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“The Conservative and Progressive Channels of Student Activism”
In our forthcoming book, The Channels of Student Activism: How the Left and Right Are Winning (and Losing) in Campus Politics Today, we study how politically engaged college students from the left, right, and center are making sense of this particular moment in American history. We take a culturally informed organizational approach to our research, and find two distinct forms of collegiate mobilization, or what we call two channels of student activism. Both channels have particular institutional advantages but both also suffer from opposing disadvantages. Progressives are embedded within their schools. They receive significant support on campus and they generally think that their politics are in the swim of the cultural ethos with faculty, administrators, and their classmates. But progressive student activists—particularly students of color and leftists—can become disillusioned with the existing arrangements inside their universities and toward outside organizations that offer little aid to their efforts. Conservatives, on the other hand, function as an outside insurgency. They are not in the political majority on campus, and they feel isolated and unsupported. Yet while conservatives lack the same levels of institutional influence, they compensate by tapping into a powerful external ecosystem that grants considerable resources for activism on the right. In this talk, we will describe how the two channels work and what we see as the downstream effects of being mobilized in these two very different ways.
Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.