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past event | september 2022
The good guys, the bad guys, THE ZOMBIES.

How to have better political conversations OR Ending this Zombie Apocalypse

“There’s people wandering around in packs, not thinking for themselves, seized by this mob mentality trying to spread their disease and destroy society. And you probably think, as I do, that you’re the good guy in the zombie apocalypse movie, and all this hate and polarization, it’s being propagated by the other people, because we’re Brad Pitt, right?”

“There’s people wandering around in packs, not thinking for themselves, seized by this mob mentality trying to spread their disease and destroy society. And you probably think, as I do, that you’re the good guy in the zombie apocalypse movie, and all this hate and polarization, it’s being propagated by the other people, because we’re Brad Pitt, right?”
—Dr. Robb Willer, Polarization and Social Change Lab at Stanford University

 

When it comes to navigating our deepening ideological divide in America, what if we’re not so much the hero fighting the forces of evil—instead we’re accidentally acting just a little too much like “foot soldiers in the army of the undead,” wonders our special digital guest, Dr. Robb Willer. Robb has been working on understanding the moral underpinnings of this accelerating anger—and his research shows that we’re speaking different languages.

We hope you’ll join Dr. Willer, professor of psychology and sociology at Stanford University and Director of the Polarization and Social Change Lab (and movie buff), for highly-relatable, user-friendly and scientifically-grounded advice on how we might improve the quality of our political conversations—and possibly ditch a few zombies along the way. Kristin Hansen, Executive Director of Civic Health Project (and one of our favorite civic superheroes) will facilitate the conversation. Learn more about Robb and Kristin and their groundbreaking work, and meet our streaming partners, below.

This important programming is offered in partnership with Florida Humanities as a part of our multi-year series “UNUM: Democracy Reignited.”*

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Dr. Robb Willer is a Professor of Sociology, Psychology (by courtesy), and Organizational Behavior (by courtesy) and the Director of the Polarization and Social Change Lab at Stanford University. He studies politics, morality, cooperation, and status. Learn more about Dr. Willer’s work here, see below for some of Dr. Willer’s articles.

Kristin Hansen, Executive Director of Civic Health Project, is a national leader in the field of bridge building, having taken a “civic sabbatical” from her tech career to help save American democracy (and we’re so glad she has). She’s devoted to accelerating the efforts of academics and practitioners who seek to reduce polarization and improve civil discourse in our citizenry, politics and media. Previously, she’s held senior executive roles at Intel, IBM and multiple start-up software companies.

We’re delighted to welcome streaming partners National Institute for Civil Discourse, BridgeUSA, Listen First Project, USC Dornsife Center for the Political FutureCommon Ground Committee, Civic Health Project, YOUnify, Citizen Connect, Center for the Humanities at University of Miami, Tallahassee Democrat, WFSU Public Media,and Network for Responsible Public Policy.

*Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Dr. Robb Willer | Stanford University
Director, Polarization and Social Change Lab
Kristin Hansen, Executive Director
Civic Health Project
Watch Dr. Willer's TEDxMarin talk
How to have better political conversations