In the talk, Professor Levendusky discusses the origins of affective polarization, the tendency of Democrats and Republicans to dislike and distrust one another. He will share strategies he has tested in his research for reducing this animosity, centered on discussion.

Matthew Levendusky is professor of Political Science, as well as the Stephen and Mary Baran Chair in the Institutions of Democracy at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. He also holds a secondary (courtesy) appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication. He was previously the Penny and Robert A. Fox Director of the Fels Institute of Government (2018-2023), Distinguished Fellow in the Institutions of Democracy at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (2017-2019), as well as graduate group chairperson (2013-2018), associate professor (2013-2018), and assistant professor of Political Science at Penn (2007-2013), as well as a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for the Study of American Politics at Yale University (2006-2007). He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2006 and his BA (with highest honors) from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001. Since 2014, he has served as a decision desk analyst for NBC News.


Kristina Becvar, the guest host, is the Executive Director of the Bridge Alliance. Her professional journey has been nothing short of transformative. From a legal, operational, and change management background, she followed her curiosity to explore the world of data analytics and research methods, opening up new career paths for herself. Kristina is deeply engaged in nonviolence advocacy, particularly for those affected by war and conflict in conflict zones and international security. Her experiences as the spouse of a disabled combat veteran have contributed to her desire to bring about positive change in this field. During her M.S. pursuit, Kristina delved deep into her passion as a Human Security Lab project manager, supervising research on topics like nuclear taboos, Ukrainian conscription law, and post-U.S. withdrawal civilian voices in Afghanistan.