Head shot of Brian Harrison
Adjunct Faculty
Currently reviewing Ph.D. applicants
Social Policy Area

    Brian Harrison (PhD Northwestern University) is a political scientist specializing in American politics and public opinion. Brian is currently a lecturer at the University of Minnesota and 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.

    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, Change is Gonna Come: How to Have Effective Political Conversations in a Divided America, was published in April 2020. It tackles the concept of disagreement: although it is an inevitable facet of democracy, it has become increasingly difficult to engage in civil, respectful interpersonal discussions about politics. Change identifies strategies and tactics to encourage meaningful, calm engagement on important political issues of the day.

    Brian's third book, Transforming Prejudice: Identity, Fear, and Transgender Rights, with Melissa Michelson, was also published in spring 2020. It looks 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, and National Public Radio and published in academic venues like Political BehaviorPolitics, Groups, and Identities, New Political Science, Legislative Studies QuarterlySex Roles, and Social Science Quarterly.