Bruce Cain to Join Center as Faculty Director


The distinguished political scientist Bruce E. Cain will join the Bill Lane Center for the American West as its next faculty director. Professor Cain will succeed the Center's founding faculty director, historian David M. Kennedy, and will be tasked with carrying on the Center's study of the past, present and future of the American West.

Professor Cain brings a wealth of experience in U.S. and California politics. A pioneer in computer-assisted redistricting, he is a well-known expert on elections, term limits, polling, and the relationships between lobbyists and elected officials. He is a frequently cited source in media coverage of politics, recently discussing the 2012 presidential race on KQED Radio's "Forum."

"The scholarly community has long recognized Bruce as the preeminent authority on the political culture, institutions and behavior of the western region, and he is well known to a broader public as an unfailingly clear and trenchant commentator on western politics and public policy," said outgoing director Kennedy. "Stanford and the Bill Lane Center – and the wider West – will all benefit from his deepened engagement with those issues as Lane Center director. We had many strong candidates to take over leadership of the Center, but none brought the rich portfolio of creative academic accomplishment, media savvy, passion for the region and its future, and successful leadership experience that are Bruce's hallmarks. He could not be more welcome."

Professor Cain comes to Stanford after more than two decades at U.C. Berkeley, where he ran the university's Institute of Governmental Studies, and later the U.C. system's Washington Center, an instructional and research program in the nation's capital. In addition to serving as faculty director, he will be joining the political science faculty as the Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences. He has been frequently honored for his teaching and public service, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. He is also the author of such books as The Reapportionment Puzzle (1984), The Personal Vote (1987), written with Stanford professors John Ferejohn and Morris Fiorina, and Congressional Redistricting (1991) with David Butler. Professor Cain holds a PhD from Harvard University and a BA from Bowdoin College, and he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford Unversity.

"I look forward to leading the preeminent center for western U.S. studies in America," says Professor Cain. "I want it to support innovative, high quality interdisciplinary research and to develop the next generation of western leaders from Stanford's talented pool of students. Leaving Cal after so many years was hard, but I pledge to sit in the neutral section at the Big Game and never to shout 'go Bears' while on campus."

Professor Cain will join the Center full time in the summer of 2013, after completing a fellowship year at New York University's Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law & Justice. In the interim period, Professor Kennedy will continue as the Center's faculty director.

For more information, see Professor Cain's profile in the Staff and Directors section of our website »