American Politics Speaker Series: The Unequal Landscape of Civic Opportunity in America


Friday, March 25, 2022, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Virtual, Registration Required

The ability of the global community to address some of its most pressing challenges, from climate change to the coronavirus pandemic, has been stymied by public unwillingness to engage in measures (such as vaccines or climate mitigation activities) designed to support the common good. Scholars have speculated that dense civic infrastructure in a community may make people more likely to adopt publicly-oriented behaviors, but empirical research on this point remains unclear. History shows that civic infrastructure can be a crucible of either pro-social, publicly-oriented democratic norms and behaviors, or anti-social, authoritarian ones. Previous research has lacked the data to be able to differentiate between the two. Mining administrative, social media, and other data about the roughly two million civic organizations across the United States, however, shows that inequalities in particular types of civic infrastructure help explain variation in things like vaccine hesitancy and the emergence of mutual aid—and provide insight into society’s ability more generally to engage people in pro-democratic, other-regarding behaviors.


Join us for an American Politics Speaker Series seminar with Professor Hahrie Han of Johns Hopkins University as she discusses her research, co-authored with Milan de Vries.

This event will be held virtually and is open to Harvard-ID holders.

Click here to register

The Ash Center encourages individuals with disabilities to participate in its events. Should you wish to enquire about an accommodation, please contact our events team at prior to the event. 

About the Speaker

Hahrie Han is the Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Director of the P3 Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in the study of organizing, movements, civic engagement, and democracy. In 2022, she was named a Social Innovation Thought Leader of the Year by the World Economic Forum's Schwab Foundation. Her latest book was published by the University of Chicago Press in July 2021, entitled Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America. She has previously published three books: How Organizations Develop ActivistsGroundbreakers: How Obama's 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in Americaand, Moved to ActionHer award-winning work has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and numerous other outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a fifth book, to be published with Knopf (an imprint of Penguin Random House), about faith and race in America, with a particular focus on evangelical megachurches.


About the Series

The American Politics Speaker Series (APSS) aims to bring together scholars who are doing research on important questions related to American democracy. Hosted jointly with the Center for American Political Studies and chaired by Professors Maya Sen, Benjamin Schneer, and Justin de Benedictis-Kessner, each session will highlight a scholar whose research is at the forefront of the study of American politics.