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Tuesday, February 23
 

7:00pm EST

In a Strange Country: The Challenge of American Inclusion
This seminar will discuss Ralph Ellison’s (very) short story, “In a Strange Country” (1944). A precursor to the author’s instant classic, Invisible Man (1952), the short story depicts a black serviceman on shore leave in Wales during World War II. After he gets mugged by white servicemen, a Welshman comes to his aid and invites him to a private singing club. The story traces the inward musings of the “black Yank” (as he is called by the Welshman), who comes to appreciate the Welsh. His experiences that evening and back home move him to reflect upon his ambiguous status as a black American fighting for a country that has yet to accept him as an equal citizen. The story provokes important and timely questions about how to close the gap between American principles and practices and thereby promote greater inclusion of all members of the American citizenry.

PRE-READING:  Please read the short story and additional texts below in advance of the session in order to get the most out of the experience.

Speakers


Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom
 
Sunday, February 28
 

5:00pm EST

Sermon Slam: A Rabbi, A Reverend and Sikh Leader on Civic Responsibility
How does your faith tradition inform and inspire your sense of connection and obligation as a citizen? In this sermon slam, you'll hear three faith leaders from different religious backgrounds give short (7 minute) and dynamic sermons on the theme of civic responsibility. You'll also have a chance to reflect and hear from peers about the intersection between religion, identity and civic responsibility in your educational setting. The concept for this session was inspired by SermonSlam, created by David Zvi Kalman.

Moderators
avatar for Lindsay Bressman

Lindsay Bressman

Executive Director, Civic Spirit
We the Educators is a 3-week civics symposium with teachers at the center, framing our democratic future.The symposium is an opportunity for faculty from schools rooted in a faith tradition to (1) engage with leading scholars and (2) gain practical tools for elevating civic learning in the classroom. The symposium is fully subsidized with NO COST to teachers and participants will receive a $150 stipend towards civic education resources.The symposium will run from February 23rd through March 11th, 2021... Read More →

Speakers

Sunday February 28, 2021 5:00pm - 6:30pm EST
Zoom

5:00pm EST

Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America, Today
Almost 200 years ago, a young Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville came to the United States on a trip and ended up writing a book -- Democracy in America -- that is still regarded as one of the smartest books (if not THE smartest book) ever written about American politics and culture. What can we learn from Tocqueville about American democracy today? How can he help us understand not just the strengths but the weaknesses of our democratic system? And how can he help us understand how to be the best democratic citizens we can be?

Susan will be discussing the Introduction and two sections of de Tocqueville's book. We know this is a long reading! If you can skim it beforehand, it will enhance the discussion. 



Sunday February 28, 2021 5:00pm - 6:30pm EST
Zoom
 
Tuesday, March 2
 

7:00pm EST

Teaching How to Think: Using Art to Encourage Intentional Thought in the Civics Classroom
In this interactive session, participants will explore art, objects, and primary source materials connected to civic education through the practices of the Artful and Visible Thinking Frameworks developed at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Specifically, participants will have an opportunity to: engage as learners as they try out several thinking routines with a variety of civics curricular materials; reflect on art as an entry point for meaningful thought processes; consider classroom implications in whole-group discussion; and hear an introduction to the research background of the frameworks to learn more about the concept of thinking dispositions, or thinking habits, connected to civics education.

Speakers

Tuesday March 2, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom

7:00pm EST

Parties and American Democracy
Every observer of American politics today decries polarization and partisanship, which have all but eliminated pragmatism and compromise. In this session we inquire more deeply into the roots of disagreement in democracy. The Founders did not put the word “party” in the U.S. Constitution, and many think they anticipated that American national politics would be non-partisan. Yet as soon as national politics began in 1790, parties appeared. Are parties natural to democracy? Are there permanent sources of disagreement? Should we expect people to get along better than they do? Can we understand each side of the party divide as reasonable? This session aims to support thoughtful educators and citizens in navigating an age of intense partisan passions.

PRE-READING:  Please read the three readings linked below in advance of the session in order to get the most out of the discussion.

Speakers


Tuesday March 2, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom
 
Thursday, March 4
 

7:00pm EST

Does the Constitution Mandate a Wall of Separation Between Church and State?
In this seminar, we will explore why the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment requires the “separation of church and state.” We also will discuss criticisms of separationist jurisprudence by leading Supreme Court justices. In an attempt to understand the degree to which the Supreme Court has accurately interpreted the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom, we will also carefully examine James Madison’s philosophical and constitutional thinking about religious freedom and how it might be best protected.

PRE-READING: Please read the three texts below in advance of the session in order to get the most out of the discussion.

