Frontiers of Democracy

Frontiers of Democracy 2015

Frontiers of Democracy 2015 will take place in Boston on June 25-27.

To register and hold a place at the 2015 conference, please use this form. Participants are responsible for arranging their own lodgings. The conference venue is in downtown Boston, easily accessible from hundreds of hotels. To add your name to the Frontiers email list for very occasional updates, enter your information here. (That does not hold a space)

While powerful forces work against justice and civil society around the world, committed and innovative people strive to understand and improve citizens’ engagement with government, with community, and with each other. Every year, Frontiers of Democracy convenes some of these practitioners and scholars for organized discussions and informal interactions. Topics include deliberative democracy, civil and human rights, social justice, community organizing and development, civic learning and political engagement, the role of higher education in democracy, Civic Studies, media reform and citizen media production, civic technology, civic environmentalism, and common pool resource management. Devoted to new issues and innovative solutions, this conference is truly at the frontiers of democracy.

Most of Frontiers is devoted to interactive discussions and learning exchanges, but we do offer very short, provocative, invited talks. The “Short Takes” speakers for 2015 will include, among others:

Harry Boyte leads the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. Boyte has been an architect of a “public work” approach to civic engagement and democracy promotion, a conceptual framework on citizenship that has gained world-wide recognition for its theoretical innovations and its practical effectiveness.

Hahrie Han teaches political science at Wellesley College. His two most recent books are How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st Century and Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.1 Million Activists Transformed Field Campaigns in America (co-authored with Elizabeth McKenna)

Diana E. Hess is Senior Vice President of the Spencer Foundation and Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her most recent book, with Paula McAvoy, is The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education.

Caroline W. Lee teaches sociology at Lafayette College. Her most recent books include Do-it-Yourself Democracy, based on her ethnography of the public engagement industry, and Democratizing Inequalities, an edited volume with Ed Walker and Mike McQuarrie about the dramatic expansion of democratic practices in an era of stark economic inequalities.

Abhi Nemani is currently the first Chief Data Officer for the City of Los Angeles. Formerly, he helped build, launch, and run the national non-profit, Code for America.

Ajume Wingo teaches philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder. His last book is entitled Veil Politics in Liberal Democratic States, and he is collaborating with Michael Kruse on The Citizen, a book about how Africans can move beyond where their history has put them and begin to make their own future and secure their own political freedom.

Brenda Wright is Vice President of Legal Strategies at Demos.  She has led many progressive legal and policy initiatives on voting rights, campaign finance reform, redistricting, election administration and other democracy and electoral reform issues and is a nationally known expert in these areas.

Frontiers is sponsored by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship at Tufts University, which is the host, along with the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and The Democracy Imperative.

2014 Frontiers of Democracy

You can watch videos of the conference’s “short takes” speeches below. You can also check out the online conversation.

Frontiers 2014: The State of the Civic Field

Civic work is proliferating: many different kinds of people, working in different contexts and issue areas, are expanding the ways in which citizens engage with government, community, and each other. It is increasingly clear that growing inequality, social and political fragmentation, and lack of democratic opportunities are undermining our efforts to address public priorities such as health, education, poverty, the environment, and government reform. The 2014 “Frontiers of Democracy” conference, in downtown Boston, was an invigorating, argumentative, civil discussion on the state and future of the civic field.

For the full conference agenda and for details on each speaker and panelist, please see the 2014 Frontiers of Democracy agenda.

See what you missed

The following playlist includes all ten “short take” speeches from the 2014 Frontiers of Democracy conference. Watch individual speeches on our YouTube channel.

Join us next year

If you want to add your name to the “Frontiers” email list for very occasional updates, you may enter your information here. You can also click here to join the Tisch College contact list and learn more about the ways Tisch College promotes civic engagement on the Tufts campus and beyond.


July 16-18, 2014, 145 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111
Frontiers of Democracy
was hosted by the
Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, and co-sponsored by
the Democracy Imperative, and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium