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.

taking satisfaction from politics in the face of injustice

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made … Continue reading

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registration open for Frontiers of Democracy

Tickets are now available for Frontiers of Democracy, June 22-24. Frontiers is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, with partners. This year’s theme is defending the frontiers of democracy against undemocratic, … Continue reading

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why Trump fans aren’t holding him accountable (yet)

(Washington DC) Kevin Drum imagines how a Trump fan receives the president’s tweets: You’re at home, watching the Factor, and O’Reilly is going on about the crime problem in Chicago. It’s outrageous! The place is a war zone! Somebody should … Continue reading

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assessing the charge of respectability politics

“Respectability politics” is a valuable term of criticism. Apparently, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham coined it in 1993. It refers to a strategy of trying to look “better” in the eyes of the dominant group in order to be accepted and make progress. Since … Continue reading

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fighting Trump’s populism with pluralist populism

In lieu of a substantive new post here today, I’ll link to an essay of mine on the Oxford University Press blog, “Fighting Trump’s populism with pluralist populism.” It concludes, “We need a dose of populism that neither delivers power to a … Continue reading

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Saturday’s democratic vistas

The ideal of democracy gets weak support today. Republican presidents from T.R. to George W. Bush presented the United States as a champion of democracy. But a current conservative talking point holds that the US is meant to be a republic, not … Continue reading

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a plea to conservatives

The new president derides almost everything you claim to defend. You say you are for limited government and the rule of law over men; he denies all limitations. You say you are patriots; he praises a foreign kleptocrat while abusing his domestic … Continue reading

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on the relationship between ethics and politics

The basic ethical question is “What should I do?” Three prevalent ways of addressing that question are: 1) to universalize, asking what you’d want anyone to do who was similarly situated, 2) to maximize, asking how you can do the … Continue reading

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Apply for the Ninth Annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies

The ninth annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies will take place from June 12 to June 22, 2017 at Tufts University. It will be an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar that brings together faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many … Continue reading

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the prophetic mode in the Civil Rights Movement and in everyday politics

On Martin Luther King Day, Kenyatta R. Gilbert published an explanatory article in The Conversation about King’s “prophetic vision.” Gilbert traced King’s rhetorical mode to three “particularly inventive” Black preachers active during the Great Migration: “Baptist pastor Adam C. Powell Sr., the African Methodist … Continue reading

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