Summer Institute of Civic Studies

Our annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies is an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar bringing together advanced graduate students, faculty, and practitioners from diverse fields of study.

In 2015, the dates will be June 15-27.

Read the Summer Institute of Civic Studies’ Framing Statement.

Organized by Peter Levine, Tisch College, and Karol Sołtan, University of Maryland, the Summer Institute features guest seminars by distinguished colleagues from various institutions and engages participants in challenging discussions such as:

  • What kinds of citizens (if any) do good regimes need?
  • What should such citizens know, believe, and do?
  • What practices and institutional structures promote the right kinds of citizenship?
  • What ought to be the relationships among empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy?

You can also read more about the motivation for the Institute in this overview page on civic studies. A sample syllabus (from the 2014 Summer Institute) is below.

The daily sessions take place at the Tufts campus in Medford, MA. The seminar concludes with a public conference, “Frontiers of Democracy.” Participants in the Institute are expected to stay for the public conference. See information on the 2014 conference here.  (The dates of “Frontiers” this year will be June 25-27).

Tuition for the Institute is free, but students are responsible for their own housing and transportation. A Tufts University dormitory room can be rented for $230-$280/week. Credit is not automatically offered but special arrangements for graduate credit may be possible.

To apply: please email your resume, an electronic copy of your graduate transcript (if applicable), and a cover email about your interests to Peter Levine at Peter.Levine@Tufts.edu. For best consideration, apply no later than March 15, 2015.

You may also fill out this form to sign up for occasional announcements about the 2015 Summer Institute of Civic Studies. Please note that completing this form does not mean that you have officially applied.

Sample Syllabus (2014)

(Links are mostly to copyrighted documents and require class registration for access.)

Monday July 7

9:30-11:30 AM: Introductions and Inspirations (PL and KS)

1 pm – 3:00 pm: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Elinor Ostrom and the commons

3:30-5:30 pm

Moral mapping exercise

Tuesday, July 8

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Jürgen Habermas and critical social theory [PL]

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: Negotiation and deliberation [KS and PL]

4:30-6 pm Venue: The person in development as a citizen [PL]

Wednesday, July 9

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Robert Putnam and social capital [PL]

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: Community organizing and popular education [PL]

4:30-6 pm Kees Biekart (summer institute member) leads a session on Participatory Action Research (PAR)

Thursday, July 10

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Bent Flyvbjerg and social science as phronesis [KS]

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: Work (including public work), the professions [PL]

4:30-6 pm Visitor: Luz Santana, The Right Question Institute

Friday, July 11

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Roberto Mangabeira Unger and radical modernism [KS]

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: Social movements [KS]

4:30-6:00 Tetyana Kloubert (summer institute member) “Euromaidan 2013/2014 in Ukraine as a civic
renewal movement”

(Weekend)

Monday, July 14

Theorists: Dewey and pragmatism [PL]

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: The Administrative State [PL]

4:30-6:00 pm Whitney Barth (Institute member) leads a session on the Harvard Pluralism Project’s Case Study Initiative.

Tuesday, July 15

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: James Madison and thinking constitutionally [KS]

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: The American Republic [PL]

4:30-6 pm Visitor: Archon Fung, Harvard Kennedy School

Wednesday, July 16
10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Friedrich von Hayek [KS]

  • Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Chapters 1, 4 and Postscript, pp. 11-2154-70397-411.

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: Other republics [KS]

  • Bruce Ackerman, “The New Separation of Powers“, Harvard Law Review, 113 (2000): 642-729. Please focus on pp. 634-43, 663-69, 685-99, 712-25. (Do not read the whole thing.)

4:30-6 pm Ron Israel (Summer Institute member) leads a session on Exploring the Theory and Practice of Global Citizenship

Thursday, July 17

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Edmund Burke

2-4 pm Seminar on Civic Practice: The venues of civic work

Venue: The world [KS]

No Speaker: Public Conference Begins