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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 18, 2006

Loewenberg To Give 2006 Presidential Lecture

Gerhard Loewenberg, emeritus professor and University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Political Science, will present the 23rd annual Presidential Lecture, "Paradoxes of Legislatures," Sunday, Feb. 5. The lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. in the 4th Floor Assembly Rooms, Levitt Center for University Advancement and is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Loewenberg, who retired in 2003 after more than 30 years on the political science faculty, will explain some apparently contradictory characteristics of legislatures that make them the objects of misunderstanding and often of ridicule.

"For example, though they are intended to be the most democratic political institution, in most countries they are the most unpopular and their procedures are mystifying to most citizens," Loewenberg said. "Though they are non-hierarchical, their large numbers of members, each representing a limited constituency, are expected to act efficiently and to serve the national interest. I will examine the sources of these contradictions, how legislatures deal with them and the consequences for democracy."

The Maia Quartet will provide music for the event, performing the first movement of Beethoven's String Quartet in B-flat major, op. 18 no. 6. Tricia Park and Katie Wolfe will play violin, Elizabeth Oakes will play viola and Hannah Holman will play cello.

Loewenberg is a founder and co-editor of the research journal Legislative Studies Quarterly, which is now the official journal of the Legislative Studies subsection of the American Political Science Association. And he directs the UI's Comparative Legislative Research Center and served from 1990-2000 as vice chair of the East-West Parliamentary Practice Project, which assists emerging democracies with the shift from single-party to multiparty parliaments.

He has published numerous scholarly books and journal articles, and his colleagues worldwide consider him a leading authority on European parliaments.

Loewenberg received his doctorate in political science from Cornell University in 1955 and taught at Mt. Holyoke College before joining the faculty at Iowa in 1970. He served as chair of the Department of Political Science from 1982 to 1984 and as dean of the CLAS from 1984 to 1992.

He is a recipient of the Frank J. Goodnow Award for Distinguished Service from the American Political Science Association and of the UI's Hancher-Finkbine Medallion. In 2005 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Presidential Lecture series provides an opportunity for distinguished faculty to present significant aspects of their work to members of the university community and to the general public. The university established this annual series to encourage intellectual communication among academic disciplines, and to provide a public forum for university scholarship, research, and creative achievement.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,