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East Bay

The 22nd Annual Travers Conference on Ethics and Accountability in Government

Is America Breaking Apart?

The 2019 Travers Conference will bring together experts from around the country to assess the question of whether America is breaking apart politically. There is a sense among some that Americans are more divided than at any time since the Civil War. The conference will consider the nature of these divisions, how deep and genuine they really are, and how they are affecting governance. It will include three panels: "Divisions in the Public, Imagined or Real?"; "Prospects for Governing Amid Polarization"; and "Identity and Politics in a Changing America."

10:15–10:25 a.m.: Introductory Remarks
10:30–11:45 a.m.: Divisions in the Public, Imagined or Real?
While there is little doubt that political elites in Washington, D.C. are highly polarized by party, to what extent are ordinary Americans ideologically divided? This panel will consider the extent to which policy preferences, partisanship and geography separate the country into different political camps.

  • Morris P. Fiorina (Stanford)
  • Leah Stokes (UCSB)
  • Jessica Trounstine (UC Merced)

11:45–1 p.m.: Lunch Break
Lunch provided for conference participants and attendees

1:15–2:30 p.m.: Identity and Politics in a Changing America?
Many attributed Donald Trump’s election to a backlash against growing racial diversity in America. What is the relationship between demographic diversification and political change? What are the prospects for division or unity going forward?

  • Marisa A. Abrajano (UCSD)
  • Patrick Egan (NYU)
  • Vincent Hutchings (University of Michigan)
  • Ashley E. Jardina (Duke) 

2:45–4 p.m.: Prospects for Governing Amid Polarization? 
Does polarization inevitably result in gridlock and paralysis? What are the prospects for finding solutions to pressing policy challenges in today’s divided Washington?

  • Pamela Ban (UCSD)
  • Steven Hayward (UCB)
  • Jack Pitney (Claremont McKenna)

Registration must be done through UC Berkeley at


FREE; lunch provided to registered participants

Hosted by the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley

In cooperation with The Commonwealth Club of California

April 12, 2019

Bancroft Hotel
2680 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, 94704
United States