Pre-Conference 02: Bridging Freedom and Inquiry: Taking on Tough Issues in the Classroom and Beyond

Sponsor: Preconferences
Wed, 11/15: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST
Gaylord National 
Room: Potomac 2 - Convention Center, Ballroom Level 
Freedom can be used to unite or divide, and can also be used to humanize or dehumanize those who are not in power. Using public dialogue, discourse, debate, and deliberation in higher education environments facilitates centering freedom, which teaches students how to express themselves openly, while at the same time listening to others' views who are different from theirs, creating a civil society where all of us can live and work together effectively. The methods and philosophy underlying debate, deliberation, and dialogue can help to create a container for freedom of expression within an invitational rhetoric frame.

How we do this in our classrooms and universities plays a part in the important civic education we provide to our students (Gastil, 2004), moving beyond a simplistic "informed and engaged ideal" to something more akin to a "wise collaborator ideal" model (Carcasson, 2019, p. 68), in which students learn to "negotiate between multiple perspectives" (p. 68) and co-create productive responses toward wicked problems with others in a collaborative partnership vs. a partisan one.

This preconference will bring together scholar-teachers who are doing the pragmatic work of bridging divides in their classrooms and communities, using a public discourse, dialogue, and deliberation model. It features opportunities to network with other scholars and practitioners in this space, as well as to hear practical suggestions on how to bring this work into classrooms and universities in teaching, debate, and community-engaged deliberation work.


April Chatham-Carpenter, University of Arkansas, Little Rock  - Contact Me


Justin Eckstein, Pacific Lutheran University  - Contact Me
Jennifer A. Keohane, University of Baltimore  - Contact Me


Natalie Pennington, Colorado State University  - Contact Me
April Lawson, Braver Angels  - Contact Me
Doug Sprei, Braver Angels / American Council of Trustees & Alumni (ACTA)  - Contact Me
Pamela Conners, Gustavus Adolphus College  - Contact Me
Lindsay H. Hoffman, University of Delaware  - Contact Me
Christopher N. Poulos, University of North Carolina, Greensboro  - Contact Me
Robert C. Richards, University of Arkansas  - Contact Me