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Society Must Be Saved:
Restoring Civility and Community Values to Our Broken Culture
William Trapani
Lifelong Learning Society Professorship in Arts and Humanities, 2017-2018

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Society is in trouble. Our culture is lonelier, less civil, angrier, more suspicious, more partisan and less effective at encouraging citizens to work together than ever been before. Politicians divide rather than unify. Citizens retreat into technological safe spaces. The ability to communicate and engage one another dwindles. The stakes of these problems are enormous. If we are not able to change direction, the culture we know and love is in danger of being lost for good. Despite the bad news there are solutions to our national crisis of disrespect, disorder and fragmentation. This lecture series examines what has happened to civility and our shared sense of community and offers hope and suggestions for repairing the frayed habits and relations crucial to a better future. Topics include: the breakdown of political cooperation, the role of technology in eroding civility, the increasingly coarse nature of daily life, demographic and generational cultural differences, and consideration of ways to fix our national crisis. Talks will include discussion, use of visual aids, occasional handouts and opportunity for engagement/feedback.

1. Lost Civility, Lost Society: The Collapse of Community
2. The Political Circus: Repairing our Partisan Civil Society
3. Technology and Society: Clicking our Way to Crisis
4. The Way Forward: Making “Old” Values New Again
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Dr. William Trapani is an Associate Professor of Communication in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies. He is also the Director of FAU’s Agora Project – a University initiative that aims to restore civility and a respect for academic environments. Since 2013, Dr. Trapani has spoken to over 7,000 people about the need to renew and restore values essential to our American democratic society. As Director of the Agora Project, he has organized and participated in forums, public debates, workshops, lecture series and directed student initiatives to restore civic engagement. Dr. Trapani’s scholarly work melds rhetorical, cultural and visual studies in order to better understand public participation (and its breakdown) in our democracy. His work appears in numerous edited volumes and has appeared in journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Advances in the History of Rhetoric, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly (forthcoming). He teaches classes such as Communication and Civic Life, New Media and Civic Discourse and American Multicultural Discourse. He was involved as both a participant and judge in collegiate debate winning numerous speaking awards and he was selected (5 times) to judge the final round of the National Debate Tournament.

Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Date: Fridays, November 3, 17; December 1, 8
Location: Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Fees: Member - $50
Non-member - $65
Cash will no longer be accepted as payment for lectures.

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