Michael Lansing interviewed on history of North Dakota, Minnesota caucuses

TheForumOfFargoMoorhead - logoThe Forum of Fargo-Moorhead recently published an article on North Dakota’s short-lived presidential primary and its return to the current caucus system. Included in the article were statements by Michael Lansing, author and associate professor of history at Augsburg College.

Lansing said that since North Dakota returned to the caucus system in 1935, the state “has even less of a role in primary races than ever.”

He added, “The same is true of many Upper Midwest states.”

Read: Robin Huebner reports: ND’s place in presidential primary history on the Forum website.

 

Andy Aoki helps answer WCCO’s “Good Question”

WCCO - logoWCCO recently sought counsel from Andy Aoki, professor and department chair of political science at Augsburg College, to answer a viewer’s question about the timing of the New Hampshire Primary and the Iowa Caucus.

“Why do Iowa and New Hampshire vote first?” was the focus of the recent Good Question segment.

Aoki provided a straightforward answer.

“Today, they’re first because they want to be,” he said before explaining the history of the events in more detail. The segment goes on to explain how the advent of television turned the previously ignored New Hampshire primary into a nation-wide media spectacle. This prompted the state to pass a law requiring that they remain the first to select a candidate.

How did Iowa end up voting earlier? “Technically, New Hampshire is the first primary and Iowa is the first caucus, so they’ve worked out a little agreement,” Aoki explained.

Read and watch: Good Question: Why Do Iowa & New Hampshire Vote First? on the WCCO site.

Michael Lansing interview appears on South Dakota Public Broadcasting

SDPBRadio - logoMichael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College, was interviewed by South Dakota Public Broadcasting for the Dakota Midday radio program. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics,” which presents the history of the Nonpartisan League as a model for future political movements.

Lansing describes the League as a grassroots organization started by Midwestern farmers in 1915 who were getting “ripped-off” by the large grain milling and transportation corporations in the region.

“I know that’s pretty strong language,” he said. “But if you look at the evidence in retrospect, it’s rather true.”

Listen to: Dakota Midday: Insurgent Democracy (13 minutes) on the SDPB Radio site.

MPR News interviews political volunteer Natalie Shaw ’16

mprNEWS - logoMinnesota Public Radio News recently published an article and audio interview with Natalie Shaw ’16, a student at Augsburg College who has been volunteering for Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Shaw recently went door-to-door in Des Moines, Iowa, encouraging voters to turn out in support of Clinton at the state’s Democratic caucus slated for February 1.

Despite the cold weather, Shaw says she receives a warm welcome from nearly everyone who opens their door. “Iowans are just such amazing people,” she said. “You call them up… and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, come over, have dinner.'”

Shaw credits her father’s volunteer work during John Kerry’s 2004 campaign as the impetus for her love of politics and political organizing.

Read and listen: Iowa in January? You bet, says 21-year-old political volunteer on the MPR News site.

Sabo Center sponsors rebirth of legendary drug store political conversations

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThe Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published an article covering the return of pharmacist Tom SenGupta’s well-known political conversations. Once held after hours at a St. Paul Schneider Drug, a pharmacy SenGupta owned and operated from 1972 to 2015, the new public forum will be held at the Common Table and hosted by Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship. SenGupta’s conversations were known for their rational tone and the makeup of their participants, which ranged from former Sen. Paul Wellstone and other local politicians, to university professors and the general public.

At a recent planning meeting, SenGupta and his partners decided upon the first topic for the talks, which will be held Thursday, January 21, with a discussion of the legacy of slavery in America. “America is a mature society now. Can we finally confront our history of slavery?” SenGupta asked.

Known for his friendly, inspirational demeanor, the former pharmacist intends to let those who show up for the talks decide what their outcomes will be and what future work they will inspire. He does hope that the new round of discussions will be more bipartisan, saying, “Oh, we had plenty of Republicans come, but not Republican candidates. I invited them, but they never came.”

Read: A welcome return of drug-store democracy on the Star Tribune site.

Michael Lansing interviewed by Prairie Public Broadcasting

Prairie Public Television logoMichael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College, recently was interviewed on Prairie Pulse, a program on Prairie Public Television. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics,” which examines both the history of the Nonpartisan League and its lasting effects on politics and community organizing. In the 25-minute interview, Lansing speaks about the genesis of the book, his research process, women’s involvement in the League, and many other topics.

Watch: Prairie Pulse 1308: Michael Lansing on Prairie Public Broadcasting’s YouTube channel.

Theater department takes on the challenges of Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays

365theaterBy Wendi Wheeler ’06

Imagine writing one play every day for a year. Also imagine the challenges presented to 14 actors each playing several roles in 54 plays presented in one evening. That is the task of the cast of Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 Days/365 Plays, directed by Augsburg theater professor Martha Johnson.

In the fall of 2002, Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks decided to take on the challenge of writing one play a day for a full year. 365 Days/365 Plays is the successful result, featuring 365 short plays exploring such divergent topics as sex, war, fairy tales, Indian mythology, American historical figures, love, politics, race, contemporary celebrities—and numerous other issues from American life. Continue reading “Theater department takes on the challenges of Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays”

A reflection from Namibia

katelyn_abroadKatelyn Danelski ’12 [right] spent the fall semester studying at the Center for Global Education center in Windhoek, Namibia. The following is her reflection on the experience, written after her return to Minnesota.

*****

“How was your trip,” people ask me. “I hope you had a good time,” they say.  This past semester spent studying abroad in southern Africa with 14 other university students was so much more than just a “trip” or a “good time.” It was a life-changing set of experiences. Homestays, speakers, traveling, classes, and conversations all took me and others to new places and perspectives on spiritual, geographical, and personal levels. Continue reading “A reflection from Namibia”