University of Maryland Launches "Democracy Then & Now: Citizenship and Public Education"

University of Maryland Launches "Democracy Then & Now: Citizenship and Public Education"

The University of Maryland has launched a campus-wide initiative on the intersection of public education, American democracy and civic engagement called “Democracy Then and Now: Citizenship and Public Education.” Through a series of conversations, lectures, student projects and voter registration drives, the initiative will engage UMD students, faculty and staff on the historical and contemporary relationship between public education and citizenship. 

“It is the responsibility of a land-grant institution to educate students in preparation for citizenship in both a professional and personal context,” said Mary Ann Rankin, UMD’s senior vice president and provost. “It’s gratifying to see so many scholars join together across campus to advance public education and civic participation.” 

The initiative spans more than a dozen colleges, schools, departments and offices across the university. For the eight weeks leading up to the November elections, the initiative will trace the history of UMD as an original land-grant institution responsible for fostering civic engagement, and will offer perspectives on the shifting educational and political opportunities of Americans, documented and undocumented. 

The keynote event is a reading and conversation with Claudia Rankine, award-winning poet and author of “Citizen: An American Lyric,” which holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the non-fiction category. The conversation will take place on Thursday, September 29, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. in The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at UMD. The event is free but tickets are required.

For more information on “Democracy Then and Now: Citizenship and Public Education,” including a full listing of events, visit



Education Week

Historic Visions of Education at the University of Maryland
Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 4 PM, Parren Mitchell Art-Sociology Building 2203
Lecturer: Ethan Hutt, Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, University of Maryland

Classics Week

Democratic Readings of Addison’s “Cato” Then and Now: Classical Receptions Before and After Barack Obama
Thursday, Sept. 15 at 4 PM, Tawes Hall 0310
Lecturer: Judith P.  Hallett, Professor, Department of Classics, University of Maryland

Agriculture and Resource Economics Week

The Unifying Role of the Land-Grant University in 21st Century America
Monday, Sept. 19 at 3:30 PM, Biology-Psychology Building 1250
Lecturer: Angus Murphy, Professor and Chair, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland

English Week

Public Education in the Early American Republic
Monday, Sept. 26 at 3:30 PM, Tawes Hall, Ulrich Recital Hall
Lecturer: Ralph Bauer, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Maryland

Claudia Rankine in Conversation with Sheri Parks
Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5:30 PM, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Free, Tickets Required

Informal Meeting with Students
Friday, Sept. 30 at 10 AM, McKeldin Library, Special Events Room 6137 
Guest Speaker: Claudia Rankine, Award-winning poet and author of “Citizen: An American Lyric”
Moderator: Josh Weiner, Professor, Department of English, University of Maryland


Philosophy Week

Most Americans Shouldn’t Vote
Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 3:30 PM, Martin Hall 1108
Guest Speaker: Jason Brennan, Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University

Public and Personal Morality in a Democracy
Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 PM, Tawes Hall, Ulrich Recital Hall
Lecturer: Susan Dwyer, Executive Director, Honors College and Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland

Rhetoric and Communication Week

Rhetoric and Politics in America: What’s Past is Prologue
Monday, Oct. 10 at 1 PM, Tawes Hall, Ulrich Recital Hall
Lecturers: Shirley Logan, Professor, Department of English, and Trevor Parry-Giles, Professor, Department of Communication, University of Maryland

Internationalizing U.S. Public Higher Education
Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 1:30 PM, Tawes Hall, Ulrich Recital Hall
Guest Speaker: Amy Wan, Associate Professor and Co-Director of First Year Writing, Queens College, CUNY

From the Schoolhouse Gate to the Jailhouse Door: Constitutional Rights on Campus
Thursday, Oct. 13 at 3:30 PM, Knight Hall, Eaton Theater
Guest Speaker: Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center

History Week

Promises of Consent and Equality? Public Education After the American Revolution
Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 3:30 PM, Taliaferro Hall 2110
Lecturer: Holly Brewer, Burke Chair of American History and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland

American Democracy and Science
Thursday, Oct. 20 at 4 PM, Physical Sciences Complex, Lobby
Lecturer: Thomas D. Cohen, Professor, Department of Physics, University of Maryland

Government and Politics Week

The Architecture of Thomas Jefferson for a New Democracy
Monday, Oct. 24 at 5 PM, Architecture Auditorium 0204
Lecturer: Cynthia R. Field, Adjunct Professor, and Isabelle J. Gournay, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, University of Maryland

Citizenship and the Right to Public Education for Undocumented Immigrants
Thursday, Oct. 27 at 3:30 PM, Jimenez Hall 0220
Lecturer: Robert Koulish, Director, MLaw Programs and Joel J. Feller Research Professor, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Maryland


With Justice for All? Bryan Stevenson and the First Year Book
Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4 PM, Stamp Student Union Colony Ballroom
Guest Speaker: Bryan Stevenson, Author of “Just Mercy,” the 2016–17 First Year Book at University of Maryland

Of Slaves, Sharecroppers and Convicts: Unsettling Clemson University’s History
Monday, Nov. 7 at 3:30 PM, Tawes Hall 2115
Guest Speaker: Rhondda Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of English, Clemson University


Maryland Humanities
Office of Undergraduate Studies
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
College of Arts and Humanities
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
Honors College
College Park Scholars
School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Center for Literary and Comparative Studies
Center for Global Migration Studies
Department of English
Department of Classics
Department of Philosophy
Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership
First Year Book Program
Local Americanists Group

September 7, 2016

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