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HxA Member Workshop: The Process of “Splitting” in Politics, Race, and Group Identity

Virtual April 8, 2021 Members Only

Thusday, April 1 (12pm-1pm ET) & Thursday, April 8 (12pm-1pm ET)

This two-day workshop, led by Andrew Hartz, examined the concept of “splitting” and how educators can use it to advance viewpoint diversity, open inquiry, and constructive disagreement. It covered the following material over two sessions:

Part 1: Political issues can be tremendously complicated, but people increasingly seem to embrace worldviews that are one-sided and simplistic. Why? Part of the answer may lie in a psychological process called “splitting.” “Splitting” involves framing ideas, individuals, or groups in all-or-nothing terms, and shutting out everything to the contrary. This workshop discussed the history of this concept and how it impacts current political dialogue. The workshop focused on concrete classroom interventions that instructors can use to help students think in a balanced and nuanced way.

Part 2: This workshop began by describing a case study of a white psychotherapy patient who “split” based on race, framing white people as all-bad and other races as all-good. The workshop went on to explore the increasingly common practice of race- and gender-based splitting. It focused on how this process can influence discussions related to free speech, equity/disparities, gender/sexuality, academic research/theory, hostile work environments, mental health, and other issues. Tools to address this problem were also explored.

About the workshop leader:

  • hartz

    Andrew Hartz, Ph.D. is an HxA Writing Fellow, an adjunct professor of clinical psychology at Long Island University, and a postdoctoral fellow in a private psychotherapy practice in New York City. His talk is based in part on his recently published op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

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Heterodox Academy hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ranging from panel conversations to skill-building member workshops to awards dinners. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all our events are currently taking place virtually. HxA also strives to host inclusive, accessible events that enable individuals to engage fully.

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