Name-calling, shouting matches, cutting off relatives, and even violence born of intense disagreements—there is bipartisan agreement that the current state of politics in the United States is troubling. How did we get here, and what can we, as a society and as individuals, do about it?
Professor Steven Stehr investigates the roots and consequences of the dysfunction that characterizes the current state of politics in America. Stehr leads a conversation that asks, how did our political spaces become war zones? To what extent is the lack of civility and policy gridlock driven by long-term trends in American society? Is contemporary America somehow different than the way it was in the past? Was there ever a “golden age” of bipartisanship and civility in the United States?
Using historical examples and contemporary cases, Stehr shows audiences how the erosion of civil discourse harms democracy, and what can be done to combat it.
Steven Stehr (he/him) is the Sam Reed Distinguished Professor in Civic Education and Public Civility at Washington State University. He earned his PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, National Academy of Science, and the Century Foundation.
Stehr lives in Moscow, Idaho.
This talk is presented in partnership with The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, which educates citizens across the state about democratic institutions and public affairs, and is based at Washington State University. For more information, visit The Foley Institute’s website.
- March 30, 2023
- Spokane Public Library
About Speakers Bureau Events
Speakers Bureau talks are free public presentations on history, politics, music, philosophy, and everything in between. Humanities Washington’s Speakers Bureau roster is made up of professors, artists, activists, historians, performers, journalists, and others—all chosen not only for their expertise, but their ability to inspire discussion with people of all ages and backgrounds. All talks are free and open to the public, and each lasts about an hour. They are hosted by a wide range of organizations throughout Washington State.