- Total 800
An Introduction to Civic Studies: Theories for a Better World
Overview: “Civic studies” is a nascent discipline that looks at social problems from the perspective of a citizen and asks tough questions about what we should do, taking into account values (ethics), facts (empirical evidence), and strategies. It originated with a joint statement written by a distinguished group of scholars in 2008. Since then, it has produced a special issue of a journal, an annual conference, a book, and–most importantly–the annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies at Tufts. The Summer Institute has drawn about 100 graduate students, leaders, and professors from Bhutan, Singapore, China, Mexico, South Africa, and numerous other countries and backgrounds. This course will be the first-ever undergraduate version of the Summer Institute. We will contribute to building “civic studies.”
Thursday, 1/16 Oriqentation and Inspirations
Introductions, overview of the syllabus and purpose of the course.
Read aloud and discuss Seamus Heaney’s “In the Republic of Conscience”
Special homework: do an initial “map” of your own moral worldview (See “assignments” for instructions). Results due via email before class on 1/21.
Tuesday 1/21 Theorist #1: Jürgen Habermas (citizen as deliberator)
- James Finlayson, Habermas: A Very Short Introduction, Chapters 1, 2, 4 (pp. 1-27, 47-61)
- Jürgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” New German Critique, 3 (1974), pp. 49-55
- First mapping exercise is due.
Thursday 1/23 application: experiencing a practical deliberation
Special homework: In addition to the reading, watch the very short video from the National Issues Forums.
The National Issues Forum issue book, “Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?”
In-class deliberation using this issue guide
Tuesday, 1/28 application: do Americans deliberate?
Nina Eliasoph, Avoiding Politics, pp. 1-22
Discussion of the students’ moral maps.
Thursday, 1/30 Application: designing practical deliberations
Archon Fung, “Recipes for Public Spheres: Eight Institutional Design Choices and Their Consequences” in Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 11, No. 3. (September 2003), pp. 338-67.
Tuesday, 2/4 Theorist #2: Elinor Ostrom (the citizen as a manager of public goods)
Readings: Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons, pp. 1-102
Play a “Tragedy of the Commons” game in class. Discuss it.
Thursday, 2/6 Theorist #2: Elinor Ostrom (continued)
Tuesday, 2/11 application: designing and managing large-scale commons
- James Madison, The Federalist, number 10
- Peter Barnes, Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons. Pp. ix-xvi, 3-11.
Thursday, 2/13 Theorist #3: Robert Putnam (the citizen as a group member)
Robert D. Putnam, “Community-Based Social Capital and Educational Performance,” in Ravitch and Viteritti, eds., Making Good Citizens, pp. 58-95;
(In class, also discuss Sean Safford’s argument, not assigned.)
Tuesday, 2/18 Theorist #3: Robert Putnam (continued)
Jean L. Cohen, “American Civil Society Talk,” in Robert K. Fullinwider, ed., Civil Society, Democracy, and Civic Renewal, pp. 55-85
Special homework: do a revised “map” of your own moral worldview. Results due by 2/25
Thursday, 2/20 – No class, Monday schedule
Tuesday, 2/25 Theorist # 4: Saul Alinksy (the citizen as an organizer)
Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals, 1946 (1969 edition), pp. 76-81; 85-88; 92-100, 132-5, 155-158.
In class: do one-on-ones
Second mapping exercise is due.
Thursday, 2/27 Application: modern community organizing
Mark Warren, Dry Bones Rattling (pp. 1-70)
Tuesday, 3/4 Theorist #5: Harry Boyte (the citizen as a public worker)
Harry C. Boyte, “Constructive Politics as Public Work: Organizing the Literature,” Political Theory, 2011
Thursday, 3/6 application: democratic professionalism
Albert Dzur, Democratic Professionalism, pp. 35-51, 105-134, 173-206
Tuesday, 3/11 Theorist #6: John Dewey (the citizen as co-learner?)
- John Dewey, The Public and its Problems, Chapter 5, “Search for the Great Community.”
Thursday, 3/13: midterm in class
Tuesday, 3/18 and Thursday, 3/20 – No class, spring break
Tuesday, 3/25 application: civic education
- Myles Horton and Paulo Freire, We Make the Road by Walking, pp. 115-138
- Joel Westheimer and Joseph E. Kahne, “Educating the ‘Good Citizen’: Political Choices and Pedagogical Goals,” PS Online
Thursday, 3/27 application: civic media
Knight Foundation, “Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age”
Tuesday, 4/1,Theorist #6: Mohandas K. Gandhi (the citizen as a bearer of soul-force)
- Bikhu Parekh, Gandhi, Chapter 4 (“Satyagraha”)
- Wikipedia entry on “Satyagraha”
Thursday, 4/3 – application: nonviolent social movements
- Charles Tilly, Social Movements, 1768-2004
- Marshall Ganz, “Why David Sometimes Wins: Strategic Capacity in Social Movements,” in Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper, Rethinking Social Movements: Structure, Meaning, and Emotion (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004) pp.177-98.
- Timothy Garton Ash, “Velvet Revolution: The Prospects,” New York Review of Books, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, 4/8 – Session on Power
- John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness, pp. 1-32
- Bent Flyvbjerg, Social Science that Matters and Making Organization Research Matter
In class, look at the Power Cube
Thursday, 4/10 Theorist #7: James Madison (the citizen as designer or preserver of a republic)
- Stephen Elkin, Reconstructing the Commercial Republic, pp. 107-111 (the parable of the shipbuilders)
- James Madison The Federalist, numbers 9, 10, 51
Tuesday, 4/15 application: revising the American republic
Stephen Elkin, Reconstructing the Commercial Republic, pp. 51-72
During class, in small groups, design constitutional reforms that would serve Madison’s purposes in the modern republic
Homework: paper due
Thursday, 4/17 Theorist #8: Roberto Mangabeira Unger (the citizen as radical experimentalist)
Roberto Unger, False Necessity, Chapter 1 (pp. 1-40)
Special homework: revise the moral network map again. Results due by 4/22.
Tuesday, 4/22 application: radical democratic experiments (and some cautionary notes)
- Roberto Unger, Democracy Realized, “A Manifesto” (pp. 263-77)
- James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Introduction (pp. 1-8), Chapter 3 “Authoritarian High Modernism”, Chapter 9 “Thin Simplification and practical Knowledge: Metis” (pp.309-41)
Final mapping exercise is due.
Thursday, 4/24 summing up and thinking ahead
discuss the final network maps