Alan Draper grew up in New York City, graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and then went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. His work covers American political development, labor history, and the civil rights movement.
He has published op-eds in the New York Times, USA Today, and other newspapers; was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Professor at the University of Innsbruck (2011); co-authored The Politics of Power: An Introduction to American Politics (7th edition), The Good Society: An Introduction to Comparative Politics (3rd edition), and authored A Rope of Sand: The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education, 1955-1967 (Praeger,1989) and Conflict of Interests: Organized Labor and the Civil Rights Movement in the South, 1954-1968 (Cornell University Press,1994), which was recognized as an Outstanding Book on Human Rights by the Gustavas Myers Center.
His most recent published work includes: "Class and Politics in the Mississippi Movement: An Analysis of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Delegation,"in the Journal of Southern History (May 2016); "The Historiographies of the Labor and Civil Rights Movements: At the Intersection of Parallel Lines,"in an edited collection entitled, Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Class, Race, and Power (University Press of Florida, 2018), pp 273-285; and "Organized Labor and the Civil Rights Movement", in The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History , Main. Ed. Jon Butler. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 1-20.
He was awarded a second Fulbright to teach at the University of Coimbra in Portugal from February through June, 2020. He is anxious to share his expertise on American politics while he is abroad and has prepared to two talks to do so. One is entitled, “The Politics of Rage: Donald Trump, American Politics an the 2020 Elections.” It examines why Trump won in 2016, analyzes the defeat his party suffered in the midterm elections two years later, describes the distinctive aspects of Trump’s presidency, and, finally, anticipates what to expect in the approaching 2020 presidential elections. Trump has been a disruptive president. The 2020 elections will determine whether he will be a transformative one.
The second talk is entitled, “The Divided Soul of American Liberalism” and draws on his research in labor history and on the civil rights movement. It argues that the two souls of American liberalism—economic justice represented by unions and racial justice represented by the civil rights movement—began to diverge in the 1960s. The first soul of liberalism defended bedrock union principles as essential to economic equality, while the second condemned them as contributing to racial inequality. Race and class, which previously were mutually reinforcing, were now in tension. The divergence of these struggles gave rise to the resurgence of conservatism, culminating in the election of Donald Trump.