Referred to as the great experiment, American democracy has been tested as we strive to become a more perfect union.  We have witnessed deep divides in our country and now more than ever, it’s important to be able to see things from a variety of perspectives. The American Democracy Lab podcast at WashU brings together experts from different fields and backgrounds to talk about an issue or aspect of our American democracy and where different perspectives may converge.

Launched on Presidents’ Day 2021, the American Democracy Lab podcast is hosted by Associate Professor Alan Lambert and presented by the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement in partnership with WashU Engage and the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.

Listen to American Democracy Lab

Listen, review, and subscribe to American Democracy Lab on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Season 2 Episode Guide

Episode 7:  The Dynamics of Democracy in Higher Education

In this episode, we discuss the dynamics of civic learning, students’ participation in the democratic process, and issues of free speech on university campuses with Dr. Nancy Thomas.  

Episode 6: The Legacy of January 6, 2021 (Part 1)

Guests Richard Gephardt and Zach Wamp reflect on the insurrection at the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, one year later.

Episode 6: The Legacy of January 6, 2021 (Part 2)

Guests Richard Gephardt and Zach Wamp discuss the history of US elections and conclude their conversation about January 6, 2021.

Season 1 Episode Guide

Episode 5: Influencing Democracy

 Host Alan Lambert welcomes author, lecturer, and journalist Anne Nelson to discuss the eroding trust in our democracy through a conversation about influence and information.

Episode 4: Fueling our Democracy

The fate of our democracy is increasingly entwined in the systems that govern and guide our economy, culture, environment, and more. Guest Nate Hagens joins American Democracy Lab for this episode.

Episode 3: Race and Democracy

What is the legacy of racial violence in our electoral politics? WashU’s Dr. David Cunningham and Dr. Geoff Ward join American Democracy Lab to discuss race and democracy.

Episode 2: What Happened to a United States?

Division, partisanship, polarization – these are all terms used to describe the state of our citizenry and political landscape. This episode explores what anger means, and how we can build a more United States.

Episode 1: The Presidency

Our first episode is focused on the highest office in our democracy, the presidency, and explores the transition from Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States, to the recently inaugurated 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden.

About The Host

Dr. Alan Lambert is an associate professor of psychology at Washington University. The overarching focus of Professor Lambert’s research is the cognitive and affective processes that underlie social and political judgment. 

Lambert’s work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing from research and theory within psychology (social, personality, cognitive) as well as from sociology and political science.

Connect With Us

“Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.”

Robert Kennedy

For more information about the American Democracy Lab podcast or Gephardt Institute, contact: