1st Edition

Let’s Agree to Disagree A Critical Thinking Guide to Communication, Conflict Management, and Critical Media Literacy

By Nolan Higdon, Mickey Huff Copyright 2022
    236 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    236 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In an age defined by divisive discourse and disinformation, democracy hangs in the balance. Let’s Agree to Disagree seeks to reverse these trends by fostering constructive dialogue through critical thinking and critical media literacy. This transformative text introduces readers to useful theories, powerful case studies, and easily adoptable strategies for becoming sharper critical thinkers, more effective communicators, and critically media literate citizens.

    Introduction: Why Should We Agree to Disagree? 

    Part I


    1. Create Constructive Dialogue

    2. Reflect on Communication Practices and Censorship

    Part II

    Critical Thinking

    3. Inquire: Be A Critical Thinker

    4. Test Theory and Spot Ideology

    Part III

    Critical Media Literacy

    5. Investigate and Evaluate Mass Media

    6. Critiquing Content: "Fake News" and Ethical Journalism

    7. Assess and Analyze Digital Media Use and Abuse

    Part IV

    Lead by Example: Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport

    8. Conclusion


    Nolan Higdon is a lecturer at Merrill College and the Education Department at University of California, Santa Cruz. Higdon's areas of concentration include digital culture, news media history, and critical media literacy. Higdon is a founding member of the Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas. He sits on the boards of the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) and Northwest Alliance For Alternative Media And Education. His most recent publications include The Anatomy of Fake News: A Critical News Literacy Education (2020) and The Podcaster's Dilemma: Decolonizing Podcasters in the Era of Surveillance Capitalism (2021). He is a longtime contributor to Project Censored's annual book, Censored. In addition, he has been a contributor to Truthout and Counter-Punch; and a source of expertise for numerous news outlets including The New York Times, CNBC, and San Francisco Chronicle.

    Mickey Huff is the director of Project Censored and president of the nonprofit Media Freedom Foundation. To date, he has co-edited 13 editions of the Project’s yearbook, including most recently Project Censored’s State of the Free Press 2022, with Andy Lee Roth. He is also co-author, with Nolan Higdon, of United States of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post-Truth America (and what we can do about it) (2019). Huff received the Beverly Kees Educator Award as part of the 2019 James Madison Freedom of Information Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California. He is professor of social science, history, and journalism at Diablo Valley College, where he co-chairs the history program and is chair of the Journalism Department. Huff is executive producer and host of The Project Censored Show, a weekly syndicated public affairs program that airs across the U.S. on Pacifica Radio. Learn more at projectcensored.org.

    "I did not think we, as a society, could agree to disagree, which makes this book incredibly powerful - and incredibly needed in our divisive times. Higdon and Huff have provided both depth and breadth to multiple areas of our mediated world and in so doing have presented readers with a cogent and incredibly valuable text that will enable readers to learn about the mass media, themselves, and concrete ways to make change."

    Allison Butler, Senior Lecturer & Director of Undergraduate Advising, Director Media Literacy Certificate Program, Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    "In the age of new and powerful tools of communication, democracy has become more fragile and vulnerable to attacks by right-wing forces. What is clear is that  the tools of communication, culture, literacy and critical thinking are more crucial than ever in creating both informed citizens and maintaining a substantive democracy.  Let’s Agree to Disagree is a brilliant and informative guide and analysis to the most defining features of what it means to create critically literate citizens, to enable  how they might communicate constructively with each other, and what it means connect an informed public to critically engaged actions. Higdon and Huff provide a brilliant, crucial analysis of the dangers that democracy now faces;  they provide an invaluable analysis of what it means to understand and engage the role of communication in fighting against the forces of civic illiteracy, and the role that  citizens can play in engaging, understanding, and assessing how to think, engage, and act through an informed lens of critical thinking. Let’s Agree to Disagree is both a primer and an invaluable resource on misinformation, critical thinking, a disregard for the truth, and what is necessary to address the new and powerful forms of communication that now shape politics, power and mass consciousness. This is a book that should be read by anyone is believes that matters of literacy, truth, rationality, and civic courage are essential to fighting for a radical democracy."

    Henry Giroux, McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest, Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy, at McMaster University

    "Let’s Agree to Disagree provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges, failures, and successes of communication and critical thinking for justice and democracy. Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff have written an essential book for all educators because dialogue and critical reflection are the heart of progressive education. The better we learn to listen, question, and respond with compassion, empathy, and respect, the more likely we will build genuine relationships of caring and critical inquiry where authentic learning occurs and social justice thrives."

    Jeff Share, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

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