In order for democracy to work, citizens need to be able to talk to each other. Addressing public policy challenges, such as stable economic growth, health care, and college affordability, requires reasoned deliberation, critical thinking, and open and civil discourse. Unfortunately, such models of political discussion can be few and far between in contemporary American politics. This seminar considers why engaging in honest but civil political discussion is integral to American democracy’s success, and explores productive ways to go about it. Topics that we’ll consider include: What are the effects of adversarial political interactions on the political process? What steps can be taken to ensure that political discussions are productive? How can we have respectful and honest conversations about public problems and their proposed solutions when we disagree? Students will be exposed to a range of examples of political deliberation (some contemporary and some historical), will witness models of political discussion regarding current policy issues, and will be offered opportunities to build their own skills in political discussion.
Randi Chmielewski (Eagleton Institute of Politics)
Elizabeth Matto (Eagleton Institute of Politics)
01:090:101 section 09