Speakers
avatar for Phillip Muñoz

Phillip Muñoz

Tocqueville Associate Professor of Political Science and, University of Notre Dame
Vincent Phillip Muñoz is the Tocqueville Associate Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He is the Founding Director of ND’s undergraduate minor in Constitutional Studies and also directs Notre Dame’s Tocqueville... Read More →



Thursday March 4, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom

7:00pm EST

Frederick Douglass's 1852 Speech: What Does It Mean to be an American
Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech on the Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro offers a sweeping analysis of the contradictions at the heart of the American national project. The animating question for Douglass is, What Does it Mean to be an African American? His approach to that question sheds light on the even more fundamental question: What Does it Mean to be an American? The speech is profoundly relevant today as we stand at another defining moment in our nation's history.

Speakers


Thursday March 4, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom
 
Sunday, March 7
 

5:00pm EST

Why Difficult Conversations are Difficult and How to Make Them Better
This interactive workshop will lead you through a difficult conversation in your own life to explore the impact on your neurobiology, emotions, perceptions, and agency. You will also reflect on ways to disrupt escalating cycles towards a more constructive cycle of conversation. Finally, you will delve deeper into one element - deep listening - that helps shift from stuck conversations to more open and understanding ones.

Speakers

Sunday March 7, 2021 5:00pm - 6:30pm EST
Zoom

5:00pm EST

Is it worth it? Meditations on National Sacrifice and National Longing
Pericles Funeral Oration in the Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War describes what is virtuous and worthy of love in Athenian democracy. Together, we will read this text alongside Thucydides’ eviscerating description of the Plague and examine the purpose and fragility of democratic life. We will ask ourselves what about our country is worthy of admiration and sacrifice? What values must we preserve under any and all conditions? Finally, we will turn to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, listening for the echoes of Pericles, and challenge ourselves to describe the value of a government by the people and for the people.

Speakers


Sunday March 7, 2021 5:00pm - 6:30pm EST
Zoom
 
Tuesday, March 9
 

7:00pm EST

From School to Country: Belonging as the Foundation of Civic Education
At the center of civic engagement is the experience of belonging to a classroom and, in turn, to a community. Belonging is fundamental to democratic education in two respects: first, it gives students the feeling of self-worth that teaches them that they matter; second, it extends the experience of worthiness to a collective, letting the student know that just as they matter to their community the community must matter to them. In this session, we'll hear from three Civic Spirit educators on how they have cultivated belonging in their classrooms and schools, and support students in developing their own connections to community and country. We'll also learn from each other about our experiences and challenges in this area of civic education.

Moderators
avatar for Lindsay Bressman

Lindsay Bressman

Executive Director, Civic Spirit
We the Educators is a 3-week civics symposium with teachers at the center, framing our democratic future.The symposium is an opportunity for faculty from schools rooted in a faith tradition to (1) engage with leading scholars and (2) gain practical tools for elevating civic learning in the classroom. The symposium is fully subsidized with NO COST to teachers and participants will receive a $150 stipend towards civic education resources.The symposium will run from February 23rd through March 11th, 2021... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Petrus Fortune

Petrus Fortune

Chair Social Studies, Bishop Loughlin HS
PoliticsHistoryCurrent events
avatar for Audi Hecht

Audi Hecht

HIstory Chairperson, Yeshiva University HS for Girls


Tuesday March 9, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom

7:00pm EST

Fighting Fake: Key skills to become reliably informed
Information is the most fundamental element of democracy. It is the basis for citizens’ understanding of the world around them; how we analyze social issues, assess challenges, determine political priorities, form opinions and evaluate our options. We must move beyond the unhelpful term “fake news” and teach students to more precisely identify the many types of misleading, inaccurate and false information that they encounter. Explore motivations behind different types of propagators of misinformation and learn fact-checking skills and tools to help encourage student learning. By gaining a deeper understanding of misinformation, you can help students become less susceptible to it and more likely to prioritize reliable, standards-based sources of news and information.


Tuesday March 9, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom
 
Thursday, March 11
 

7:00pm EST

I Might be Wrong: How to Foster Intellectual Humility in the Classroom and Why it Matters
In today’s era of punditry and polarization, intellectual humility – the ability to acknowledge what you do not know and how you might be wrong – is in short supply. This is a problem that we as educators can address. In this workshop, you will learn findings from recent research about intellectual humility in adolescence, discussing what it is, what its benefits are, and how it can be fostered in the classroom.

Speakers


Thursday March 11, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom

7:00pm EST

Teaching in Uncertain Times: Structures for Deeper, Nuanced, and More Personal Conversations
At the heart of this workshop is an experience of Reflective Structured Dialogue - an approach to difficult conversations that has been used around the world in classrooms and communities for 30 years. This dialogue will lead you through questions about your own experiences of teaching in a pandemic and give you an opportunity to connect with others. After the dialogue you will discuss the impact of certain conversational structures and how you might use them in your classroom to make difficult conversations more meaningful, nuanced, and constructive.

Speakers

Thursday March 11, 2021 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Zoom