The 2020 U.S. Election, A View From Canada

Hosted by

The Jackman Humanities Institute


Wondering how to make sense of this historic American presidential election? You’re not alone. Join us for a panel featuring historians, political scientists, and media experts as they weigh in on the significance of the 2020 election for the United States, Canada, and the world. Panelists will discuss the current state of American politics and society, where the 2020 election fits into the long history of American politics, and answer audience questions. 


  • Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, Historian, McGill University
  • Regina Bateson, Political Scientist, University of Ottawa
  • Jason Opal, Historian, McGill University 
  • Jaime Lee Kirtz, Digital Democracies Group, Simon Fraser University

Moderated by:

  • Melissa J. Gismondi, Writer & Journalist, University of Toronto
  • Shira Lurie, Historian, University of Toronto

Please note: Chat will be turned off for this webinar and we'll only be accepting questions ahead of time. If you have a question for the panel, please email before the webinar.


Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey is Assistant Professor of post-Reconstruction U.S. history at McGill University, specializing on the African American experience and African Diaspora in Canada and the Caribbean. His first monograph is entitled Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a pan-African North America, 1919-1992, which is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press. Dr. Adjetey earned his honours B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto, and M.A., M.Phil., and the Ph.D. from Yale University. His dissertation won the Edwin M. Small Prize for "outstanding" contribution to U.S. history; the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Prize for African American History; and the Canadian Studies Prize.

Regina Bateson is a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa. She earned a BA in history from Stanford University and a PhD in political science from Yale University, with support from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Her articles are published or forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, and the Journal of Peace Research. Her research has also been featured in outlets like the New York Times, Ms. Magazine, TIME, and Nautilus. Before moving to Ottawa, she taught in the political science department at MIT. In 2017-2018, Bateson moved back to her hometown and ran for Congress in California's 4th District. She was also previously a Foreign Service Officer for the US Department of State.

Jason Opal took his BA from Cornell University in 1998 and his PhD from Brandeis University in 2004. He is the author ofBeyond the Farm: National Ambitions in Rural New England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), part of which won the Binkley-Stephenson Award from the Organization of American Historians, and of Avenging the People: Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation (Oxford University Press, 2017), which was selected by both the History Book Club and the Military Book Club in the United States and was named one of the "summer's best books" in Law and History by The Timesof London. His new book project, supported by a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant, is Most Noble Island: Three Ages of Barbados in the Early Americas. His writings on American politics and culture, public health, race, and economic policy have appeared in the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles TimesThe Walrus, Time, and Jacobin. He has taught at McGill since 2009 and is now the Chair of the Department of History and Classical Studies.

Jaime-Lee Kirtz is a postdoctoral fellow at the Digital Democracies Institute at Simon Fraser University, specializing in algorithmic culture, platform studies and policy analysis. She earned a BSc in Physics from the University of British Columbia, a MA in English from Concordia University, and a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder with support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She has also worked as a research fellow for the Center for Media, Religion and Culture, and as a Residency Fellow at the University of Toronto McLuhan Center. Her articles have been published in Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology and Digital Humanities Quarterly. She is currently working on a monograph about issues of gendered concealment and exclusion in modern technoculture.


Melissa J. Gismondi is an award-winning writer and multimedia journalist. She is currently the Public Humanities & New Media Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto. Her work appears regularly in The New York Times, The Walrus, The Toronto Star, The Washington Post and on CBC Radio.

Shira Lurie is a political historian of the United States. She is currently the University College Fellow of Early American History at the University of Toronto. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, The Toronto Star, Inside Higher Ed, The Conversation and The Journal of the Early Republic.