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Jennifer Forestal on Designing Democratic Digital Spaces
On this episode of Virtual Sentiments, Kristen interviews Jennifer Forestal, the Helen Houlahan Rigali Assistant Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago, on the role that digital spaces play in a democratic environment. They discuss the ways in which the design of digital spaces can incentivize or discourage certain types of speech, and how digital boundaries play a key role in shaping these incentives. Forestal also draws on the history of political thought to show how thinkers such as Alexis de Tocqueville dealt with similar types of questions relevant to digital technology before its emergence. Additionally, Collins and Forestal tackle Tocqueville's diagnosis of isolation in a democracy, and how his insights remain relevant in a digital age. Later in the episode, Forestal shares her experience in working on her book and offers encouragement to those who are in the midst of graduate school or working on projects of their own.