‘Polarization: A Civic Crisis’ discusses the state of U.S. politics

Polarization and Civil Disagreement logo

The current polarized and compartmentalized intellectual climate both mirrors and contributes to similar maladies in American civic life. ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law hosted a lecture series to examine the problem and begin to discuss possible solutions both on campus and in society.


Oct. 26, 2018

“Suicide of the West” with Jonah Goldberg, an American conservative syndicated columnist, author and political analyst. In an age of tribalism, nationalism, populism, and identity politics, are we ungratefully throwing away what made the West the free and prosperous place it is today? Goldberg diagnoses our civilization’s ills and tries to offer some solutions.

Nov. 2, 2018

“Identity and Citizenship” with Mark Lilla, an American political scientist, journalist and professor at Columbia University. Lilla’s book, “The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics,” has sparked a vigorous national conversation about how liberals need to articulate a new vision centered around ideas of common citizenship.

Nov. 9, 2018

“One Country, Three Faiths: America’s Real Religious Divide” with Ross Douthat, an American author, blogger and New York Times columnist. In his latest book, “One Country, Three Faiths: America’s Real Religious Divide,” Douthat suggests that there are deepening religious divides between believers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam in America. Here, Dr. Paul Carrese and Tracey Fessenden join him to discusses ways in which religion and the relative strength of religious institutions can impact civic life and magnify polarization.

Nov. 16, 2018

“What’s Ailing Liberal Democracy: What Tocqueville Can Still Teach Us” features panelists Paul Rahe (Hillsdale College), Patrick Deneen (University of Notre Dame), Joshua Mitchell (Georgetown University) and Cheryl Welch (Harvard University). Liberal democracy finds itself in poor health in the first decades of the 21st century. The rise of populism, decaying social cohesion, threats to free speech and anti-immigrant sentiment have raised questions about the future.

Nov. 23, 2018

“Analyzing the 2018 Midterm Elections” features Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson and Democratic pollster Margie Omero, who co-host “The Pollsters” weekly podcast. They analyze the results of the 2018 Midterm elections. Both Anderson and Omero, from different sides of the political spectrum, analyze the polls driving news in politics, tech, entertainment and pop culture.

March 22, 2019

“Bringing America Together” features Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) since 2009. He is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at AEI. Before joining AEI, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship.

March 29, 2019

“How to Have a Civil Conversation Across the Political Divide” features Judge Michael Mukasey and Nadine Strossen in a conversation that models a civil, mutually respectful and vigorous exchange of ideas on issues that challenge American society. These speakers, intellectually and politically opposed on many of the issues, will demonstrate that lively civil discourse is possible, even when we deeply disagree about the issues.

April 5, 2019

“Healing a Fractured Country/Rethinking Polarization: How a Tough Problem Got Tougher” features Yuval Levin and Jonathan Rauch discussing possible solutions to the problems of polarization on campuses and in society at large.

April 12, 2019

“Addressing Populism”: The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University hosted a two-day conference to debate and discuss polarization both on campus and in American society. William Galston and William Kristol discussed how pluralism and American institutions can address the challenge of populism.

April 19, 2019

“Still at the Water’s Edge? Partisanship in Foreign Policy”: American politics are growing increasingly agitated, and rising anger is affecting the business of government too. Does partisan bickering still stop at the water’s edge, or does it affect foreign policy too? Noted historian Walter Russell Mead discusses political polarization in the United States and how the divisions in our country influence trade, diplomacy, and national security.

April 26, 2019

“Democratic Knowledge: A Roadmap for Rebuilding Civic Education features Danielle Allen, who argues that recent educational policy shortchanged civic education and have done so at great cost to the health of democracy in the U.S. She argues that young people should be provided with an education that offers not only college and career readiness but also “civic readiness.”

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