Alternative settings for liberal-conservative exchange: Examining an undergraduate dialogue course

Jacob Z. Hess, Danielle Rynczak, Joseph D. Minarik, Joycelyn Landrum-Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the polarization of the early 21st century political atmosphere in the U.S., intergroup dialogue has emerged as a unique alternative setting, with intentions of facilitating a more productive and thoughtful citizen engagement. Although cross-partisan dialogue efforts are underway in community contexts, they have been slower to reach academic settings. This paper is an exploratory study of our own liberal-conservative dialogue course at the University of Illinois-the first of its kind, to our knowledge. After describing basic features of the course, we identify themes from student journals and final evaluations suggesting both dialogue benefits and challenges. Finally, we discuss the growing literature around dialogue, questions of its long-term impact, and larger potential barriers to participation in liberal-conservative dialogue, specifically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-166
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Higher education
  • Intergroup dialogue
  • Intergroup dynamics
  • Political communication
  • Social conservatism
  • Social liberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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