Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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Intuition, Reason, and Social Media; Gordon Pennycook

June 20, 2021

Contrary to the narrative that social media algorithms impact cognition, our research shows that people can and do override their intuitions and that reasoning often facilitates accurate belief formation. Although social media may impact what is salient to us when making choices about what to share with others, this is not intractable: Simple prompts that remind people to think about accuracy are sufficient to increase the quality of the news content that people share. This indicates that unreasonable behavior on social media is more a function of lazy thinking than of an inability for people to overcome social media algorithms.

Secularism: A Very Short Introduction; Andrew Copson

June 13, 2021

Secularism is a hot topic in public, political, and religious debate across the globe. It is embodied in the conflict between secular republics – from the US to India – and a new, resurgent religious identity politics. In the last few years we’ve seen the resurgence of evangelical ethnonationalism in the US, Hindu nationalism brought to the fore by the BJP in India, and an ever louder drumbeat of horrors inflicted on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang by the authoritarian Chinese government. What, though, is “secularism”, and why is it important?

Why Uyghur Unfreedom Matters: At the Limit of Digital Surveillance in Northwest China; Darren Byler

June 6, 2021

What are the economic and social effects of surveillance in Northwest China? Because Uyghurs–a Turkic Muslim ethnic group–have been framed by Chinese authorities as a threatening population in need of social control, their existence offers technology companies space and funding that is unavailable in other parts of China to develop new technologies. These new technologies can then be used to assist in the “legal” theft of their labor when Uyghurs are assigned to work in unfree conditions. Building on analysis of labor exploitation in other places, Prof. Byler will describe the way state power is channeled through infrastructure and institutions to intensify ethno-racialization and produce a “reeducation labor regime” at a frontier of global capitalism.

The Pandemic Pause: Using the COVID Crisis to Get Clarity; James Croft, EdD, Leader

May 30, 2021

The pandemic has forced all of us to pause many of the things which used to fill our daily lives, whether it’s our daily commute or our monthly get-together with friends. This – on top of the challenge of the virus itself – has been difficult. But it is also an opportunity: a chance to reassess our lives and get some clarity regarding what is really important, so that when everything reopens, we can start again more thoughtfully.

Where do I Stand? An Exploration of Ethical Systems; Leader Intern Christian Hayden

May 9, 2021

How do we decide what is right? What ideas and systems guide how we respond to life challenges and questions? Christian will share experiences that informed his approach to ethics and make a case why we should all expand our ethical literacy.

Green is Here for Good!; Jean Ponzi of the EarthWays Center at Missouri Botanical Garden

April 18, 2021

Our region is growing an abundance of local, sustainable, striving-to-be-equitable enterprises. From local food systems to our native plant landscaping movement, from energy policy to green jobs: much to be proud of, to support and enjoy! Prepare to be nourished by this report, and discussion that will surely complement it, with presenter “Green Jean” Ponzi of the EarthWays Center at Missouri Botanical Garden.

Doomscrolling: How Social Media Stimulation Affects Our Brains and Our Society; James Croft, EdD, Leader

April 11, 2021

Social media is now a huge part of our lives, whether we use it ourselves or not. It shapes the media agenda; it influences political discussions; it molds our culture. It also affects our brains: social media platforms use sophisticated systems to encourage us to engage more and more, perhaps beyond the point where its healthy. How is social media affecting our brains and our society? Are the effects good or bad? And what can we do about it?

Expansion in a Pandemic – How Learning Provides a Lifeline in Times of Crisis; Christian Hayden

March 21, 2021

Christian admits he was a bad student. If you talked to some of his teachers, he was probably the worst kind of student- one who was capable, but unwilling. But as an adult, the learning bug bit him and the last ten years of his life has been a sort of testament to learning within and through community. Listen to Christian retrace his learning journey and hear some first-hand accounts of his (unofficial) teachers and co-learners. In addition, he will share some of the work he has been creating with others.

Listening to Myself in the Studio; Buzz Spector

March 14, 2021

The happy attentiveness of artists at work has been described as a state of total absorption and effortless concentration. It might seem that Emerson contradicts this notion of happiness when he notes, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful…” It may be argued that functional uselessness is the basic property of any work of art. How do artists in their happiness live up to the purposes for living that Emerson offered, usefulness first, but also “to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well?”

Liberation Through Organizing; Art Reyes II, Founder of We The People

February 21, 2021

Art Reyes III leads a working class community organizing organization in Michigan that works to build multi-racial solidarity in one of the most segregated states in the country. This requires building a spirit of linked fate, that one’s liberation is intimately connected to others. Art will discuss what this has looked like in a time of rising white nationalism and threats of violence in Michigan, and how multi-racial, working-class communities have been building the capacity not only to respond but to vision and build a world where we all have dignity.

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