How to Have Political Conversations in the Classroom?

How to Have Political Conversations in the Classroom ? | Teaching in Troubled Times

My goal is to teach them how to work through their own biases, and their own processes through the class... I'm not only teaching them the course material but, I'm really teaching them how to be active thinkers and consumers of information relevant to politics.
Professor Lisa Garcia-Bedolla
[T]alk about what I bring to the class, why I'm teaching the class. Make clear that there is no such thing as objectivity or a right answer, and the issues we are grappling with are actually quite complex.
Professor Lisa Garcia-Bedolla

Event Description:

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 marked the largest National Voter Registration Day on record. Over 800,000 people updated their registration or registered to vote for the first time. At the same time that so many Americans are involved in ballot box politics, the country is polarized, partisan and politicized. With sharp political differences seemingly not going away any time soon, how do we support robust discussions in our classrooms? How do we support our students to consider issues from immigration to gun control through deliberation and not shouting matches? On the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, with so much at stake on the national, state, and local level, this panel and community discussion will consider how faculty are navigating the nation’s thorny politics and supporting political conversations in the classroom.


* Professor Lisa Garcia-Bedolla, Director, Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS)

* Professor Irene Bloemraad, Sociology

* Professor Cristina Mora, Sociology

Identified Resources

ACES Courses

American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) Courses offer students opportunities to participate in collaborative projects with community partners and invite collaborative, community scholarship in classrooms. Students can learn more about what they can do about the current political climate and its effect on our communities through our ACES courses, and faculty can learn how to create an ACES course on our ACES page.  

Cal In The Capital 2015Public Service Center

The Public Service Center (PSC) partners with faculty and community members to support Berkeley students in finding their path to create a more just and equitable world. Students are able to participate in their various programs like Cal in the Capital and Alternative Breaks to meet experts in the field who are working on these issues today and make an impact in these communities. Learn more about PSC programs

Institute of Governmental Studies Democracy Camp 2018IGS Democracy Camp

Democracy Camp is designed for Cal undergraduate students interested in enhancing our democracy through public service. Over Cal Spring Break, students will gain exposure to different facets of a public service career: legislative paths, community organizations, local, state and federal government, and philanthropy. Read more.