Author Archives: Peter

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.

anxieties about American exceptionalism

In our century, a major fault line in US politics has been the question of “American exceptionalism,” meaning the unique excellence or mission of the USA–“the notion that America is freer and more democratic than any other nation, and for … Continue reading

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St Kevin had the gift of talking with beasts. It came naturally to him, a hermit, Living amongst them in his hollow tree In Glendalough, long vale of icy lakes. But just because he and they could converse Doesn’t mean … Continue reading

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Jonathan Strange, Mr Norrell, and the Industrial Revolution

I read Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell a decade ago (blog post here) and recently watched the BBC adaptation. I’d agree with Kate Nepveu that the miniseries is worth watching even though the changes in plot make it less compelling … Continue reading

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what is polarization and when is it bad?

We might say that people are polarized when … They hold opposing positions on issues that matter to them. They hold contrasting core values that drive their opinions about issues. They identify strongly and stably with parties or ideological groups … Continue reading

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the kind of sacrifice required in nonviolence

We see nonviolent social movements forming and acting all around us right now: Charlottesville, Boston, Phoenix. There’s also a lively debate about whether nonviolence is the best response to threats like the alt-right, and if so, why. (Is nonviolence a … Continue reading

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a civic studies perspective on European citizenship

In “A Civic Studies perspective on European citizens: in search for potential in the conflict surrounding TTIP” (European Politics and Society, Aug 2017, pp. 1-27), Nora Schröder provides a learned and insightful overview of Civic Studies–consistent with the core ideals of … Continue reading

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have youth opinions of race changed?

Los Angeles Public Radio station 89.33 KPCC interviewed to me last Thursday on the topic, “Are young people’s views on race really that different from their parents?” I emphasized that young people are demographically more diverse than their predecessors; about … Continue reading

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come work with us: new senior research position at CIRCLE

Senior Researcher: The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), Tisch College. Apply here. Description The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life prepares students in all fields of study for lifetimes of active citizenship, promotes new … Continue reading

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Ukraine means borderland

This isn’t a travel blog, and my photos aren’t very good, but here are some images that hint at Ukraine’s history as a borderland (which is its very meaning). For instance, a minbar (the staircase a preacher ascends in a … Continue reading

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civics road trip: from Philadelphia to Ukraine

I’m in Philadelphia for the Action Civics Initiative Summer Convening, a gathering of students, educators, and NGO leaders who are working to make civic education more action-oriented. From the closing plenary tomorrow, I’m heading to Ukraine to participate in the … Continue reading

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