Why It Matters

Conversations on civic and electoral engagement.

Michigan Humanities will present a series of virtual state-wide conversations that will examine the electoral process by exploring Michigan’s urban rural divide and the influence of social media. These conversations will bring together humanities professionals and Michiganders and provide a place for open dialogue and learning.

This program is funded by a $1.96 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The grant supports a new national initiative, “Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation,” which will explore civic participation as it relates to electoral engagement in a multivocal democracy. Programs will be conducted in 43 US states and territories throughout the course of the initiative


Bringing together:
Diverse Voices
Critical Analysis
Thoughtful Dialogue


Upcoming Events:


February 25, 2021 at 7 p.m.


Impacts of social media on elections, politics, and how society consumes information


Dr. Amanda R. Martinez and Dr. Jayson Dibble


Dr. Amanda R. Martinez


Dr. Amanda R. Martinez (Ph.D., Texas A&M University) is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Sociology at Davidson College, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. She studies media effects and health communication with a focus on underrepresented populations, identity, intersectionality, race-based media stereotyping, humorous communication in entertainment contexts, and inter-group communication dynamics. Her publications appear in several peer reviewed journals, including Mass Communication & Society, The Howard Journal of Communications, Southern Communication Journal, and Women’s Studies in Communication, as well as edited books. She is currently co-editing a Cultural Media Studies book series for Peter Lang Publishing. Dr. Martinez co-taught the 2017 EdX course, The Story of Fake News and has been interviewed for stories in The Charlotte Observer, Inside Higher Ed, and Charlotte Business Journal. 


Dr. Jayson Dibble


Dr. Jayson L. Dibble, Ph.D., is currently an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He holds a doctorate in interpersonal communication from Michigan State University, and he researches and teaches on the topic of interpersonal communication to include communication through social media and the impact of social media on personal relationships. Dr. Dibble has published or co-published more than two dozen articles or book chapters, and his research and writing have been featured in various national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, The Washington Post, Fox News, The Atlantic, and Psychology Today 


Register for this event HERE


March 4, 2021 at 7 p.m.


 Impacts of social media and the psychology of misinformation with Marcus Collins


 Marcus Collins is a culturally curious thinker with an academic insight into the cognitive drivers that impact consumer behavior. Collins is an Award-Winning advertiser and a Lecturer of Marketing at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, where he helps bridge the academic-practitioner gap for both degree-seeking students and business executives. He has spent the last decade helping “blue-chip” brands (like McDonald’s, Google, AB-InBev) navigate the challenges of digital transformation to create contagious marketing ideas that extend across both the online and offline worlds of “social.” Throughout his career, Marcus has been acknowledged for his strategic and creative contributions as an advertiser (Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 recipient, Clio award winner) where he launched such notable campaigns as “Cliff Paul” for State Farm, the Made In America Music Festival for Budweiser, ”Hello Brooklyn” for the Brooklyn Nets, and the Eggo + Netflix’s Stranger Things conquest. 

Register for this event HERE




March 25, 2021 at 7 p.m.


Impacts of social media and the psychology of misinformation with Dr. Dannagal Young and Dr. Jayson Dibble


Dannagal G. Young (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, 2007) is a Professor of Communication and Political Science at the University of Delaware. Her research on the psychology and influence of non traditional political information has been widely published including articles in The Columbia Journalism Review, Media Psychology, Political Communication, International Journal of Press/Politics, and Mass Media and Society.  Her book “Irony and Outrage” examines satire and outrage as the logical extensions of the respective psychological profiles of liberals and conservatives. Dr. Young is a TED speaker and a committed public scholar. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and the major broadcast networks, and her work and writing has appeared in dozens of newspaper and magazine articles including Op-Eds in the Washington Post, Vox, and The Atlantic. Young is a Distinguished Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, an Affiliated Researcher with the University of Arizona’s National Institute for Civil Discourse and the 2014 Recipient of the University of Delaware’s Excellent in Teaching Award.


Register for this event HERE






Past Events

December 3, 2020 7 p.m.
The Urban/Rural Divide in Michigan

Dr. Thomas Henthorn and Dr. Kevin G. Lorentz II
 Watch a recording of this event HERE
















Panelists for discussions on the Urban/Rural divide in Michigan:








Dr. Thomas Henthorn
Dr. Thomas Henthorn is the Wyatt Endowed Professor of Public History at the the University of Michigan at Flint and his research explores the intersection between urban history and public history. Dr. Henthorn’s research challenges audiences and his students to think about the historical differences between city and countryside.








Dr. Kevin G. Lorentz II (Ph.D, Wayne State University)
Dr. Lorentz is a lecturer in political science at the University of Michigan at Flint. His research focuses broadly on American constitutional law, judicial politics, and civic education, with a specific focus on constitutional attitudes. Kevin’s other research focuses on judicial decision making and behavior, civic education and pedagogical practices, and collaborative work on local government institutional structures and behaviors. Beyond his academic work, Kevin has worked extensively in local government, serving as a member of the Bay County (Michigan) Board of Canvassers (auditing and certifying election results) and as a deputy county clerk. A native of northern Michigan, Kevin received his B.A. from Saginaw Valley State University (University Center, MI) and completed master’s coursework at Central Michigan University (Mt. Pleasant, MI).