Viewpoint diversity is the sort of idea that sounds good on paper, but in practice, few of us like to embrace. We don’t like to hear ideas we think are wrong and certainly rarely think about why those ‘wrong’ ideas are important to discuss. Our recent guest does research on the importance of viewpoint diversity, teaches a course on the topic, and also consults with businesses that want to create an environment that encourages diverse perspectives.

Dr. Jennifer Thompson sat down with Dr. Ilana Redstone, associate professor of sociology at the University of Illinois, to talk her about her work on the value of viewpoint diversity and the challenges of discussing a variety of views on sensitive topics, like race and issues related to identity. Ilana shares her experiences in the classroom, helping students navigate dialogue and gives us important examples of mistakes we might avoid in trying to have sensitive conversations ourselves.

Show Notes:

Short videos from the Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes course

Check out Ilana’s recent pieces:

The Case for Cautious OptimismTablet

The Politics of Critical ThinkingDiscourse

Be a Fox, Not a HedgehogDiscourse

Ilana’s Forbes column

Diverse Perspectives Consulting

Unassailable Ideas: How Unwritten Rules and Social Media Shape Discourse in American Higher Education – Ilana Redstone

You can follow Ilana’s work on Twitter.

About our guest:

Ilana Redstone is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, Professor Redstone obtained her BA at the University of New Hampshire and her Ph.D in Demography and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been at the University of Illinois since 2005.

Professor Redstone’s work has focused on legal permanent residents to the United States. Using a quantitative analytic approach, she has addressed questions surrounding a variety of dimensions of immigrant adaptation to the U.S.

She has also written on the discipline of Sociology and the divisions therein.

Professor Redstone’s current work focuses on campus climate and viewpoint diversity.