2018 European Summer Institute of Civic Studies

Call for Applications

We are happy to invite you to participate in the European Summer Institute of Civic Studies that will take place in Herrsching near Munich, Germany, from July 15th to July 28th 2018. The Summer Institute of Civic Studies is organized by a team from the University of Maryland (Prof. Karol Soltan) and the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt/University of Augsburg (Prof. Tetyana Kloubert) with Tufts University’s Prof. Peter Levine, who will join for two days.

The total number of participants will be limited to 20. We will consider applications from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Poland, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. [Revised list, 1/15/18] We are especially interested in applicants who have a long-term interest in developing the civic potential of the region. If you are from elsewhere in the world, the Tisch College Summer Institute of Civic Studies at Tufts is a better fit.

Objectives and topics

The Summer Institute of Civic Studies is an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar bringing together advanced graduate students, faculty, and practitioners from diverse fields of study. It is part of an effort to build a new inter-disciplinary field of civic studies, aiming to develop ideas helpful to citizens. The notions of civic ideals, civic competence, civic society, and civic culture all capture in various ways the perspective of this emerging field.

Summer Institutes of Civic Studies have been annually organized by Peter Levine and Karol Soltan at Tufts University since 2009. The Tufts Summer Institutes has been organized around the theme of the interaction of theory and practice. They have aimed above all to establish civic studies as a theoretically serious field.

The European Summer Institute incorporates in addition distinctly European topics, such as the European Union. But within the European Summer Institute, with its roots in Eastern and Central Europe, we have also introduced a deeper second theme. We aim to develop the civic perspective in the shadow of past totalitarianism and its horrors. We look at modernity as a venue of civic work, with special attention to the fact that modernity also produced Lenin, Stalin and Hitler.

Civic Studies draws on examples from the practices of multiple civic society initiatives. Often the key question is strategic: What was practically possible and under what circumstances? For this purpose, examples from different international contexts are helpful, as they illuminate the possibilities and limitations of the establishment of civic perspectives. We seek to identify country-specific civic society projects, to search for a link between science and practice in the regional and international context and to promote intercultural encounters and intercultural learning.

The Summer Institute of Civic Studies deals with issues of development of civil society, the role of an individual/citizen in society, the role of education and the role of institutions in supporting, promoting and deepening democracy, and questions related to the ethical foundation of civic issues in a (democratic) society. These topics will be examined in international and comparative perspectives, considering European (especially German) and US-American civic traditions. International examples will be discussed in the context of consolidation of democracy in Eastern Europe, and in the context of the recent challenges of populism.

The Summer Institute of Civic Studies engages participants in challenging discussions such as:

  • What kinds of citizens (if any) do good regimes need?
  • What should such citizens know, believe, and do?
  • Should we reformulate the project of democracy in response to the challenge of populism, and if so, how?
  • What ought to be the relationships among empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy?

How to apply

All application materials must be submitted in English. The application must include the following:

  • A cover letter telling us why you want to participate in the summer institute and what you would contribute (maximum 2 pages)
  • A curriculum vitae

All application material can be sent as an email attachment in DOC or PDF format to tetyana.kloubert@ku.de.

Decisions will be announced in April 2018.

The working language of the Summer Institute will be English. Your mastery of the English language must be sufficient to read and understand complex texts from multiple disciplines, and to take part in a lively discussion.


For best consideration apply by March 1, 2018.


The Summer Institute of Civic Studies is being funded by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). All participants will be paid for their travel costs, accommodations, meals and full event access.


For more information about the Summer Institute of Civic Studies please contact tetyana.kloubert@ku.de

We encourage you to share this message with your networks of people who might be interested by the Summer Institute of Civic Studies.

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.
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