Harpur Dean's Distinguished Lecture

The Harpur Dean's Distinguished Lecture was inaugurated in 1998 as an annual forum to feature the exemplary research and scholarly and creative work that is being conducted across the disciplines in Harpur College. These lectures also provide an opportunity for distinguished members of the Harpur College faculty to address an audience of their peers and students, in addition to the wider local community. The Harpur Dean's Distinguished Lecture is open to the public.

*Dean's Distinguished Lecture is co-sponsored by the Binghamton Chapter of United University Professions.

2021-22 Harpur Dean's Distinguished Lecture:

What We Learned about our Governments during this Pandemic

Olga Shvetsova, Professor of Political Science
Monday, March 7, 2022 | 5 PM
Symposium Hall COE 2011
ITC 85 Murray Hill Road

RSVP by March 4: kmaynard@binghamton.edu

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 constituted a unique event when a novel health threat arose simultaneously across global communities and elicited responses from political authorities. Even though eventual peaks of infection occurred at different times in different countries, the threat of a public health disaster became apparent to the governments in all countries at about the same time. Non-medical interventions (NMI) were the primary method to reduce the spread of infection during the entire first year of the pandemic. Despite the well-justified hope that the scientific community would design a vaccine and remedy for this virus, mass vaccination did not begin until the end of 2020 – early 2021. Until then, the public health solutions to the crisis were thus limited to behavioral apparoaches, such as mask-wearing mandates, social distancing, and closure of borders. It was through political decree that government officials put in place protective public health policies ranging from instituting lockdowns to requiring the wearing of face covers. While these interventions were epidemiologically sound, the direct immediate benefits to individuals were difficult to measure, whilst the social and economic costs were immediately apparent. The pandemic thus presented the political incumbents worldwide with a choice situation in terms of what, if any, public health measures they would enact. Different politicians made different choices. What swayed them one way or another? Understanding this would tell us what to expect from our politicians in future crises.

Speaker Bio: Olga Shvetsova studies the interaction between the rules of politics and the strategies of political agents. She holds a Doctorate in Social Science from the California Institute of Technology and has published on federalism (Designing Federalism, with Mikhail Filippov and Peter Ordeshook, Cambridge University Press, 2004), political party systems (Party System Change, with Carol Mershon, Cambridge University Press, 2013), and positive political theory (Formal Modeling in Social Science, with Carol Mershon, Michigan University Press, 2019), and maintains a longstanding research interest in the political economy of health. Recently this interest in health politics combined with the completely novel research opportunities that arose form observing the responses of political elites, government incumbents, and bureaucrats to the public health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her COVID-19 Policy Response Lab in the Department of Political Science published research on governments during the pandemic, which appeared in peer-review outlets in social science and medicine. She is currently working on a compendium on the subject for Palgrave-McMillan.

Past Dean's Distinguished Lectures

Jaimee Wriston Colbert, English and Creative Writing
Flight of the Palila - From Passion to Eco-Fiction, One Writer's Process

2019-20 Matt Johnson, Psychology
Predicting Marital Discord & Divorce
2018-19   Anne Bailey, History
The Weeping Time and Divided America
2017-18 Max Pensky, Philosophy and Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention
Is the Battle Against Impunity Worth Winning?
2016-17 Subal Kumbhakar, Economics
Performance, Productivity and Profit: A Primer
2015-16 Tim Lowenstein, Geological Sciences
Predicting future climate change from study of Earth's past
2014-15 Nancy Um, Art History
A Mosque, a Tomb, and the Arabian Legacy of Coffee
2013-14 Benjamin Fordham, Political Science
Protectionist Empire: Trade, Tariffs, and United States Foreign Policy, 1890­–1914
2012-13 Karin Sauer, Biological Sciences
Disarming Biofilms - How to Turn a Microbe Against Itself
2011-12 Maria Mazziotti Gillan, English
William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and Paterson: Poets of the City
2010-11 Donald Quataert, History
Views from Below and the Writing of Ottoman History
2009-10 Marilynn Desmond, English and Comparative Literature
Transitional Feminism and the Middle Ages
2008-09 J. Koji Lum, Anthropology and Biological Sciences
Human Settlement and Malaria of the Pacific
2007-08 Thomas Dublin, History
The Face of Decline - Deindustrialization in Pennsylvania Anthracite Religion