Keena Lipsitz

Position: Associate Professor
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center|Queens College
Phone: (718) 997-5263
Curriculum Vitae
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Research Interests: Political communication, political behavior, and democratic theory
Keena Lipsitz is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Queens College, City University of New York. She is the author of Competitive Elections and the American Voter (University of Pennsylvania, 2011) and a co-author of Campaigns and Elections: Rules, Reality, Strategy and Choice (W.W. Norton, 2012) and Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Participation and What We Can Do About It(Brookings Institution, 2005). She has also published numerous articles in the areas of political communication, political behavior, and democratic theory.
Follow the links to see Professor Lipsitz’s curriculum vitae and to access her publications.
Read an interview with Dr. Lipsitz here, from the Fall 2015 issue of our department newsletter, Homo Politicus.


campaigns and electionsJohn Sides, Daron Shaw, Matt Grossman, and Keena Lipsitz, Campaigns and Elections: Rules, Reality, Strategy, and Choice (W.W. Norton, 2012).
A contemporary and comprehensive approach to campaigns and elections.
This new text, written by a respected author team, makes a contemporary approach to campaigns and elections accessible and engaging. Based on the authors’ own courses, Campaigns & Elections uses a clear, consistent framework to help students understand the strategies and choices involved in American campaigns and elections. With coverage of elections at the presidential, congressional, state, and local levels, the book’s analysis balances the perspectives of political scientists and campaign practitioners.
competitive electionsKeena Lipsitz, Competitive Elections and the American Voter (University of Pennsylvania, 2011).
Tight political races with their emotionally charged debates, mud-slinging, and uncertain outcomes are stressful for voters and candidates alike, but that stress may be healthy for democracy. InCompetitive Elections and the American Voter, Keena Lipsitz argues that highly contested electoral battles create an environment that allows citizens to make more enlightened decisions.
The first book to use democratic theory to evaluate the quality of campaign rhetoric, Competitive Elections and the American Voteroffers a rare overview of political contests at different levels of government. Lipsitz draws on a range of contemporary democratic theories, including egalitarian and deliberative conceptions, to develop campaign communication standards. To promote the values of political competition, equality, and deliberation Lipsitz contends that voters must have access to abundant, balanced information, representing a range of voices and involving a high level of dialogue between the candidates. Using advertising data, the book examines whether competitive House, Senate, and presidential campaigns operating at the state level generate such facts and arguments. It also tests the connection between this knowledge and greater voter understanding and engagement. Because close elections can push candidates to attack their opponents, the book investigates how negative advertising affects voters as well. Given the link between electoral competitiveness and an informed electorate, the book includes reform proposals that enhance competition.
Competitive Elections and the American Voter reminds us that we avoid political controversy and conflict at our peril. This eye-opening analysis of political communication and campaign information environments encourages citizens, scholars, and campaign reformers to recognize the crucial role that well contested elections play in a democracy.
democracyatriskKeena Lipsitz, co-author, Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Participation and What We Can Do About It (Brookings Institution, 2005).
Voter turnout was unusually high in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. At first glance, that level of participation—largely spurred by war in Iraq and a burgeoning culture war at home—might look like vindication of democracy. If the recent past is any indication, however, too many Americans will soon return to apathy and inactivity. Clearly, all is not well in our civic life. Citizens are participating in public affairs too infrequently, too unequally, and in too few venues to develop and sustain a robust democracy. This important new book explores the problem of America’s decreasing involvement in its own affairs. D emocracy at Risk reveals the dangers of civic disengagement for the future of representative democracy. The authors, all eminent scholars, undertake three main tasks: documenting recent trends in civic engagement, exploring the influence that the design of political institutions and public policies have had on those trends, and recommending steps that will increase the amount and quality of civic engagement in America. The authors focus their attention on three key areas: the electoral process, including elections and the way people get involved; the impact of location, including demographic shifts and changing development patterns; and the critical role of nonprofit organizations and voluntary associations, including the philanthropy that help keep them going.
This important project, initially sponsored by the American Political Science Association, tests the proposition that social science has useful insights on the state of our democratic life. Most importantly, it charts a course for reinvigorating civic participation in the world’s oldest democracy.
The authors: Stephen Macedo (Princeton University), Yvette Alex-Assensoh (Indiana University), Jeffrey M. Berry (Tufts), Michael Brintnall (American Political Science Association), David E. Campbell (Notre Dame), Luis Ricardo Fraga (Stanford), Archon Fung (Harvard), William A. Galston (University of Maryland), Christopher F. Karpowitz (Princeton), Margaret Levi (University of Washington), Meira Levinson (Radcliffe Institute), Keena Lipsitz (California–Berkeley), Richard G. Niemi (University of Rochester), Robert D. Putnam (Harvard), Wendy M. Rahn (University of Minnesota), Keith Reeves (Swarthmore), Rob Reich (Stanford), Robert R. Rodgers (Princeton), Todd Swanstrom (Saint Louis University), and Katherine Cramer Walsh (University of Wisconsin).
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