Miller Center Conference Oct. 26-27 to Examine Presidential History

In anticipation of Election Day, some of the nation’s top social scientists and historians will offer their unique perspectives on U.S. presidential history at a two-day conference convened by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center Oct. 26-27.

The conference, “Recasting Presidential History,” seeks to jump-start a new generation of scholarship about the presidency that capitalizes on key insights of leading scholars, many of whom have not concentrated on the presidency. Groundbreaking work in sub-disciplines, ranging from cultural to social history, have created new frameworks that can inform and enrich work on the presidency

Key themes of the conference will include how presidents have tried to reform economic, social, global and political structures; how presidents have shaped and been shaped by cultural trends; how presidents have portrayed and sought to harness the media; and how they have interacted with the world.

The Miller Center’s Brian Balogh, Dorothy Danforth Compton Professor of History in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences, will co-chair the conference with Bruce Schulman of Boston University’s American Political History Institute.

Other participants include Stephen Skowronek, political science professor at Yale University; William Galston, senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution; James Kloppenberg, professor of American civilization at Harvard University; Susan Douglas, professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan; David Greenberg, associate professor of history, journalism and media studies at Rutgers University; John Judis, senior editor at The New Republic; and Allison Silver, executive editor of opinion at Reuters.

On Oct. 26, panelists will explore the state of the field of presidential study, presidents and the political structure, presidents and the economy, and presidents in the world. The panel on presidents in the world will serve as the Miller Center’s Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy, named for the former U.S. ambassador to Australia.

On Oct. 27, discussions will focus on presidents and the social structure, presidents and the culture of politics, presidents and the media, and future steps for presidential study.

“Recasting Presidential History,” which will take place at the Miller Center, is free and open to the public. For a complete agenda, click here. A live webcast of the entire conference will be available at

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