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Larson to Offer Historical Perspective on Upcoming Inauguration

Ed Larson

As Americans gear up for the next four years under President-elect Barack Obama, Pepperdine School of Law professor Edward J. Larson will reflect on the events leading up to his inauguration. In a colloquium titled "Historical Reflections on the 2008 Election and the Inauguration of President Obama," Larson, the Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law, will speak at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15, in the Kresge Reading Room at Payson Library.

In this presentation, Larson will explore various aspects of the recent election that are of potential historical significance. "America is making history with the inauguration of Barack Obama as president," he says. "We are passing leadership to a new, younger generation. We have chosen a president with speaking skills that potentially rival those of Lincoln, Kennedy, and Reagan. And, of course, we have chosen our first president who is not of British or Northern European ancestry and in doing so, we have broken a historic color barrier."

Larson will also pontificate on the effects of the shift in power from the Republicans to the Democrats. "We have seen a partisan realignment in Congress and the presidency that may or may not be of enduring significance - America has seen only a handful of realigning elections; could 2008 be another?" he asks.

In addition to teaching law courses in science, technology and health care, Larson has authored seven books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (1997). His other titles include A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (2007), The Creation-Evolution Debate: Historical Perspectives (2007), Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (2004), Evolution's Workshop: God and Science in the Galapagos Islands (2001), Sex, Race, and Science Eugenics in the Deep South (1995), and Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution (1985, 1989, 2003 rev. ed.).

As a history expert, Larson is also frequently interviewed for broadcast and print media, including featured appearances on the Today Show, Booknotes, Nova, PBS News Hour, and various BBC and NPR programs.

The Seaver Faculty Colloquium series highlights new research taking place within the Pepperdine community each month. The event is co-sponsored by the Pepperdine University Libraries, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and the Seaver Faculty Association.

"Dr. Ed Larson is a natural fit for a timely discussion about the historic inauguration that will take place on January 20," says Amy Hunter, director for library advancement and public relations. "Larson's political and historic commentary are vastly well received among members of the academic community, and we look forward to the dialogue that will be stimulated by his reflection on this monumental event."

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Payson Library at (310) 506-7273 or visit the Library Web site.