Brian Harrison

Adjunct Faculty Member

Brian Harrison (PhD Northwestern University) is a political scientist specializing in American politics and public opinion. Before teaching at the University of Minnesota, he has served on the faculty at Northwestern University; as a Visiting Fellow at Yale University; an Affiliated Scholar at New York University; and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University. Before beginning his academic career, Brian was a White House appointee for the Department of Homeland Security. His research and teaching interests are in American politics, political communication and political behavior, public opinion and attitude change, and LGBT rights.

Dr. Harrison’s first book Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights was published by Oxford University Press in 2017 (with co-author Melissa Michelson). It addresses the intersections of sexuality and race, religion, and partisan identities to explain how individual-level identity affects support for LGBT rights. His second book, How to Talk Politics Like Grown-ups, is under contract with Oxford. It tackles the concept of disagreement and how it is an inevitable facet of democracy but it has become increasingly difficult to engage in civil, respectful interpersonal discussions about politics. How identifies strategies and tactics to encourage meaningful, calm engagement on important political issues of the day. Finally, Brian has another book under contract with Oxford with Melissa Michelson, looking at the nature of public opinion toward transgender Americans and strategies and tactics to improve support for key rights including military service, health care, and access to other important institutions.

His research has been cited in the New York Times, the Washington Post,, The Guardian (UK), and National Public Radio and published in academic venues like Political Behavior, Politics, Groups, and Identities, New Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Sex Roles, and Social Science Quarterly.