EngageEventsRemaining Grounded While Finding Common Ground, Cultivating Strategies for Dialogue Across Political Divides
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Remaining Grounded While Finding Common Ground, Cultivating Strategies for Dialogue Across Political Divides

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Please join us for a dialogue with Dr. Matthew Levendusky, author of Our Common Bonds, and Dr. Ted Brodkin, author of Missing Each Other. Moderated by Dr. Shaleigh Kwok Instructor of the SNF Paideia designated course, “Belonging”.

The general purpose of this event is to expose students to recent research on affective polarization—what it is and what works to mitigate it– from Matthew Levendusky’s new book Our Common Bonds: Using What Americans Share to Help Bridge Partisan Divides as well as research on attunement –what it is and how to develop it—from Edward (Ted) Brodkin’s book with Ashley Pallathra Missing Each Other: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections in order to equip students to engage in conversations across lines of ideological difference. The event will start out as a conversation between Dr. Levendusky and Dr. Brodkin moderated by SNF Paideia faculty member, Dr. Shaleigh Kwok who is teaching a fall SNF Paideia course entitled “Belonging.”  Students will then be able to practice a facilitated conversation at their tables around a polarized issue: climate change.  We will turn back to our panel for additional conversations and audience questions after engaging in the experience of talking as a table.


Matthew Levendusky is professor of Political Science, as well as the Stephen and Mary Baran Chair in the Institutions of Democracy at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. He also holds a secondary (courtesy) appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication. He was previously the Penny and Robert A. Fox Director of the Fels Institute of Government (2018-2023), Distinguished Fellow in the Institutions of Democracy at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (2017-2019), as well as graduate group chairperson (2013-2018), associate professor (2013-2018), and assistant professor of Political Science at Penn (2007-2013), as well as a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for the Study of American Politics at Yale University (2006-2007). He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2006, and his BA (with highest honors) from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001. Since 2014, he has served as a decision desk analyst for NBC News.

Edward S. (“Ted”) Brodkin, M.D. is Associate Professor of Psychiatry with tenure at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Brodkin received his A.B. from Harvard University and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Brodkin’s laboratory at University of Pennsylvania is focused on basic, translational, and clinical studies of social behaviors relevant to autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  The Brodkin lab studies the neurobiology of social behavior phenotypes in genetic mouse models relevant to autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental disorders; the genomics of social behavior phenotypes in human autism; and development of treatments for improving social functioning, especially in adults with ASD.


Shaleigh Kwok is a lecturer in critical writing at the Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in cognitive psychology from Temple University, where she studied freewriting and insight problem solving, and a BA in English and linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Brain and Language and Memory & Cognition. Her research interests include the cognitive processes involved in drafting and revising, and she thrives working with writers at all levels.

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