Rice professor, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley to discuss 2020 election in virtual town hall

Douglas Brinkley will draw from his well of presidential knowledge Oct. 1 in a virtual town hall, “Reflections on the 2020 Election.”
Douglas Brinkley has been referred to as “a man who knows more about the presidency than just about any human being alive,” fitting for someone who serves as the presidential historian for CNN when he’s not teaching at Rice as the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities.

Brinkley will draw from his well of presidential knowledge Oct. 1 in a virtual town hall, “Reflections on the 2020 Election.” The 4 p.m. forum will be moderated by fellow historian Kathleen Canning, Rice’s dean of humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of History.

“My town hall is a chance for me to use my expertise of U.S. political history in a modern context,” Brinkley said. “As CNN Presidential Historian I’m on top of COVID-19, climate change, China policy, economic recession and all the hot-button issues of our era.”

The online town hall is sponsored by the School of Humanities Dean’s Office and is open to the Rice community and the public, who can submit questions when they register for the event.

Brinkley’s bestselling books on the U.S. presidency include “Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America,” “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America,” “FDR and the Creation of the U.N.” and, most recently, “American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.” He also edited “The Reagan Diaries,” a compilation of daily journals written by President Ronald Reagan while in the White House.

The two courses Brinkley teaches this semester — “The U.S. in the 1960s and 70s” and “20th Century U.S. Presidents” — both cover material highly topical to the upcoming presidential election.

The latter course studies the evolving use of executive power from Theodore Roosevelt to Bill Clinton and analyzes how presidents develop foreign and domestic policy, how they relate to Congress and their cabinets, and how they lead the nation in wartime. Both courses give Rice students context for understanding their voting rights as citizens.

“It’s so important that everybody vote in the 2020 election,” Brinkley said. “I hope Rice students attend the town hall and ask questions on their mind.”

Register for “Reflections on the 2020 Election” and submit your questions here.

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.