PSPA department head to speak at MSU’s annual Constitution Day event Friday

Contact: Aspen Harris

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s head of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration is the featured speaker Friday [Sept. 15] during the university’s annual Constitution Day program.

Brian Shoup portrait
Brian Shoup (Photo by Megan Bean)

Professor Brian Shoup will discuss “The Purity Problem: Partisan Sorting and the Dangerous Quest for Political Authenticity,” at 1 p.m. in Fowlkes Auditorium on the third floor of Colvard Student Union. The event is free to all.

Constitution Day celebrates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1789. Federal law requires all publicly funded educational institutions to recognize the occasion by offering programming on the Constitution’s history and principles.

Shoup said the country’s constitutional republic is a “remarkable” form of government, but “it is only as successful as the commitment to the virtues of temperance and wisdom.”

“Unfortunately, the contemporary moment is defined in large part by technological and structural changes that reduce our commitments to the virtues upon which successful republics rely. The felt need for ‘authenticity’ in our leaders, coupled with the demands our increasingly polarized ideological movements make upon us, represents a threat to the functioning of our form of government,” Shoup said. “In this presentation, these factors will be explored as will potential solutions that can help strengthen our civic bonds.”

Sponsored by MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, the PSPA department and the Lamar Conerly Governance Forum, Shoup’s presentation is part of the university’s Conerly Governance Lecture Series.

The lecture is part of a series made possible by major support from Lamar Conerly, a 1971 MSU accounting/pre-law graduate and longtime partner with the Destin, Florida, law firm of Conerly, Bowman and Dykes LLP. Conerly is a former national MSU Alumni Association president and College of Business Alumni Fellow.

Shoup received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Creighton University and his Ph.D in political science with a focus in comparative politics and public policy from Indiana University. With research interests in ethnic conflict, state and nation-building, and Sub-Saharan African politics, he authored the 2007 work “Conflict and Cooperation in Multi-Ethnic States: Institutional Incentives, Myths, and Counterbalancing,” and also co-edited “U.S.-Indian Strategic Cooperation into the 21st Century: More than Words.”

His work has appeared in journals and publications such as Perspectives on Politics, Democratization, Journal of Democracy, and Commonwealth and Comparative Politics.

For more on MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and the PSPA department, visit and, respectively.

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