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Conference: Our Divided Nation: Political Polarization in the USA

This mini-conference draws together local scholars, students, and professionals to discuss and engage-from interdisciplinary perspectives-the state and nature of American politics.

Date: November 20, 2018 - November 20, 2018
Time: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Golisano Gateway Midlevel

The November mini conference will ask questions that explore the roots of current US political polarization, asking the question, how dangerous is it? And what can be done to overcome this divisiveness? Is higher education inherently biased towards liberalism and, if so, is this a problem? Where is the line between healthy balance of perspectives in a multi-party democratic system, and mutual destructiveness of embittered rivalry? And how much can we, or should we, look to blame outside nations for this increasing rivalry? 

Presentations are 12 minutes each and are designed to foster discussion and collaboration.

Conference Agenda:

1:30 p.m. Keynote Introductory Panel: Why So Much Division?
Panelists include Mara Ahmed (artist, activist, and filmmaker); Barbara Rockell (criminology and criminal justice); and Sebastien Lazardeux (political science and legal studies)

2:20 p.m. Q&A Discussion from Student Audience – Moderated by Dr. David Bell

2:50 p.m. Coffee Break

3 p.m. Panel 2: Polarization, Education, and Civility
The Need for Civility in Contentious Times, Tim Madigan (philosophy)
Polarization or the Spatialization of Discontent? The Geography and Sociology of Support for Candidate and President Trump, Patricia Tweet (sociology)
Political Polarization in the Classroom: The Undergraduate Student Experience, Jon Horner (student)
“Brave Conversations”: Using Sustained Dialogue in the Classroom, Jennifer Rossi (American studies)

4 p.m. Panel 2 Discussion Led by David Bell

4:15 p.m. Warm Hors D'Oeuvres

4:40 p.m. Panel 3: Truth, Post-truth, and the Internet Bubbles
A Nietzschean View of Degenerate Politics, Daniel Ammon (student)
The Rise of Trump, the Demise of Civility, and the Clever Myth of “Tribalism”, David Baronov (sociology)
The 21st Century Echo Chamber: Popular Postmodernism and the Crisis of Neotribalism, Isabela Leech (student)

5:20 p.m. Panel 3 Discussion Led by Tim Madigan

5:30 p.m. Coffee Break

5:40 p.m. Panel 4: A Liberal Bias in Higher Education?
A Liberal Bias in Academia, Kathleen Donovan (political science)
The Politics of Knowing: Framing Principles of Agnotology within Popular US Political Discourses and Controversies, David Bell (anthropology)
Trump Derangement Syndrome and Inversion Politics, Dante Bucci (student)

6:20 p.m. Panel 4 Discussion led by Robert Ruehl

For more information, email Dr. David Bell, assistant professor of anthropology, at dbell@sjfc.edu.

Organized by:

This conference is organized by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology