Today is the beginning of the third annual Institute of Civic Studies at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Citizenship. For the next two weeks, I will be meeting daily from 10 am-6 pm with a group of 20 people who include young faculty and graduate students as well as experienced practitioners, such as the city manager of a Midwestern city and the executive director of a service corps. The participants represent the disciplines of divinity, education, engineering, human development, philosophy, policy, political science, planning, and public administration.
The focus is not on how to educate people for citizenship, but rather what “citizenship” ought to mean and how (in general) to promote it. Our concern is less with who counts as a citizen than with what citizens should do. My co-organizer, Prof. Karol Soltan, and I are motivated by the goal of building a new discipline of civic studies, aligned with the principles in this “manifesto.”
The institute will segue into the third annual Conference on Civic Studies and Civic Practices (Ju;y 21-23), which has attracted more than 120 registrants from several countries. Space at that conference is now severely limited but you could still apply to attend.
The Summer Institute is, I feel, education at its best. We charge no tuition and offer no grades or credits. Participants attend for sheer love of the topic and have, in past years, formed strong intellectual communities.
Because my facilitation duties will be pretty intense, I anticipate blogging less than daily between now and July 25. Some of my posts may be revisions of previous entries about our institute’s readings and authors.