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27 Apr 23

The vigorous debate of competing ideas has been an essential component of well-functioning democratic societies for centuries. But in an increasingly polarized world, it has become increasingly impossible for people to have authentic conversations across different political or ideological perspectives. Various factions in our communities not only congregate in like-minded “bubbles,” they also avoid—and sometimes even vilify—the people in other bubbles. While this phenomenon has been fracturing the United States since at least 2016, there are now similar divides in democracies around the world—particularly where authoritarian leaders have been elected. In this talk, Ronald Crutcher probes the forces behind these worrisome developments, and asks what the implications are for sustaining democratic societies. He also looks at the role of higher education institutions in fostering engaged citizens.

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