UNE Center for Global Humanities presents ‘The Bifurcation of America (and Other Countries)’

Composite image of a tree, one half bright and green and other half dying
This event marks the start of the Center for Global Humanities’ 14th season.

With the midterm elections rapidly approaching, the political divide in America has never been more apparent. One camp describes the U.S. as awash in racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of degradation and exclusion, while another camp claims that “identity politics” is tearing the country apart. Meanwhile, the growing distrust of scientists, journalists, and government bureaucrats is palpable, along with an erosion of faith in U.S. institutions and civic processes, and (at least apparently) growing disagreement about basic facts.

A lecture at the University of New England Center for Global Humanities will examine this phenomenon and seek to identify its underlying causes when scholar Musa al-Gharbi presents “The Bifurcation of America (and Other Countries)” on Monday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at the WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion on the UNE Portland Campus.

This event marks the start of the Center for Global Humanities’ 14th season of offering live lectures and other events to the UNE and Portland communities as well as to viewers watching online worldwide. 

Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. His research focuses on how people talk about, think about, and produce a shared understanding of social phenomena—from national security and foreign policy issues, to domestic law enforcement, to U.S. political races, to socioeconomic and cultural inequalities. His first book, We Have Never Been Woke: Social Justice Discourse, Inequality and the Rise of a New Elite is forthcoming with Princeton University Press. Al-Gharbi is also a columnist with The Guardian, and has previously published essays in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, and many other outlets. He is regularly interviewed by national and international media to contextualize current events, including spots on NPR, Voice of America, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and USA Today.
In this lecture, al Ghabi will argue that the tension simmering throughout American communities is symptomatic of a broader conflict between an ascendant constellation of elites whose wealth and influence derive from the production and manipulation of symbols and rhetoric, images and narratives, data and analysis, ideas and abstractions, versus a growing number of “other” Americans who feel their values, priorities, and interests are unrepresented in the new social order. While making this case, al-Gharbi will upend conventional wisdom about the fault-lines driving the results of the 2016, 2018, and 2020 political elections — as well as the forthcoming midterms in November 2022. 
This first lecture of the Fall 2022 season for the Center for Global Humanities will be followed by three more between now and December. Lectures at the Center are always free, open to the public, and streamed live online. For more information and to watch the event, please visit: https://www.une.edu/events/2022/bifurcation-america-and-other-countries