective.