civic studies at Frontiers of Democracy 2013

Former members of the Summer Institute of Civic Studies and their colleagues have put together a track of discussions for this summer’s Frontiers of Democracy Conference. They have designed an exciting mix of theory, practice, and applications to particular topics–notably, the incarceration crisis. To attend part or all of this mini-conference, you must register for Frontiers.

Friday, July 19, 2013. Tufts University campus in Medford, MA

8:45    Civic Studies:  What is it? What can it become? What research questions are pressing? What do we need to know? How do we find it out? This session explores the state of civic studies as a field. Four years after the inaugural Summer Institute of Civic Studies, where is the field today and where is it going?

Opening Remarks

  • Karol Soltan and Peter Levine, Co-directors and Co-founders of the Summer Institute of Civic Studies

9:00    Civic Studies: What is it? What can it become? What research questions are pressing? What do we need to know? How do we find it out?

  • Tim Shaffer – Director, Center for Leadership and Engagement, Wagner College
  • Peter Levine – Director, CIRCLE, Tufts University
  • Ian Ward – Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Maryland

Moderated discussion including discussants and attendees

Closing Remarks

  • Moderator: Elizabeth Gish, Western Kentucky University

10:15    Break

10:30    Prisons and crime as venues of civic work and topics for civic research/social scientific phronesis

  • Andrew Nurkin – Executive Director of Princeton AlumniCorps, Princeton
  • Peter Pihos – doctoral candidate, University of Pennsylvania
  • Albert Dzur (Bowling Green) and John Gastil (Penn State), via remote presentation

Crime and its aftermath exists at the uneasy boundary between egalitarian civic engagement and expert-led public work. Crime calls for a coordinated civic response, yet routinely criminal justice is institutionalized and bureaucratized, placing it out of the realm of amateur citizen action. How can citizens bend the course of the system that costs hundreds of billions of dollars annually and involves difficult legal, economic, and psychological issues?  In this panel, we will explore the efforts of scholars in the burgeoning field of civic studies to detail the history and promise of antiviolence campaigns, citizen-led police oversight, prison education, and the participatory politics of the jury.

Moderated discussion including discussants and attendees

Closing Remarks

  • Moderator: Joshua Miller, Morgan State University

12:00    Lunch

1:00   The Theory and Practice of Civic Studies: What do we mean by theory/practice, practitioners/academics? How can we think and write better at these intersections?

  • Karol Soltan – Associate Professor, The Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland
  • Jen Sandler – Director, University Alliance for Community Transformation, UMass Amherst
  • Elizabeth Gish – Western Kentucky University
  • Moderated discussion including discussants and attendees

Closing Remarks

  • Moderator – Tim Shaffer

2:45    Break
3:00    Interactive Capstone: Advancing Civic Theory and Practice

In the study of democracy, ethics, and politics, there is often a perceived tension between theory and practice. Or a divide between “academics” and “practitioners.” This conversation explores these distinctions and tensions in the context of civic studies, asking how we can think and write better at these intersections.

Reflecting on today’s panels and discussion, what do we need to move forward?

Who is this “we”? What networks or actions will sustain this work?

Fifty years in the future, what would a healthy Civic Studies look like?

  • Facilitators – Liza  Pappas, City University of New York and Alison Staudinger, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

In this session, we’ll reflect on the work of the day, as well as build networks and concrete plans to tackle the key problems for civic studies going forward. Moderators will lead participants through individual and paired reflection exercises and will model a “one on one” organizing technique that will help us connect our reflections to our stories, develop our relationships, and gauge what we share in common. We’ll end the session examining what the future of civic studies might hold.

4:30    Break

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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