Carnegie Mellon University

divided democracy

September 04, 2018

Law and American Society Lecture

By Joseph E. (Jay) Devine

Greetings from Carnegie Mellon University.

I’m writing to share with you the news that on September 27, 2018, from 5:00-6:00 PM, in Porter Hall 100 on the Carnegie Mellon University campus, we will host Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, who will deliver a free public lecture on the following topic:

Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media

As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies—such as Facebook—can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It's no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. Sunstein will describe how the online world creates "cybercascades," exploits "confirmation bias" and assists "polarization entrepreneurs." And he will explain why online fragmentation endangers the shared conversations, experiences and understandings that are the lifeblood of democracy. In response, Sunstein will propose practical and legal changes to make the internet friendlier to democratic deliberation.

This will also serve as our prelaw program’s 9th annual The Thomas M. Kerr, Jr. Lecture on Law and American Society, named after the late Thomas M. Kerr, Jr., a CMU faculty member and prelaw advisor for many years, and a leading figure in the history of the Pittsburgh and PA ACLU. (See the attached bio.) Professor Sunstein’s lecture is also being sponsored by the Carnegie Mellon University Lecture series, the Thomas M. Kerr, Jr. CMU Prelaw Program, the CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research, and the CMU Department of Philosophy’s Program for Deliberative Democracy and Center for Ethics.

Parking will be available along Frew Street (adjacent to Porter Hall), as well as in the university’s East Campus Garage. See the CMU Campus map.


Jay Devine
Prelaw Advisor, Carnegie Mellon University

Joseph E. Devine
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Prelaw Advisor
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue / Baker Hall 154
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
TEL: 412-268-2831
FAX: 412-268-5288