Professor Carol M. Swain: American Politics: Structure, Activism And Candidacy


Politics. Just hearing the word gives many of us a headache! Who among us has not experienced frustration, disappointment, even anger at the actions — or failure to act — of our elected officials? Yet the prospect of becoming politically active can be daunting to those of us unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of American Political Structure.

Well, here’s a show to transform you from overwhelmed, to overjoyed by your newfound sense of political empowerment. As today’s Guest Expert, Vanderbilt University Professor Carol M. Swain shares with us, every woman can become a political activist — and, with proper research and support, a political candidate.

Carol M. Swain PhD, MSL, rose from high school dropout with a GED to widely acclaimed University professor. One of twelve children raised in extreme rural poverty in Bedford, Virginia and married at age sixteen, today she is Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University and a member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University, where she was a tenured professor prior to her current position at Vanderbilt. A foundation member of the Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Professor Swain is a member of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is author of several books, including Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress, which won the Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book published in the U. S. on government, politics, or international affairs in 1994. This important book was cited by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Johnson v. DeGrandy, 512 U.S. 997 (1994) and twice by Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor in Georgia V. Ashcroft, 539 U.S.___ (2003). Other books by Professor Swain include The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism In America; and most recently Debating Immigration.

Professor Swain is widely recognized as an expert on race relations, immigration, black leadership, and evangelical politics. Her media appearances include BBC Radio, NPR, CNN’s Andersen Cooper, Fox News Live, PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The Washington Journal, ABC’s Headline News, to name just a few. Her op-eds have appeared in numerous newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, and USA Today. Professor Swain was also a contributor for CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Among Professor Swain’s plans is an autobiography to inspire others to fulfill their highest aspirations. She is a woman who speaks truth to power. You may reach Professor Swain by emailing her at or by visiting her website,

Professor Swain invites women to host neighborhood Tea Parties, at which a reading and discussion of The United States Constitution is held, along with refreshments.

If you host a Constitution Tea Party, please email Professor Swain with your stories and photos. She’d love to hear from you!