Teaching Democracy with Profs. Maxwell Cameron and Afsoun Afsahi

In this new Faculty Interview Series, UBC Political Science Profs. Maxwell Cameron and Afsoun Afsahi talk about their research exploring solutions for how people who have conflicting political and moral opinions can talk about political issues. Their conversation explores how UBC Political Science and the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions teaches our students to become democratically-thinking in their aspirations.

“The wise practitioner never loses sight of the importance of the intrinsic activity that they’re involved in,” Prof. Maxwell Cameron said. “Our goal is to say: what would be that intrinsic game in politics. That’s a hard question to answer. Because, as you know, politics is competitive. It is a bloodsport. People go into an arena in which they are often on the attack. What we want to do with our program is step back from that and remember the intrinsic aim of politics isn’t simply to beat your opponent. It is to serve your community.”

“Games can make people become very aware of the behaviour that they have,” Prof Afsahi said. One of the games that Prof. Afsahi used are called “deliberative worth exercises” where participants evaluated how they interacted with one another.

“This game got participants to remain reflective and hypervigilant about the way they were interacting with others,” she said.