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John Gastil

Distinguished Professor in Communication Arts & Sciences and Political Science and Senior Scholar at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy

234 Sparks Bldg.
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. B.A., Swarthmore College, 1989
  2. M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991
  3. Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994

Dr. John Gastil studies public deliberation and group decision making across a range of contexts. His newest books are Hope for democracy: How citizens can bring reason back into politics (Oxford, 2020) with Katie Knobloch and Legislature by lot: Transformative designs for deliberative governance (Verso, 2019) with Erik Olin Wright. Gastil also has two debut novels this year, a near-future political sci-fi tale (Gray Matters) and a literary tribute to gaming culture (Dungeon Party), both by UK independent publisher John Hunt.

His current emphasis is the Democracy Machine project, which aims to design and study new modes of communication between citizens and government. His work on the Citizens’ Initiative Review helped evaluate an exciting new form of public deliberation that should improve initiative elections. His Jury and Democracy Project has investigated, and hopefully helped vindicate, the jury system as a valuable civic educational institution. His work with the Cultural Cognition Project in demonstrating the ways in which our deeper values bias how we learn about issues and form opinions. Professor Gastil has integrated some of the best research in his primary fields of study in two books. Political Communication and Deliberation uses the idea of public deliberation as a way to organize the wider study of political communication, and The Group in Society presents an Embedded System Framework for integrating research on group communication and behavior. He teaches courses on Democratic Deliberation (CAS/PL SC 409 and CAS 509), Group Communication (CAS 250), and Quantitative Methods (CAS 304 and CAS 561).