Civic Engagement
  • Civic Engagement Class Image
  • Civic Engagement Class Image
  • Civic Engagement Class Image
  • Civic Engagement Class Image

VII. Appendix B – Foundations Course

(Sociology 268, Civic Engagement)
(Potential Topics and Readings)

Don Moon and Rob Rosenthal have agreed to teach the Foundations Course for the next few years. Other faculty who have expressed an interest in teaching this course in the future include Robyn Autry (Sociology), Mary Alice Haddad (Government), and Anne Mariel Peters (Government).

The following “syllabus”, containing topics and readings that might be included in the Foundations course, reflects the interests of Moon and Rosenthal; other professors would presumably have different points of emphasis in their explorations of the basic concepts and principles of civic engagement.

1. The Individual in Society

An introduction to ideas about the relationship of individuals to their societies. Aside from the conventional debates of nature vs. nurture, structure vs. agency, and so on, we will look at questions of reciprocal responsibilities.

Locke, excerpts from Two Treatises on Government, 1689
Rousseau, excerpts from The Social Contract, 1762
Niebuhr, “Moral man and immoral society,” 1932
Eberly, The Essential Civic Society Reader: Classic Essays in the
American Civil Society Debate, 2000

2. The Practice of Democracy /Governments

What does it mean to have a truly democratic society?  What is the role of citizen participation, both within formal political activity and in civic society generally?

Ober & Hedrick, Dêmokrattia: A Conversation on Democracies, Ancient and Modern, 1996
Turner, “The significance of the frontier in American history,” 1893
Dahl, Democracy and its Critics, 1989
Lappe, Democracy’s Edge, 2006
Boyte, Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life, 2004
Levine & Torres, Where is Democracy Headed? Four Years of DDC Research and Practice, 2008
Levine, The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens, 2007
Skocpol & Fiorina, Civic Engagement in American Democracy, 1999

3. Ethical Reasoning

Ethical reasoning is the ability to identify, assess, and develop ethical arguments from a variety of ethical positions and different traditions. It includes the ability to reflect on moral issues in the abstract and in historical narratives within particular traditions.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1999 [350 BC]
John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, 2001 [1863]
Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, 1965 [1785]

4. Volunteerism and Activism

Looking at volunteerism and activism as particular kinds of civic engagement: How are they similar and aligned, and how are they dissimilar and in conflict?  What is the role of each in a democratic society?

Boraas, “Volunteerism in the United States,” 2003
Eckstein, “Community as gift-giving: Collectivistic roots of volunteerism,” 2001
Aronson, “Becoming an environmental activist,” 1993
Sachs, “The activist professional,” 2002
Porta & Tarrow, Transnational Protest and Global Activism, 2005
Garcia & Ramirez-Valles, “Volunteerism or activism?” 2002

5. Education and Civic Engagement

What is the role of education, particularly higher education, in cultivating civic engagement and the creation of a truly democratic society?

Fisk, “The science of education,” 1831
Dewey, “Experience and thinking,” 1916
Saltmarsh, “Education for critical citizenship,” 1996
Finlay & Flanagan, “Making educational progress,” 2009
Astin, Sax, & Avalos, “Long-term effects of volunteerism during the undergraduate years,” 1999
Colby et al, Educating for Democracy, 2007
Ehrlich, Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, 2000
Ostrander, “Democracy, civic participation, and the university,” 2004

6. Issues in Public Scholarship and Civic Engagement

How can scholars and other citizens best promote civic engagement, public scholarship, and community-university collaborations? What are the potential issues, conflicts, and dilemmas that must be negotiated for healthy collaborations?

Illich, “To hell with good intentions,” 1968
Cruz, “A challenge to the notion of service,” 1990
Gaventa, “The powerful, the powerless, and the experts,” 1993
Weinberg, “Negotiating community-based research,” 2003
Rosenthal, “Dilemmas of local antihomelessness movements,” 1996
Babbie, “The ethics and politics of social research,” 2007.
Singer, “Famine, affluence and morality,” 1972
Hyman & Levine, “Civic engagement and the disadvantaged,” 2008
Foster-Bey, “Do race, ethnicity, citizenship… determine civic- engagement?” 2008

7. Information Technology and Civic Engagement

How are new technologies affecting the form and likelihood of civic engagement?  How will new technologies lead to new ways of envisioning collective life?

Norris, Digital Divide, 2001
Communication and Political Socialization, Political Communication, 2009
Kahn & Kellner, “New media and internet activism,” 2004
Jennings, “Internet use and civic engagement,” 2003

8. Non-western Cultures/ Intercultural Literacy

Understanding civic engagement with respect to diverse cultural formations and their wider historical and social contexts and environments.

Bernhard & Karakoç, "Civil Society and the legacies of dictatorship," 2007
Haddad, Politics and Volunteering in Japan: A Global Perspective,  2007
Mertha, China's Water Warriors, 2008
Norris, “Making democracies work: social capital and civic engagement in 47 societies,” 2001
Tsai, Accountability Without Democracy, 2007
Weller, Alternate Civilities: Democracy and Culture in China and Taiwan, 1999
White, Islamist Mobilization in Turkey, 2002.
Wiktorowicz, "Civil society as social control,” 2000

9. Case/Course Studies

Examples and evaluations of actual projects of public scholarship and civic engagement within each of the three divisions:

Arts & Humanities:
Veninga & McAfee, Standing with the Public, 1998
Atlas & Korza, Crucial Perspectives: Writings on Art & Civic Dialogue, 2005
Havel, "The power of the powerless," 1978
Boal, "The theater of the oppressed," 1979
Smith, Fires in the Mirror, 1993
Jones, Imagining Medea, 1990

Social Sciences:
Horton, “The Appalachian land ownership study,” 1993
Robinson, "Using creative inquiry and service-learning methods
                 to teach rural sociology as public sociology,” 2008
Barker, “The scholarship of engagement,” 2004
Pellow, Garbage Wars, 2004
Weisman, The World Without Us, 2007

Natural Sciences:
Banerjee & Hausafus, “Faculty use of service-learning,” 2007
Wood & Gunn, “Mysteries of migration,” 2001
Burns, “Knowledge to make our democracy,” 2002
Miller, “Forensic investigation: Seeking justice through science,” (n.d.) 
Greenfield, “The mathematics of communication,” (n.d.)

10. Imagining a Future

Imagining what civic engagement might mean personally, from a first draft of how one will meet CEC requirements to an overall conception of how civic engagement might fit into one’s personal life in the long run.