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What drives polarization on contested issues like GMOs? We’ll discuss one potentially surprising factor.
Public debates have been trending increasingly bitter and polarized since the 1990s, increasingly so over the last decade. Science-heavy debates on issues like climate change, pandemic policies and of course agricultural biotechnology are no exception. In this “work in progress” presentation I review recent scholarship on the extent, drivers and implications of polarization in the two most studied situations: US politics (liberal v. conservative, Democrat v. Republican) and climate change. I close by inviting participants to reflect on the significance of this lit review for “denialism,” “anti-science,” “war on science” et sim. in the GMO debates.
A twisty path through law and classical rhetoric has led Dr. Jean Goodwin to an interest in scientists’ participation in civic controversies. As a member of the Leadership in Public Science cluster, “I not only ‘think’ but also ‘do’ that,” helping with programming intended to foster commitment to, and capacity for, public-facing science at NC State University.
Goodwin received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and her J.D. from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in communication arts from the rhetoric program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to more than 25 years in the classroom introducing undergraduates to the rhetorical tradition, she has mentored graduate students across a variety communication subfields and academic departments. Her essays have been published in international journals in communication, philosophy and the sciences. She has served as a consultant on initiatives by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Union of Concerned Scientists to define the appropriate roles of scientists as advocates.
GES Colloquium is jointly taught by Drs. Jen Baltzegar and Dawn Rodriguez-Ward, who you may contact with any class-specific questions. Colloquium will be held in-person in Poe 202, as well as live-streamed via Zoom. Please subscribe to the GES newsletter and Twitter for updates .