As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. In #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media, Cass Sunstein examines the ways that the internet fuels political fragmentation and even extremism. He shows how the internet and social media create "cybercascades," assist "polarization entrepreneurs," and exploit confirmation bias. #Republic proposes ways to make the internet friendly to democratic deliberation, and to increase interactions with new ideas and people.
Larry Kramer of the Hewlett Foundation, Nathaniel Persily of Stanford Law School, and Shanto Iyengar of Stanford University will join a conversation with Cass Sunstein about the perils and promise of digital technology on democracy.
Cass Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations. His many books include the New York Times bestsellers Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler) and The World According to Star Wars. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Larry Kramer became President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, in September 2012. Before joining the foundation, Larry served from 2004 to 2012 as Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School. His teaching and scholarly interests include American legal history, constitutional law, federalism, separation of powers, the federal courts, conflict of laws, and civil procedure. Larry is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Law Institute.
Nathaniel Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He focuses on the law of democracy, addressing issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance and redistricting. A sought-after nonpartisan voice in voting rights, he has served as a court-appointed expert to draw legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland and New York and as special master for the redistricting of Connecticut’s congressional districts. Most recently, he also served as the Senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, a bipartisan commission created by the President to deal with the long lines at the polling place and other administrative problems witnessed in the 2012 election.
Shanto Iyengar is the Chandler Chair in Communication at Stanford University where he is also Director of the Political Communication Laboratory. Iyengar’s areas of expertise include the role of mass media in democratic societies, public opinion, and political psychology. He is the recipient of the Philip Converse Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book in the field of public opinion, the Murray Edelman Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard University. Iyengar is author or co-author of several books, including News That Matters (University of Chicago Press, 1987), Going Negative (Free Press, 1995), and Media Politics: A Citizen’s Guide (Norton, 2011).