Academic freedom: What it is, what it isn’t and why there’s confusion

Academics are often attacked for having the audacity to pursue their research wherever it leads. But engaging with difficult, challenging ideas is a large part of what academia is about.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Academic expression is neither free expression nor political, though it is connected to both. Because of this misunderstanding, academic expression is often attacked, not because of the quality of scholars' ideas, but because of scholars' audacity in sharing them.
  • The Scholars at Risk network is working to ensure that academics of all stripes have the academic freedom they need to pursue their work. In this video, Robert Quinn stresses that this is not a left/right issue, nor is it something that's only happening halfway across the world, and he explains why it's so important to defend academic freedom.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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Participatory democracy is presumed to be the gold standard. Here’s why it isn’t.

Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Polarization and extreme partisanships have been on the rise in the United States.
  • Political psychologist Diana Mutz argues that we need more deliberation, not political activism, to keep our democracy robust.
  • Despite increased polarization, Americans still have more in common than we appear to.
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3 unsung heroes who helped society overcome division

The true course of progress is not only charted by great men and women, but also by ordinary people having conversations.

(Photos: Wikimedia/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/Flickr)
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • History's great men and women may enjoy name recognition, but everyday heroes can be anyone willing to talk.
  • We profile three everyday heroes who helped society overcome adversity through civil discourse.
  • Their stories validate John Stuart Mill's belief that good things happen when you converse with people with whom you disagree.
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The cabbage roll epiphany: Our best chance at depolarizing the United States

If ever there was a food that holds a lesson for building bridges in a fractured America, it's the cabbage roll.

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Dr. Kurt Gray of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill unpacks a psychological and political phenomenon: reactive devaluation.
  • This negative phenomenon is driving polarization in the U.S.. The good news? It has an equally powerful counterpart: benevolence.
  • Understanding how humans create meaning in the world is the key to a more unified and a more rational America.
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