SPOTLIGHT: Issues and Ideas

Why We Need Intellectual Humility: Politics in the 21st Century Lonna Atkeson, Florida State University, LeRoy Collins Eminent Scholar in Civic Education and Political Science, Director LeRoy Collins Institute

With a fragmented media world and a polarized America, we need intellectual humility more than ever.  Intellectual humility has to do with understanding the limits of one’s knowledge.  It’s a state of openness to new ideas, and a willingness to be receptive to new sources of evidence or evidence at all.  In this talk, I focus on political polarization and look at how we are a divided nation politically and how that is affecting our perceptions and understanding of each other.  I consider the value of teaching intellectual humility as a solution to our problems.

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Lonna Atkeson

Lonna Rae Atkeson is the LeRoy Collins Eminent Scholar in Civic Education and Political Science at Florida State University where she also directs the LeRoy Collins Institute, a public policy think tank. She is also a member of the MIT Data and Election Science Board (MEDSL). Her research focuses on election science, election administration, survey research, public policy, voting rights, public opinion, and political behavior. She has authored or edited 4 books, including the Oxford University Handbook on Polling and Survey Methods (Oxford, 2018), over 50 referred articles and book chapters, numerous policy reports and several amicus curiae briefs. She has received several academic and policy awards including the Jack Taylor Best in Government Award from Common Cause New Mexico, Distinguished Service Award from Verified Voting New Mexico and United Voters of New Mexico, and the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Society for Political Methodology. She has been a consultant to the Department of Defense, the US Election Assistance Commission, the Pew Charitable Trusts, various private companies and has served as an expert witness or consultant on several legal cases. During the 1994 elections she worked for Talmey-Drake, a survey research firm in Boulder, Colorado. From 2016-2021 she was the election and political analyst for the NBC affiliate KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Currently she is an Associate Editor for Political Analysis. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Golisano Foundation, the Thornburg Foundation, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, the New Mexico Secretary of State, and Bernalillo County, New Mexico. She Received her BA from the University of California, Riverside and her PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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