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A brownbag event with Harry Boyte: "Public Humanities and the New Civic Studies”

Champaign , USA

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Harry Boyte is Senior Fellow at The University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Senior Scholar at Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and a National Associate at the Kettering Foundation. A social theorist with a background in civil rights organizing, Boyte is the author of numerous books and articles including Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004); Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work, with Nan Kari (Temple University Press, 1996); Free Spaces: The Sources of Democratic Change in America, with Sara M. Evans (Harper & Row, 1986; University of Chicago, 1992), and his recent edited volume, Democracy's Education: Public Work, Citizenship, and the Future of Colleges and Universities (Vanderbilt University Press, 2015). Boyte is a leading architect of the new civic studies and the "public work" approach to civic education, writing about democracy, professionalism, and public life in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and a range of academic and popular outlets. Founder of Public Achievement, Boyte has also promoted civic engagement and education through leadership roles in the New Citizenship, the National Commission on Civic Renewal, the American Commonwealth Partnership, Imagine America, and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa.

To help frame the discussion, Boyte has suggested that we read in advance three short excerpts from Peter Levine and Karol Edward Soltan (eds.), Civic Studies: Approaches to the Emerging Field (2014):

  1. Peter Levine, “The Case for Civic Studies” (pp. 3-8)
  2. Harry C. Boyte and Blase Scarnati, “Transforming Higher Education in a Larger Context: The Civic Politics of Public Work” (pp. 77-90)
  3. Philip Nyden, “Public Sociology, Civic Education, and Engaged Research” (pp. 103-114)

The entire volume is downloadable here:
If you prefer, email Chris Higgins ( and he will email you a pdf of the three readings. And please join us even if you do not have time to read in advance.


Campus Conversation on Undergraduate Education and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities