Political Voice and Political Action

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  • Session A: July 10 - July 22, 2017


  • 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.


  • Philosophy and Society


  • Eli Lesser

Find your voice, identify the issues you are passionate about and learn how to make an impact. This module examines the frameworks of political expression and civic engagement. Students deliberate issues in order to engage critically with divergent points of view. Classroom-based deliberations include real world issues, as selected by students. Policy solutions are developed through academic research and guided support. A focus on democratic deliberation and the use of online tools for political expression permeate all class sessions. 

This module rotates between seminar-style lectures and knowledge acquisition, as well as workshop-based skills creation. In seminar meetings, students engage with content including lectures, videos, readings and social media to discuss and analyze political action. Specific topics may include:

  • Principals of democratic deliberation, including peer simulations
  • The historical roots of American democracy
  • Understanding democracy in a federal system (national, state/regional, and local public policy making)
  • Understanding of the role of democratic institutions

In workshops, students are taught skills for engagement with public policy, which may include: 

  • News verification techniques for evaluating crowd sourced information
  • Techniques to petition government at all levels
  • Library workshops on research and understanding scholarly vs. popular sources
  • Workshop on use of film for social action and political voice

This module culminates in a final project that allows students to combine content-based knowledge acquired in the seminar portion of the course with practical skills gained throughout the workshop sessions. Students present on one issue they have chosen and share a public policy critique or solution.

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