Monthly Archives: February 2015

when Dante came out

In “Dante on Trial” (New York Review of Books, Feb. 19), Robert Pogue Harrison writes, “Dante seems to reveal that he himself had homosexual leanings, and that it was only fear of damnation that prevented him from acting on them.” This surprised … Continue reading

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a method for mapping discussions as networks

Two Quebecois scholars, François P. Robert and Pierre Mongeau, have developed a valuable method for modeling the “socio-semantic network” formed when people discuss an issue.* I can envision this method used to assess deliberations, to give real-time feedback to moderators … Continue reading

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making the voting age 17

I have an op-ed in Politico today that begins: It is time to try lowering the voting age to 17 nationwide. Takoma Park, Maryland, has done it. Iowa, too, for caucuses. Scotland went down to age 16 for its recent … Continue reading

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apply for the 2015 Summer Institute of Civic Studies

The seventh annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies will be an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar bringing together faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many countries and diverse fields of study. Organized by Peter Levine of Tufts University’s Tisch College and … Continue reading

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the Florida Civic Advance

(Orlando, FL), I am here for the Florida Civic Advance, a summit of people from across the state who support the civic life of their communities. They are the kinds of people who don’t just attend meetings; they organize and … Continue reading

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why don’t young Californians vote?

According to our colleagues at UC Davis, youth voter turnout in California in 2014 was just 8.2%. That meant that just 3.9% of the people who voted were under age 25, a proportion that is projected to decline as the … Continue reading

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the Women’s Studies/Civic Studies analogy

In introducing Civic Studies, I am increasingly using an analogy to Women’s Studies. This is how it goes: In the 1960s, a political movement–known retrospectively as Second-Wave Feminism–developed, with the goals of liberating women and achieving gender equality. That movement … Continue reading

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Ducks Unlimited and civic renewal

I had the pleasure today of interviewing Paul Schmidt, the Chief Conservation Officer for Ducks Unlimited, Inc. While Americans are joining traditional associations at lower rates, Ducks Unlimited has a steadily growing base of roughly one million supporters and volunteers, … Continue reading

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the two basic categories of problems

Human beings face two fundamental categories of problems: problems of discourse and problems of collective action. Problems of discourse make our conversations go badly, so that we believe or desire the wrong things. They include, for example, our unconscious biases … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, philosophy, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

a USA Today debate about the citizenship exam

USA Today’s editorial board has an editorial today supporting the recent laws in Arizona and North Dakota that require students to pass the federal test designed for naturalizing citizens. The board acknowledges, “Some questions are easy or trivial. But many … Continue reading

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