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Rebuilding Public Trust Through Discourse

Rebuilding Public Trust through Discourse

Rebuilding Public Trust through Discourse

The project of democracy is embodied not only in institutions, but in the American public, the people who populate and influence those institutions. Our democratic institutions can only be as healthy as the people and the discourse that animate them.

Right now, our discourse and our institutions seem to be in a sorry state. The problem is a hard one, since the problems in our discourse—outrage, whataboutism, personal attacks and conspiracy theorizing—destroy trust, and yet trust is the thing which would allow people to step back from them.  

In this presentation, we will explore the underpinnings and consequences of why we struggle to collectively engage our differences, and suggest some things, based on similar times in the 1930s that might make our discourse, and democracy, more healthy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
6:30-7:30pm

Cost: $10

Offered in person with public health safety protocols in place.

William Keith, PhD is a Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His academic research interests center on the intersection of argument, public deliberation and pedagogy.  Dr. Keith has written and presented widely about the history of public participation in the US and its relationship to teaching communication skills, reaching a US and an international audience, including Denmark, Norway, France and Ireland. His award-winning publications include Democracy as Discussion: Civic Education and the American Forum Movement (winner of the National Communication Association Diamond Anniversary award).  With Pat Gehrke he co-edited The Unfinished Conversation: 100 Years of Communication Studies (Routledge, 2015) and, with Robert Danisch, University of Waterloo, Beyond Civility: The Competing Obligations of Citizenship. 

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Public Trust - September 14

$10.00
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