UMass to Hold Symposium on Polarization, “Understanding the Forces That Drive Us Apart”
The UMass Office of Equity and Inclusion will present a day-long symposium on polarization titled “Understanding the Forces That Drive Us Apart” on February 5, 9:30am-7:00 PM in the Campus Center Auditorium. As part of the 'Dignity and Respect in Action' campus initiatives, the symposium will help participants understand the dynamics of political and social polarization using academic scholarship to unpack the present moment and contextualize it within U.S. history.
The symposium will bring prominent figures and academics to campus, including Lecia Brooks, Outreach Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University; and Daniel Ziblatt, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University and co-author along with Steven Levitsky of the New York Times bestseller How Democracies Die.
Panel discussions featuring UMass Amherst faculty will include topics such as “Hate in a Historical Perspective” and “The Structures of Polarization.” Breakout sessions will offer participants the chance to build skills to overcome polarization, such as: “How to be an Intersectional Ally,” “Intergroup Dialogue,” and “Using Dialogue to Bridge Political Divides.” The complete schedule can be found on the Diversity website.
“Our goal through this event is to provide a means for students, staff, and faculty to engage thoughtfully, and to understand the motivations for acts of hate and the underlying causes for the social and political polarization we are facing today,” says Enobong (Anna) Branch, UMass Associate Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. “As an educational institution, we strive to equip our community with a historical and contextual understanding of hate, which will provide us with the tools to stand united and fight against it.”
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.