Professor Hahrie Han

Johns Hopkins Political Scientist Kicks Off 2020 Banks Lecture Series

The 2020 Keith and Debra Banks Endowed Lecture Series will get underway next week with a talk titled, “Building Power for Social Change,” featuring Professor Hahrie Han, Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Director of the P3 Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University.

Han specializes in the study of organizing, movements, civic engagement and democracy. As democracies the world over find themselves in a “movement moment,” or moment when activism and protest of all kinds is spilling into the public arena, Han will discuss how protest turns into durable social change, using specific cases of social change in the 21st century to talk about ways in which civic engagement and participation can translate into political power.

The discussion will be moderated by Diane Wong, Assistant Professor of Political Science at RU-N, and Nakeefa Garay, a doctoral candidate in RU-N's Global Urban Studies Program.

Han has been a prolific scholar and writer. Her newest book, due out this fall from the University of Chicago Press, is titled, Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America. Her other books include How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st Century; Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America; and Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation and Inequality in American Politics. Her award-winning work has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Sociological Review American Journal of Sociology, and numerous other outlets, including The New York Times and Washington Post.

"Professor Han's work on organizing, movement and social change is so incredibly urgent and speaks to the power of human relationships and collective activism,” said Wong. “I am hopeful that the conversation can provide some clarity during this historical moment of crisis, revolution and transformation."

Professor Han's work on organizing, movement and social change is so incredibly urgent and speaks to the power of human relationships and collective activism.

The lecture series was created with a pledge of $100K to SASN in 2013 by alumnus Keith Banks (NCAS ’77), who grew up in Nutley, NJ, and studied economics as an undergraduate at RU-N.

Banks currently is serving as Vice Chairman and Head of the Investment Solutions Group at Bank of America, where he oversees the Chief Investment Office, Alternative Investments and Specialty Asset Management, Capital Markets divisions, and the products and platforms supporting Merrill, Bank of America Private Bank and Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions—representing total client balances of more than $3 trillion.

Banks has been donating time, expertise and money to his alma-mater for years. He made his first gift to Rutgers in 1987 in support of the Newark College of Arts and Sciences. Since then, he and his wife, Debra, have been generous donors, establishing scholarships for the university’s Honors Living-Learning Community, the Department of Economics, and the School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, as well as the endowed speaker series in economics.

He has found other ways to give back to Rutgers as well, speaking at Rutgers Business School events and supporting the economics department’s Fed Challenge Team by hosting practice sessions for the team in the Bank of America Tower in midtown Manhattan, with a panel of fellow RU-N alumni from the financial services industry.

In November 2019, Banks was inducted into the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni, one of the most prestigious honors the university bestows upon its graduates.

The first named endowed speaker series in SASN history, the Banks lectures kicked off in 2015, bringing two or three high-profile experts from various industries to RU-N annually. The lectures are open to all the public and include at least one expert on economics each year.

This year’s first Keith and Debra Banks Endowed Lecture will take place on Wednesday, September 30, 2:30–3:50pm. For more details and to register in advance, visit here.