About the Department

Matthew B. Platt

Matthew B. Platt

Assistant Professor
American Politics
Black Politics and Agenda Setting in Congress


I am an assistant professor in the Government Department at Harvard University. I am primarily interested in the policy consequences of political activity.  Falling under this relatively broad umbrella, my current research projects focus on three questions: 1) Why/how does Congress pay attention to black issues? 2) How do individuals' decisions to become active in politics impact policymaking? 3) Given that the vast majority of bills never become law, why do members of Congress introduce legislation? I teach courses about Congress, black representation, and agenda setting.  Most of my time is spent developing a new book manuscript -- tentatively titled "From Trailblazers to Tokens" -- on the role that black members have played in advancing black policy agendas from Reconstruction to the present

Email Address


Web Site

Matthew Platt Website



Office Locations

1737 Cambridge Street, CGIS Knafel Building 409, Cambridge, MA 02138

Office Hours

Thursday 10am-12pm


Gov 98nm Race and Representation

Gov 1310 Introductio nto Congress

Gov 2356 Agenda Setting and Representation in Congress


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