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.

the Massachusetts Citizens’ Initiative Review

[Press Release] – A 20-person panel of voters convened by the Massachusetts Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) pilot project has released its Citizens’ Statement on Question 1, the ballot question on nurse staffing limits. The Citizens’ Statement is intended to assist … Continue reading

Posted in 2018 election, deliberation | Leave a comment

how Brexit is unlike Trump (and what to do about it)

When they think about Brexit, most of my American friends equate it with the election of Donald Trump. Both events are seen as manifestations of xenophobia, paranoia toward elites, and even Russian propaganda. You can tell that this analogy is … Continue reading

Posted in democratic reform overseas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

self help: a short story

Political prisoner K. was sentenced to solitary, with only cement walls, a cot, a stinking bucket, and a food slot for company. One day, on his way back from interrogation, he saw a tattered paperback on the floor. The guard … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, verse and worse | Leave a comment

why learn game theory? (a lesson plan that includes a game)

You may or may not be interested in games: playing them, designing them, or analyzing them with the tools of game theory. It is certainly understandable if games are not your thing. However, I believe that everyone should develop the … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory | Leave a comment

nonviolent civic work under conditions of extreme violence

My Tufts colleague Anjuli N. Fahlberg, a sociologist, has done extraordinary work in Rio de Janeiro’s City of God. Despite a staggering level of violence in that neighborhood, the residents have created a wide array of impressive initiatives that offer … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, democratic reform overseas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

churchgoing and Trump

The Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group has released an important new paper by Emily Ekins entitled, “Religious Trump Voters: How Faith Moderates Attitudes about Immigration, Race, and Identity.” Ekins notes that Trump performed best in the 2016 GOP primaries among … Continue reading

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

undergraduate Introduction to Civic Studies Course

PHIL-0020-01-Intro to Civic Studies at Tufts University (Fall 2018) Ioannis D. Evrigenis, Professor of Political Science Erin I. Kelly, Professor of Philosophy Peter Levine, Lincoln-Filene Professor and Academic Dean, Tisch College Civic Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that … Continue reading

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V.S. Naipaul’s view of culture

I read a lot of Naipaul in my youth and see value in his work. But Ian Buruma’s obituary profile reminds me of the main way in which I disagreed with him. Naipaul believed there were “whole cultures”: comprehensive, harmonious, … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

from classical liberalism to a civic perspective

Earlier this summer, I was in the van Mises Room in the Friedrich von Hayek Program in the James Buchanan Building at George Mason University, talking about my intellectual hero, Elinor Ostrom, who learned a great deal from Hayek and … Continue reading

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postmodernism and Trump

In the Washington Post, Colby College English professor Aaron Hanlon argues that postmodernist theorists didn’t inspire or prepare the way for Donald Trump and other politicians who openly disparage truth. Rather, postmodernists lamented a world in which propaganda and media … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy, Trump | Leave a comment