October 22, 2008, 7:00 PM
The Design of Influence: How Images and Words Sway Minds
Participants: Steve Brodner, Steven Heller (moderator), Paul Starr, Jason Young
Much as we desire elections and political discussions to be entirely devoted to the issues at hand, it is inevitable that political campaigns will continue to be steered, in part, by managers, marketers, and advisers whose goal is to market a campaign as a product. Entire campaigns have been won or lost by a choice of words or conspicuous imagery. Even the typeface of a campaign may influence the attitudes of voters in ways more subtle than they can discern. The last in a three-part series, The Art and Science of Politics, this discussion will examine the many ways—from the overt to the subtle—that politics and political influence are designed.
Steve Brodner is a caricaturist and illustrator living in New York. His work has appeared in most major publications in the United Sates and Canada for the last 30 years, but is now mostly closely associated with The New Yorker, for which he has been a regular contributor for 16 years. This political season he has covered the presidential campaign in print as well as on the web with The Naked Campaign series for newyorker.com. He is the recipient of many awards, most recently the Reuben Award for magazine illustration in 2007. He is currently the subject of a career retrospective at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Connecticut.
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, and co-counder of the MFA in Design Criticism. He was Art Director at the New York Times for 33 years and now writes the "Visuals" column for the Book Review. He is the author of over 100 books on graphic design and popular and visual culture, including a series of books on art deco graphics, a biography of Paul Rand, and a critical history of the Swastika. He is currently writing Iron Fists: Branding the Totalitarian State, for which he has been collecting the graphic artifacts and detritus of the 20th century's principal dictatorships.
Paul Starr is Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a liberal magazine about politics, policy, and ideas. At Princeton he holds the Stuart Chair in Communications and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. He received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American History for The Social Transformation of American Medicine, and the 2005 Goldsmith Book Prize for The Creation of the Media. His most recent book, Freedom's Power, on the history and promise of liberalism, will be out in paperback in spring 2008. Professor Starr has written extensively on American society, politics, and both domestic and foreign policy.
Jason Young is a Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College. He has taught and conducted research in the areas of attitudes and persuasion, political psychology, and evolutionary influences on social behavior. His research examines how our emotions influence (though some might argue "kidnap") our perceptions and judgments involving behaviors in the areas of safer sex, personal finances, and politics. He has spoken frequently on the role and influence of fear in both the news media and political campaigns, as it shapes the public's perceptions of issue importance.
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