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NULab Faculty David Lazer is a Panelist on “Dialogue and Action in an Age of Divides”

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Three scholars across Massachusetts universities gathered virtually on February 13th, 2024 for the second installment of the new discussion series, “Dialogue and Action in an Age of Divides.” This second session of the discussion series was titled “Coming Together Across Difference.” Each contributing panelist drew from both formal research and personal experience in the effort to chart paths of connection across dividing sociopolitical differences.

The first panelist was Alexandra Pineros-Shields, Associate Professor of the Practice of Racial Equity at Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. Pineros-Shields touched on her own challenging journey of ensuring the institution of implicit bias training for Lynn, MA police officers. The second panelist was Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor and Professor of Government at Harvard University. Allen spoke on her history of engaging across divides within her family context, and how those experiences have informed her approach to bridging political polarity through collaboration and consensus-building.

The third panelist was Northeastern’s own Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer Science, David Lazer. Lazer reflected on the expanding political divide in the U.S., especially over the past four decades; this divide is substantially marked by disparities across spatial, class, urban-rural, racial, regional, and religious lines. Lazer remarked that evolving technologies have served to bring together individuals who share similar perspectives, but they often fail at facilitating connections across conflicting viewpoints. However, Lazer discussed ways in which technology can enable meaningful dialogue, as in his own experience of hosting virtual online town halls with members of Congress discussing controversial issues.

You can read the full article on The Justice. You can also access the recording of the panel discussion at Northeastern University’s website, under “Dialogue and Action Panel Series.”

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