US presidents are obsessed with sharks. From President Nixon asking the Secret Service to put in shark nets around his Florida holiday house to former President Trump tweeting that "sharks are last on my list." Sharks are an apex obsession. To explore the interactions between 10 presidents and the sharks they conserve or hate, the United States Studies Centre hosted a talk with University of Sydney Senior Lecturer in Public Policy Dr Christopher Pepin-Neff.
Starting with Washington and ending with Trump, Dr Pepin-Neff discussed the role of sharks in building up myths and legends around presidents, the masculinity that comes with fighting sharks, and the statesmanship of protecting these fierce fish.
Dr Christopher Pepin-Neff
Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney
Christopher Pepin-Neff is a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. His research interests include theories of the policy process, policy analysis, the role of policy entrepreneurs, and comparative public policy.
Associate Professor David Smith
Associate Professor in American Politics and Foreign Policy, United States Studies Centre (jointly appointed with the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney)
David Smith is jointly appointed between the US Studies Centre and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. His research examines political relations between states and minorities, with a focus on religion in the US. His book Religious Persecution and Political Order in the United States was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.