Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center Inaugural Conference at UT Austin
Posted: July 23, 2014
Dr. Sylvia Hurtado
The Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center was formed in 2013 to address concerns about growing polarization in public conversations and increased restrictions on eacademic freedom on college campuses. Pauline Strong, director of the Humanities Institute, is a member of the DDNRC Advisory Board, which developed out of the Ford Foundation's Difficult Dialogues program. The Center will host its first biennial conference September 26, 2014, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. The Humanities Institute will host a welcoming reception on the evening of September 25.
Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, Professor and Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, will deliver the keynote address. Her lecture is free and open to the public. Panels, open to registered participants, will consider how to productively engage difficult dialogues, use interactive theater as a means of approaching difficult topics, and how to involve other institutions in rethinking pedagogical and other practices in order to support respectful, productive dialogues.
The University of Texas has been a leading Difficult Dialogues institution since 2006. At UT Austin the Difficult Dialogues program features small undergraduate courses on controversial topics, pedagogical workshops for faculty and graduate students, and public forums are current issues. In Fall 2014 Difficult Dialogues courses include "Cultural Identities and Differences, taught by Pauline Strong; "Human Rights and Development in Africa," taught by Ruramisai Charumbira; and "War and Asian Americans," taught by Sharmila Rudrappa.