Category Archives: civic theory

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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perspectives on identity politics

One of the many debates that has intensified after the 2016 election concerns “identity politics.” Some liberals blame it for the Democrats’ loss. Mark Lilla writes, “If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. … Continue reading

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politics and the problem of evil

The appointment of Stephen Bannon poses the question of evil–certainly not for the first time in recent memory, but forcefully. This is a tricky topic because calling any idea or person “evil” implies a refusal to compromise, to consider agreeing, or to … Continue reading

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a definition of “civic”

In phrases like “civic education,” “civic engagement,” “civic technology,” or (as in the name of our college) “civic life,” what does the word “civic” mean?  In conversations and writing about the topic, I detect several definitions. Each definition can be introduced with a … Continue reading

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democracy in the digital age

New chapter: “Democracy in the Digital Age,” The Civic Media Reader, edited by Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016), pp. 29-47 Abstract: Digital media change rapidly, but democracy presents perennial challenges. It is not in people’s individual … Continue reading

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the world’s first and only Civic Studies rap

(Washington) And now for something different … My colleague Prof. Jonathan Garlick was a participant in last summer’s Institute of Civic Studies at Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life. After two weeks of wrestling with theorists like Jurgen Habermas and Eleanor … Continue reading

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