Monthly Archives: July 2011

how will we remember the Great Recession?

(Macon, GA) The Great Depression of the 1930s left a visual signature: black-and-white images of hobos and 5-cent apples, Hoovervilles and gaunt Appalachian farm women. What will be the memorable images of the Great Recession? That aesthetic question is certainly … Continue reading

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content of an intro course on active citizenship at Tufts

(Macon, GA) Next year, I will teach the introductory course (“Education for Active Citizenship”) for the Tisch Scholars for Citizenship and Public Service program at Tufts. Most of the Scholars’ work involves conducting community projects of their choice, beginning in … Continue reading

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insanity and evil: two paradigms

The lawyer for Anders Behring Breivik says that his client, accused of murdering at least 76 people, is “insane.” That word belongs to a vocabulary set that also includes “mentally ill,” “abnormal,” and “unhealthy,” as well as their opposites, “healthy” … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy | 2 Comments

what should New Hampshire do about civic education?

(Concord, NH) I have been meeting with the New Hampshire Task Force on Civic Education, which includes a very engaged and thoughtful Justice David Souter. The Task Force is seeking to define what “civic education” should achieve in the Granite … Continue reading

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reflections on the Frontiers of Democracy conference

The Frontiers conference took place at Tufts on July 21-23. We hadn’t invited many individuals or even advertised the conference widely, but 117 people attended, ranging from high school and college students to senior professors and CEOs of important civic … Continue reading

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Frontiers of Democracy

I have been offline because I’ve been at the Frontiers of Democracy conference with about 120 scholars, activists, public officials, and students. There is a lively discussion of the conference themes on Twitter under the hashtag #demfront. Various subsets of … Continue reading

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on religion in public debates and specifically in middle school classrooms

Harvard Ed. School professor Meira Levinson visited the Summer Institute of Civic Studies yesterday and led us in a discussion of a case that raises two fundamental issues. Students were required to choose and implement a civic action project. An … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, deliberation | 5 Comments

are the House Republicans a Madisonian faction?

Today, in the Summer Institute of Civic Studies, we discussed James Madison’s famous definition: By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by … Continue reading

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why post-modern nation states do not need mass support

In Downsizing Democracy,* Matthew Crenson and Benjamin Ginsberg suggest that 19th and 20th century nations needed mass support in order to field huge armies and float national debts. But postmodern nations need neither mass conscription in wartime nor huge numbers … Continue reading

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on respecting and challenging community norms

Here is a passage from We make the Road by Walking, a dialogue between the American civil rights leader Myles Horton (who founded the Highlander Folk School) and the Brazilian popular educator Paulo Freire. We talked about it today in … Continue reading

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