Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes Videos
In the Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes videos (free and publicly available), Ilana introduces many of the concepts that shape her work. These videos are part of her effort to provide opportunities for people to engage with one another on sensitive topics in a productive manner. If you find them useful, please share. And, of course, please reach out with any comments, thoughts, or concerns.
All the videos are linked on YouTube here. They can be watched in any order (although there is an introduction and a conclusion). They cover topics including:
Building Community Through Viewpoint Diversity
The Problem of Unintentionally Treating Beliefs as Facts
The Problem of Excessive Social Penalties
The Problem of Telling People to Stay in Their Lane
The Problem of Relying of Science to Bridge Divides
Putting the Lessons into Practice
Teaching Viewpoint Diversity
The BB&S video series emerged from Ilana's observations in the classroom: Communication across ideological divides is a skill like any other. With a willingness to learn, it can be taught. The importance of this topic is not to be underestimated and is something Ilana has written on in a wide range of outlets.
In spring 2019, she debuted a course called Bigots & Snowflakes: Living in a World Where Everyone Else Is Wrong to 14 curious students. The following year, enrollment doubled to 28. Beginning in spring 2021, the course will be offered under a regular (rather than a temporary) course number and has been renamed: SOC 230: The Sociology of Political Polarization: Bigots and Snowflakes. The most recent syllabus for the course is available below.
While the Bigots & Snowflakes course is dedicated to the topic of communication across divides, Ilana weaves a similar approach into all of her teaching, including SOC 163: Social Problems.
Comments from students (shared with permission):
"This course has been an outstanding exploration of the dichotomy between bigots and snowflakes and between extremes of the political spectrum as well as, and possibly more importantly, the middle and the grey areas. My biggest takeaways...are the importance of humility and admitting when you do not know something, the importance of diversity of opinions and ideas (especially when those ideas are contrary to mainstream thought), and a reinforced understanding that nothing is quite as black and white as it is often made out to be."