Illinois State University Politics and Government Professor Lane Crothers will deliver the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, in the Bone Student Center Old Main Room. The title of his presentation is Making Tea: The Rise of the American Tea Party.

Crothers earned his Ph.D. in political science at Vanderbilt University and two bachelor’s degrees in English and History at Appalachian State University. Crothers worked at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Eastern Washington University before coming to Illinois State University in 1994.

Crothers’ expertise is in the fields of political culture, political leadership and U.S. foreign policy. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Globalization and American Popular Culture (now in its second edition), Rage on the Right: The American Militia Movement from Ruby Ridge to Homeland Security and Street Level Leadership: Discretion and Legitimacy in Front-Line Public Service as well as several articles in the fields of political culture and political leadership.

Crothers’ research is generally focused on several linked questions. The core of these questions include: how do political values find expression in political life; by what means do citizens interpret and understand the politics they practice; how do their preferences and values manifest themselves (or not) in their actions and in the policies and programs created in the political system. Crothers’ answers to these questions have focused on the areas of political culture and political leadership. He sees political culture as significantly establishing the context in which politics “makes sense” to citizens. Political leaders, promoting policies and programs and working to pass these in the system offer competing visions of what ought to be done and why. Citizens, in supporting some leaders instead of others, advance some values while constraining others.

Crothers’ teaching passions draw life from and inspire his research interests. In addition to regularly offering large sections of the department’s general education American government class, he teaches Political Cultures in the department’s graduate program and has developed and taught undergraduate courses on the US Presidency, US Politics and Culture After Vietnam, and US Politics and Culture After 9/11.

Crothers served as chair of the Illinois State University Academic Senate from 2002-07 and as the inaugural Eccles Centre Visiting Professor of North American Studies at the British Library in London, United Kingdom, from September 2007 to February 2008. He currently serves as Illinois State University’s representative to the Faculty Advisory Council of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. In 2009, he earned the Outstanding Service Award in the College of Arts and Sciences and, in 2010, won the University Outstanding Service Award.