Colloquy Downeast Blue Hill Maine

Colloquy Downeast

Spirited Conversations in Great Company

FacilitatorScott Miller and Sarah Everdell
Date & TimeFridays, March 20, 27, April 3, 17 (no meeting April 10)
3:00 – 5:00 pm
LocationHoward Room, Blue Hill Public Library
Available Spaces7

A Nation Divided

The nation’s political discourse has become increasingly polarized—that is one thing upon which voters leaning both left and right (and those in the middle) can agree. This colloquy will seek to help us understand better what’s driving the “other side:” Is it ignorance? Malice? Or something else?

The colloquy will be focused on the book “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. In this book, Haidt relates a series of psychological experiments whose results may challenge our assumptions about how people think and feel, provides a hypothesis about the differences between right-leaning and left-leaning people and relates it to the current political and cultural environment.

The reading will be supplemented with reviews of Haidt’s work, TED-type videos of Haidt and others on the subject.

The colloquy will be facilitated by Sarah Everdell and Scott Miller—who disagree on a wide variety of policy prescriptions, but agree that Haidt’s book is an extremely worthwhile read.


▼ Syllabus/Reading


Syllabus (subject to refinement and change)

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt.

Week One:

Review of some of the research described in The Righteous Mind and discussion of:

  • Whether we agree with the results or believe the methodology is flawed
  • What the implications of the research are for our embedded assumptions about ourselves and others

Week Two:

Discussion of Haidt’s hypothesis about the differences between “conservatives” and “liberals”

  • Do we accept his framework?
  • Does it ring true for our own views?

Week Three:

Criticism of Haidt’s work and alternate hypotheses

  • Response to The Righteous Mind
  • Survey of other academic work on the subject

Week Four:

Where to from here?

  • How can this research be used to advance the political dialogue (if at all)?
  • How might we change our own perspectives?
  • How might we advocate for our goals more effectively?


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