Apply for the Summer Institute of Civic Studies

The Summer Institute of Civic Studies is an intensive interdisciplinary seminar that brings together faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many countries and diverse fields of study. In 2020 it will take place from the evening of June 18 until June 26 at Tufts University in Medford, MA, and Boston.

To apply: Applications are now being received and should be submitted by March 31 for best consideration. The application consists of a resume, a cover letter about your interests, and an electronic copy of your graduate transcript (if applicable).

The Summer Institute was founded and co-taught from 2009 to 2018 by Peter Levine, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Tisch College, and Karol Soltan, Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. Since 2019, it has been led by Peter Levine. Each year, it features guest seminars by distinguished scholars and practitioners from various institutions and engages participants in challenging discussions such as:

  • How can people work together to improve the world? 
  • How can people reason together about what is right to do? 
  • What practices and institutional structures promote these kinds of citizenship? 
  • How should empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy relate? 

The 2019 syllabus can be found here. You can read more about the motivation for the Institute in the Civic Studies Framing Statement by Harry Boyte, University of Minnesota; Stephen Elkin, University of Maryland; Peter Levine, Tufts; Jane Mansbridge, Harvard; Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University; Karol Soltan, University of Maryland; and Rogers Smith, University of Pennsylvania.

The seminar discussions follow a public conference, Frontiers of Democracy, which will take place in downtown Boston from June 18 (evening) until June 20. Participants in the Summer Institute are expected to participate in the conference (free of charge) and then the Institute. 

Practicalities: Daily sessions take place on the Tufts campus in Medford, Massachusetts. Tuition for the Institute is free, but participants are responsible for their own housing and transportation. One option is renting a Tufts University dormitory room. Credit is not automatically offered, but special arrangements for graduate credit may be possible.

You can sign up here to receive occasional emails about the Summer Institute.

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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.