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James Thurber

Distinguished Professor Department of Government

James A. Thurber James A. Thurber is University Distinguished Professor of Government and Founder (1979) and Founder and Former Director (1979-2016) of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies ( and Affiliate Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Policy at American University, Washington, D.C. He is author of numerous books and more than eighty articles and chapters on Congress, interest groups and lobbying, and campaigns and elections. His book American Gridlock: The Sources, Character and Impact of Political Polarization (with Antoine Yoshinaka) was published Cambridge University Press in December 2015. He is an author or editor of Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations (2017, 6th Ed.), Campaigns and Elections, American Style (with Candice J. Nelson, 2013, 5th Ed.), Obama in Office (2011), Congress and the Internet (with Colton Campbell, 2002), The Battle for Congress: Consultants, Candidates, and Voters (2001), Crowded Airwaves: Campaign Advertising in Elections (with Nelson and David A. Dulio, 2000), Campaign Warriors: Political Consultants in Elections (2000), Remaking Congress: The Politics of Congressional Stability and Change (with Roger Davidson, 1995), Divided Democracy: Cooperation and Conflict Between Presidents and Congress (1991), and Setting Course: A Congressional Management Guide (with Chaleff, Loomis, Light, and Serota, first three editions starting in 1988, 1990, and 1992). Dr. Thurber earned a BS in political science from the University of Oregon and Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University and was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in 1973-74. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration


PhD Indiana University
MA Indiana University
BA University of Oregon

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SPA - Government
Kerwin Hall - 236
Contact Info
(202) 885-6247

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For the Media
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  • Spring 2018

    • GOVT-023 The Art and Craft of Lobbying: Public Affairs & Advocacy Inst
    • Description
    • GOVT-524 Topics in Pub Affairs/Advocacy: Workshop on Ethics & Lobbying
    • Description
  • Summer 2018

    • GOVT-023 The Art and Craft of Lobbying: Public Affairs & Advocacy Inst
    • Description
  • Fall 2018

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • The Contemporary Presidency: Changing the Way Washington Works?  Assessing President Obama’s Battle with Lobbyists,” Presidential Studies  Quarterly, 41, no. 2 (June), 2011, pp. 358-374
  • Obama in Office (Paradigm Publishers, 2010)(Editor).
  • Campaigns and Elections: American Style (Editor with Candice Nelson) (Westview Press, 3rd Edition, 2010).
  • Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 4th edition, 2009)(Editor).
  • Campaign Warriors: Political Consultants in Elections (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2000) (Editor with Candice Nelson).
  • Improving How Washington Works (Washington, DC: CED, July 2008).
  • The Battle for Congress: Candidates, Consultants and Voters, (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution Press, 2001) (Editor).
  • Congress and the Internet (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2003) (Editor with Colton Campbell).


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