Polarization: Danielle Allen on ‘A Road Map for Rebuilding Civic Education’

Join ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership for the final event in the “Polarization: A Civic Crisis” series.

Danielle Allen argues that recent educational policy paradigms have shortchanged civic education and have done so at great cost to the health of democracy in the U.S. She argues that young people should be provided with an education that offers not only college and career readiness but also “civic readiness” or, as she also calls it, “participatory readiness.”

Allen draws on texts from the American founding as well as on research on how to support the development of young people into equitable, effective and self-protective civic agency to offer a paradigm of civic education for the 21st century. In advocating for an education in democratic knowledge, Allen seeks to identify the knowledge and capacities that civic actors need in order to sustain healthy democratic life.

About the Speaker

Danielle Allen is a compelling analyst of history and contemporary events and a leader in higher education. She is currently director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University as well as professor in Harvard’s Department of Government and Graduate School of Education.

Before joining Harvard, she was UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the first African American faculty member to be appointed to the Institute that was Einstein’s home for two decades. She is also a contributing columnist for the Washington Post.

Allen is the author of six books, including “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality,” which won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians and the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and “CUZ: The Life and Times of Michael A.” (2017). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and a 2001 winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

About the Series

The polarized and compartmentalized intellectual climate on American campuses both mirrors and contributes to similar maladies in American civic life.

To examine the problem and begin to discuss possible solutions both at the level of the campus and society, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, together with its partners in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

WATCH: See the full list of episodes of “Polarization: A Civic Crisis”

Alex Byrd looks into the camera while singing
aired Aug. 13

Doo Wop, Pop and Soul Generations (My Music)

Baratunde sitting criss-cross in the desert
aired Aug. 9

America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston

the cast of broadchurch on the beach in front of a cliff
aired Aug. 6


A woman hugs a man from behind, resting her head on his shoulder
aired Aug. 1

POV “He’s My Brother”

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