Michael Koncewicz is the Associate Director at the Institute for Public Knowledge, where he develops, implements, and manages programmatic and administrative operations for IPK in collaboration with the Director. Koncewicz is a political historian who previously worked for the National Archives at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, contributing to the museum’s nonpartisan Watergate exhibit. More recently, at NYU’s Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, he curated the archive’s Cold War collections and managed its Center for the United States and the Cold War and public programming.
Koncewicz’s scholarship focuses on the culture and politics of the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. His first book, They Said ‘No’ to Nixon: Republicans Who Stood Up to the President’s Abuses of Power was published by the University of California Press in 2018. Culling from previously unpublished excerpts from the tapes and recently released materials that expose the thirty-seventh president’s uncensored views, the book reveals how Republican party members remained loyal civil servants in the face of Nixon’s attempts to expand the imperial presidency. He is working on an authorized biography of longtime progressive activist Tom Hayden. Straddling the line between the left and mainstream politics, Hayden offers readers a compelling case study for those interested in the future of left politics. Through the Port Huron Statement, SDS, the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, his marriage to Jane Fonda, and his time in the California legislature, Hayden was a rare celebrity activist many Americans saw as incarnating the social movements of the sixties and beyond.
Michael received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California Irvine and has taught US history and public history courses at New York University and Hunter College. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Jacobin, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and The Washington Post.
The past five years have forced a national reexamination of the institution of the American presidency. And the effect has been traumatic. Allies of former President Trump celebrated the disruption of presidential “norms” in support of populist ideals. Supporters of President Biden bemoaned the disappearance of those “norms” and saw, especially on January 6th 2021, the threat that a resurgent “Imperial Presidency” posed to American democracy and its constitutional system. This course will introduce students to the evolution of the presidency, especially its phases in the modern era. Besides providing an historical context for the 45th and 46th presidencies, the class will examine the nuts and bolts of the most powerful executive position in the World. What role have modern presidents played in shaping our economy, our institutions, our environment and the global system? Are there any limits on presidential power at home and abroad? How were these limits established and, under our constitutional system, can they be undone? How have the nuclear and digital ages and this extremely partisan moment affected those powers? What role does the character or personality of the incumbent play in the functioning or effectiveness of a presidency? More specifically, to what extent have modern presidents added to, lessened or simply ignored the racial, social and environmental injustices and economic disparities that tarnish and contradict the promise of this country’s founding documents. The core objective of this course is to assist students in acquiring the knowledge and analytical skills to assess any American presidency and understand its role in shaping the United States and the wider world.