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International Seminar Series: In Search of a New National Story
Dr. Maxime Larive, Associate Director of The European Union Center at UIUC, will present “In Search of a New National Story? The Workings of the U.S. and French Presidential Elections”
The seats at the White House and the Elysee Palace are up for grabs. Transatlantic partners, France and the United States, are currently in election mode for the appointment of their next presidents. In the US, American citizens will be voting in November, while French citizens will follow in May 2017. Both political systems are quite distinct due to country specific historical and political developments, but in both cases the political parties play a central role.
Throughout the Fifth Republic, the alternation of power has shifted from the right wing party (Les Republicains) to the left wing party (the Socialist Party) without any major interruptions with the exception of the 2002 presidential race. But this upcoming presidential election appears quite different from those of the past. The Western political tone and domestic mood have led to a new normal symbolized in recent elections, such as the UK rejection of its membership to the European Union, the near victory of the extreme right in the Austrian presidential election, the rise of the nationalist fringe overtaking the Party of Lincoln in the United States, and the rise of populist parties throughout the European Union.
In France, as some other countries, mainstream political parties (right and left combined) have been unable to rigorously and meaningfully govern since 2007, creating a political void allowing the extreme right (Le Front National) to emerge as a leading political force shaping the political tone and direction of the country. The recent European, regional and national elections in France have highlighted a highly volatile political climate reflecting a confused electorate in search of direction and national meaning. In the US, the two terms of President Obama have broadened the gap between Democrats and Republicans, white Americans and minorities voters despite a slow economic growth and a relative maintenance of the global status of the US. Interestingly enough, the American political model embedded in a two-party system appears to be confronting a similar political void than the much more open and multi-party model of the French Republic. By reflecting primarily on the French model, and comparing it to the US system, one will be able to analyze the forces behind the current power vacuum in the societies of the Euro-Atlantic community.
Maxime H. A. Larive, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of the European Union Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of “Debating European Security and Defense Policy. Understanding the Complexity.” He was also a Consultant for the European Commission/PPMI serving as the country expert for the U.S. on a global project studying the public perception of the EU/Europe in several strategic countries.
In accordance with the International Strategic Plan, Illinois State University is in the process of developing campus-wide global learning goals. This is an exciting time of growth and change for the ISU community. Comprehensive campus internationalization, as it is called, goes far beyond study-abroad trips and international student recruitment. It includes the expansion of internationally-oriented courses, clubs, dining, housing, civic engagement and other activities at our home campus and affiliated locations. This past Spring, the Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) dedicated its International Studies Seminar Series to the topics of Global Learning with a focus on Global Engagement. This Fall, we will examine The U.S. Presidential Election, its Global Implications, and its Comparative Perspectives. The International Studies Seminar Series will be held on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00pm in the Bone Student Center at 100 N. University St., Normal, IL 61761, starting August 31st and ending on November 16th. Students, staff, faculty, and community members are all encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Dr. Maria Schmeeckle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 438-2932.
This is part of the continuing International Studies Seminar Series sponsored by the Office of International Studies and Programs. Small snacks will be served.