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Nate Kelly

How do politics affect income inequality in the United States?

Nathan Kelly, associate professor of political science, will shed some light on that question when he presents The Politics of Income and Inequality in the United States at Saturday’s Pregame Showcase prior to the Vols vs. Akron football game.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Carolyn P. Brown University Center Ballroom.

Free and open to the public, each showcase features a 30-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question-and-answer session. All presentations begin two hours before kickoff. A brief reception will be held immediately following each program. Door prizes will be awarded.

A member of the UT faculty since 2005, Kelly focuses his research on the United States’ political system and how the components of the system respond to one another.

“Income inequality has risen dramatically in the past three decades,” Kelly said. “In my presentation, I will examine more than fifty years of income data, focusing on three questions: How much inequality exists and how has it changed over time? Is inequality a problem? And, what makes inequality change over time?

“Drawing on my own research and the work of dozens of prominent sociologists, economists, and political scientists, I will discuss data showing that inequality has risen dramatically, and government policies, along with dramatically changing economic conditions, have played a central role,” Kelly said. “The core conclusion is that we are, to a substantial extent, in control of our own destiny with regard to the gap between the rich and the poor. Regardless of whether you support or oppose rising inequality, or simply don’t see it as an issue, analysis of historical data clearly shows that the political choices that we and our elected leaders make have the potential to either increase of decrease the income gap between the rich and the poor.”

Here’s the lineup for the rest of the season:

  • October 20The Tales Bones Tell. Dawnie Steadman, anthropology professor and director of the Forensic Anthropology Center, also known as the Body Farm, will discuss how the science helps locate and identify crime victims and missing persons. She also will highlight research taking place at the Forensic Anthropology Center.
  • November 3The Authority of Citizens: Its Nature and Limits. David Reidy, professor and head of the philosophy department, will talk about the meaning of citizenship in a democracy, maintaining that in a democracy, citizens together have—as free equals—final political authority.
  • November 10Protecting Our Water Resources: A Microbiologist’s Perspective. Steven Wilhelm, a microbiology professor who has studied large-scale aquatic systems around the world, will talk about how new tools in molecular biology, limnology (the study of inland waters), and oceanography are helping scientists understand how natural water systems work and how we protect our most valuable natural resource: water.
  • November 24Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse. Jay Rubenstein, history professor, former Rhodes Scholar and 2007 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, will explain how apocalyptic thought motivated the Crusaders and why this history is relevant to the modern world.

The Pregame Showcase is supported by WUOT 91.9 FM, the Office of Alumni Affairs, and UT Athletics. For more information, visit

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,