Category Archives: civic theory

the question of sacrifice in politics

(Atlanta, en route to Starkville, MS) Sacrifice can be a political act; often politics requires it. Sacrifice would be unnecessary in an ideal society and pointless in a completely static one; but in an unjust society that is subject to … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, deliberation, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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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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

Posted in civic theory, populism | 2 Comments

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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Facts/Values/Strategies: a mini-conference at Tufts’ University’s Tisch College of Civic Life

Current global crises of democracy raise fundamental questions about how citizens can be responsible and effective actors, whether they are combating racism in the United States, protecting human rights in the Middle East, or addressing climate change. If “citizens” are … Continue reading

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review article: Public-Spirited Citizenship: Leadership and Good Government in the United States by Ralph Ketcham

[From Political Science Quarterly, vol. 131, no. 4, winter 2016-17, pp. 896-7. Text as submitted. The definitive version is available at www.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/polq. ] Ralph Ketcham is a distinguished American political historian and biographer, a renowned educator, and an avid student … Continue reading

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save the date for Frontiers of Democracy: June 22-24, 2017 in Boston

Frontiers of Democracy is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University with partners. In 2017, the frontiers of democracy are threatened around the world. Leaders and movements that have popular support–yet … Continue reading

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Levinson and Fay, Dilemmas of Educational Ethics

Meira Levinson’s and Jacob Fay’s edited volume Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries is enormously valuable. It not only addresses problems that confront educators every day but also suggests how moral reasoning can be revitalized in academia. The book is organized … Continue reading

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