Jeb Barnes

Professor of Political Science and International Relations

University of Southern California


Turning on Those Who Turn to the Courts: Litigation, Polarization, and What to do About It

This lecture was given on Monday, October 18, 2021, 4:15 p.m.

Jeb BarnesUnderstanding political polarization is central to contemporary American politics.  In this talk, Professor Barnes will discuss the design and results of a recent survey experiment, which he conducted as part of a larger project on the political consequences of American reliance on litigation.  The survey shows that turning to the courts engenders negative and polarized attitudes towards litigants, even when they are seen to have legitimate claims.  Digging deeper into the results, he’ll explore strategies to reduce this effect. Finally, he will step back and reflect on why teaching research design—often seen as “curricular spinach”—is central to modern liberal arts education.

About Jeb Barnes, Ph.D.

Jeb Barnes earned his B.A. in history, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Brown University in 1986, a J.D. from University of Chicago Law School in 1989, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from University of California, Berkeley, in 1995 and 2001, respectively. He serves as professor of political science and international relations at University of Southern California, a position he has held since 2017.

About the Cherry Award

The Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching honors outstanding professors in the English-speaking world who are distinguished for their ability to communicate as classroom teachers. Individuals nominated for the award should have a proven record as an extraordinary teacher with a positive, inspiring, and long-lasting effect on students, along with a record of distinguished scholarship.