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Political science professor Lydia MiljanPolitical science professor Lydia Miljan will open this year’s Martin Wesley Lecture series with her Oct. 13 presentation “Primate Politics.”

Primal nature of political power subject of lecture

It may be easy to dismiss Donald Trump’s path to the White House as a fluke or accident of history. However, to do so would be to miss an opportunity, says political science professor Lydia Miljan — a chance to examine the nature of why some people are successful at gaining power, while others are not.

“To provide some context into the electoral success of Trump, as well as current Canadian politicians and leaders, we need to go beyond public opinion polls, policy analysis, and traditional electoral politics,” Dr. Miljan says.

She will examine the underlying attributes of what makes a successful leader in a free public lecture entitled “Primate Politics,” on Zoom at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Using Frans de Waal’s 2007 book Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes as inspiration, Miljan aims to identify the similarities of chimpanzee hierarchy and human political campaigns. She merges feminist theory and anthropology to seek understanding of why some individuals are more successful than others in attaining and maintaining leadership.

Miljan has published four books. She edited Counting Votes: Essays on Electoral Reform, wrote Public Policy in Canada, and co-authored Hidden Agendas: How Journalists Influence the News and Cross-Media Ownership and Democratic Practice in Canada.

This address is presented by the Humanities Research Group as part of its Martin Wesley Lecture series and will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Attendance is free but registration is required to receive a link to the event.