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April 3: 'Democracy at Risk' is Topic of Kessel Memorial Lecture

Columbia University Professor Todd Gitlin to give presentation in Ostrander Auditorium.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 3-27-2018

Mankato, Minn. – Todd Gitlin, a media scholar and professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University in New York City, will deliver the 32nd Annual Kessel Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Ostrander Auditorium, located on campus in Centennial Student Union.

Gitlin’s presentation, “Democracy at Risk: The Urgency of Action,” is free and open to the public.

According to his biography, Gitlin, also a novelist and activist, was a leader of the student “New Left” in the 1960s as well as the movement to divest from economic relations with apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. He is today a climate activist and a member of the board of Partners for Progressive Israel, and he writes regularly for many newspapers and magazines. His most recent book is a forthcoming novel, “The Opposition.”

Gitlin is currently the chair of the Ph.D. program in communications at Columbia University. Prior to that, he was a professor of culture, journalism and sociology at New York University for seven years, and before that, he was a professor of sociology and director of the mass communications program at UC Berkeley for 16 years.

During 1994-95, he held the chair in American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has been the Bosch Fellow in Public Policy at the American Academy in Berlin, a resident at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy and at the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, Calif., and a fellow at the Media Studies Center in New York.

He has served as a visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Oslo, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, East China Normal University in Shanghai, the Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis in Tunisia, the American University of Cairo and the Université de Neuchatel (Switzerland).

For more information about the lecture, contact Judie Bjorling, office manager in the University’s Department of Government, at 507-389-2721 or, or Jackie Vieceli, professor of political science, at 507-389-6938 or

Sponsors of the event include the Kessel Memorial Lecture committee and the Department of Government, which are part of Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The annual Kessel Memorial Lecture is held in honor of the late Professor Abbas Kessel, who taught political science at Minnesota State Mankato. Kessel worked tirelessly for peace, human rights and awareness of energy issues. The lecture brings to the Minnesota State Mankato campus scholars and activists who share these commitments.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,712 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 30 colleges and seven universities.

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