Spotlight: IHS-Supported Conference at ASU Explores ‘Polarization and Civil Disagreement’

Civil Disagreement

At a conference on “Polarization and Civil Disagreement” at Arizona State University (ASU), keynote speaker Jonathan Rauch, senior fellow at Brookings Institution, told the assembled crowd that Americans have come to take our liberal settings—the social settings that prevent “winner-take-all tribalism”—for granted.

“In civic life,” Rauch explained, “we have succumbed to—I would argue, in fact, we have valorized—cynicism about core institutions. In education, elite universities frequently encourage students to burrow into their tribal identities rather than to transcend them. In media, new technologies enable and monetize outrage and extremism.”

Arizona State University (ASU)

Entrance sign to the campus of Arizona State University.

Rauch’s speech was part of the multi-panel “Polarization and Civil Disagreement” conference hosted by ASU’s School for Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership led by Director Paul Carrese. Other speakers included Yuval Levin (National Affairs), Megan McArdle (Washington Post), Teresa Bejan (Oxford University), Joanne Freeman (Yale University), Michael Zuckert (Notre Dame University), and Musa Al-Gharbi (Columbia University).

“…achieve the goals of executing a successful conference for local ASU community members in attendance and a broader national audience through our relationship with PBS.”

– Trevor Shelly, Postdoctoral Associate

The conference was supported through the IHS Grant for Free Speech and Open Inquiry (FSOI), which supports faculty who are interested in fostering free speech and civil discourse in academia through research, campus events, or student curriculum. Postdoctoral Associate Trevor Shelly, who helped host the conference, spoke of how IHS and the FSOI grant helped “achieve the goals of executing a successful conference for local ASU community members in attendance and a broader national audience through our relationship with PBS.”

“The grant contributes to the noble and shared efforts of individuals and organizations who recognize that a free society rests upon both free speech and open inquiry—a connection that is sometimes forgotten or rejected today.”

–Trevor Shelly, Postdoctoral Associate

A panoramic view overlooking the Arizona State University campus.

“We would recommend the grant [to others],” Shelley added, “given the user-friendly internet-based application process and the accessibility of IHS’s staff in assisting and facilitating the process from beginning to end. The grant contributes to the noble and shared efforts of individuals and organizations who recognize that a free society rests upon both free speech and open inquiry—a connection that is sometimes forgotten or rejected today.”

Read more about ASU’s School for Civic and Economic Thought, and visit our website for more information and details on how to apply for our Grant for Free Speech and Open Inquiry.

See more posts: Civil DiscourseFundingIdeasOpen Inquiry 

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