“Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” Author to Speak March 11

Harvard University political scientist Robert Putnam will discuss the impact of the opportunity gap on children

Robert Putnam

Robert Putnam will discuss his new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” on March 11.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Harvard University political scientist Robert Putnam, whose research on the impact of the growing inequality gap on children has been called groundbreaking, will speak at UC Riverside on Friday, March 11.

Putnam will discuss his new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” at 5:30 p.m. in Highlander Union Building 302. A pre-lecture reception is scheduled from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required as seating is limited and may be made online. Parking is free and permits will be provided by a parking attendant.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) will introduce Putnam, who was one of the congressman’s professors at Harvard, and Thomas Smith, dean of the UCR Graduate School of Education, will moderate a question-and-answer at the end of the lecture.

“Robert Putnam is among the best, and most respected, scholars in the country,” said Ron Loveridge, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development at UCR.

The political scientist is best known for his book “Bowling Alone,” in which he warns that Americans have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and democratic structures, and that plummeting social capital is impoverishing our lives and communities.

His newest book, “Our Kids,” focuses on why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility.

Jason DeParle of the New York Times Book Review wrote that in “Our Kids” “Putnam brings his talent for launching a high-level discussion to a timely topic – the state of upward mobility. Widening income gaps, he argues, have brought profound but under-appreciated changes to family life, neighborhoods, and schools in ways that give big advantages to children at the top and make it even harder for those below to work their way up.”

This opportunity gap “is a compelling question facing our kids in the city of Riverside and in Inland Southern California,” Loveridge said. “I hope the issues raised by ‘Our Kids’ will be the focus of a sustained policy conversation among those who care about K-12 education and upward mobility/social inequality.”

Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association.  He has received numerous scholarly honors, including the Skytte Prize, the most prestigious global award in political science, and the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities.  He has written 14 books, translated into more than 20 languages, including “Bowling Alone and “Making Democracy Work,”  both among the most cited publications in the social sciences in the last half century. “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” co-authored with David E. Campbell, won the American Political Science Association’s 2011 Woodrow Wilson award as the best book in political science.

The event is sponsored by the UCR School of Public Policy, Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, Graduate School of Education, Political Economy Seminar and Blum Initiative on Global and Regional Poverty; the Riverside County Office of Education; the Riverside Unified School District; Congressman Takano; County of Riverside; Altura Credit Union; Alvord Unified School District; City of Riverside; and Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Mark Manalang
Tel: (951) 827-5656
E-mail: mark.manalang@ucr.edu

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