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.

explore Tisch College

(Washington, DC) Yesterday’s launch of a very attractive new website for the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life provides a reason to explore what we offer at Tisch. We provide advanced civic education for students in all of Tufts University’s … Continue reading

Posted in academia, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

so, you want to strengthen democracy?

This year’s Frontiers of Democracy conference explored a set of analytical tools that may be useful if you want to improve or defend democracy: You should decide where you stand on the current crisis in American democracy (which is mirrored in many … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, deliberation | Leave a comment

how to get a deliberative democracy

The annual Frontiers of Democracy conference ended on Saturday–and my thanks to the 150 dedicated and skillful participants. It’s billed as a gathering of people committed to various forms of democratic reform, but it tends to draw colleagues from one … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, deliberation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Frontiers of Democracy starts today

About 140 thinkers and activists for democracy gather today at Frontiers of Democracy. If you’re not among us, you can watch the live-streams of the plenary sessions. The #DemFront hashtag is also being used already for substantive conversations. In past years, the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

a sketch of a theory of social movements

Any social movement needs resources, such as money, existing organizations with members, physical spaces, tools for communication, people with special skills, allies within existing power structures, etc. These resources are somewhat flexible; for instance, you can do without money if … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hannah Arendt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Hannah Arendt’s interpretation of the American Revolution may not be accurate history, but it is valuable political theory, and it finds an eloquent echo in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Arendt argues that the American revolutionaries began by seeking liberty, which they … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CQ article on civic education

There’s always a steady trickle of articles about civic education, and I don’t post most of them, but I do recommend “Misinformed and Unschooled, Young People Are Failing in Civics” by Emily Watkins for CQ/Roll Call. Actually, the headline is … Continue reading

Posted in advocating civic education, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

saving Habermas from the deliberative democrats

“God save me from the Marxists”–attributed to Karl Marx Jürgen Habermas is often presented as the master theorist of deliberative democracy, the author who believes that a society should approximate an “ideal speech situation” in which “the only force is the … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, deliberation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

does the UK election show a return to two-party rule?

A May 2016 article in the Financial Times was headlined, “British politics has broken out of the two-party system.” The lead explains: Politics has fragmented. London’s choice of Sadiq Khan as mayor grabbed the headlines — and rightly so. But … Continue reading

Posted in democratic reform overseas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

starting the 9th annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies

The 9th annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies begins this morning and continues for two weeks, with 6½ hours of seminar discussion daily.  This year’s participants hold degrees in religion and literature, social policy, social welfare, international relations, political theory, philosophy, management, education, public … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory | Leave a comment