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 2017, the dates will be June 12 to June 22  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 17, 2016.

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 2015 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. The dates of “Frontiers” this year will be June 23-25, 2016.

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.

The Sister Seminar in Eastern Europe: In 2015 and 2016, a parallel Summer Institute took place in Europe for applicants from Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Germany. In 2017, we expect to be able to offer a third such Institute, in Ukraine. These are co-organized by Dr. Tetyana Kloubert (University of Augsburg), Karol Sołtan and Peter Levine. For more information about the Summer Institute of Civic Studies please contact tetyana.kloubert@phil.uni-augsburg.de

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

Sample Syllabus (from 2016)

 This will be modified for 2017.

Monday June 13

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 [KS]

3:30-5:30 pm

Venue: The person in development as a citizen [PL]

Tuesday, June 14

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Jürgen Habermas and critical social theory [PL]

Optional alternative or complement to the Habermas texts: James Finlayson, Habermas: A Very Short Introduction, Chapters 1-4

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

Venue: Negotiation and deliberation [KS and PL]

4:30-6 pm: Visitors: Felton Earls and Maya Carlson, Harvard

Wednesday, June 15

10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorist: Hannah Arendt

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: Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of CIRCLE

Thursday, June 16

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: Community organizing and popular education.

We will be joined by Danny LeBlanc, community organizer and CEO of the Somerville Development Corp. for an informal conversation about his work. Readings:

4:30-6 pm: Sean Young, Loyola University Chicago
Friday, June 17

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: friendship (and its limits)

No visitor: weekend

Monday, June 20

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 pm: visitor: Ethan Zuckerman

Tuesday, June 21
10 AM – 12 noon: Seminar on Civic Theory

Theorists: Dewey and pragmatism [PL]

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

Anchor Venue: The American Republic [PL]

4:30-6 pm: visitor: Bill Traynor

Wednesday, June 22
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: 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: Jan Boontinand, Mahidol University, Thailand

Thursday, June 23

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