Chautauqua Women's Club

Chautauqua In-Depth


Pamela Paresky


An advocate for free speech and free minds, psychologist Pamela Paresky is the creator of the project Habits of a Free Mind: Psychology for Democracy and The Good Life, a set of teachable practices for fostering the habits of curiosity, compassion, courage and calling –– habits necessary for contributing to and thriving in a liberal, pluralist democracy. She is a visiting fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University where her Habits of a Free Mind course focuses on the ability to engage across lines of difference without feeling traumatized and without dehumanizing others.

Paresky writes about various aspects of illiberalism, including censorship, campus culture, antisemitism, and the effect of tribal norms on friendship and society. She is also a senior scholar at the Network Contagion Research Institute where she and her colleagues research and write about antisemitism and other forms of extremism.

She is the author of the guided journal, A Year of Kindness and was the primary researcher and in-house editor for the bestselling book, The Coddling of the American Mind. In addition to Johns Hopkins, she has taught at the University of Chicago and the United States Air Force Academy. She has a background in both anthropology and clinical psychology, and holds an interdisciplinary PhD in psychology and human development from the University of Chicago where her work at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) focused on happiness, relationships, and “Flow,” a construct developed by the late social psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.