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Mary (Molly) Scudder is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. She specializes in political theory, with interests in democratic theory, affect and democracy, deliberation, and art and politics. Molly’s dissertation, “Against Empathy: Aesthetic-Affective Dimensions of Democratic Deliberation,” explores the disposition required of citizens engaging in democratic discourse. Specifically, she explains the need for citizens to be dialogically open and receptive when deliberating with their fellow citizens. Challenging calls for empathy, she argues that feelings of difference are a more democratic resource for addressing the problem of dialogical closure among citizens. Molly graduated summa cum laude from Santa Clara University where she majored in Political Science and French Language & Literature. She has an MA in Political Theory from the University of Virginia.