Frontiers of Democracy Conference
Frontiers of Democracy is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University since 2009. The 2018 conference took place on June 21-23 at Tufts University’s downtown Boston campus in Chinatown.
Partners for the conference in 2018 included the Bridge Alliance, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, the National Conference on Citizenship, and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
Frontiers of Democracy immediately follows the Summer Institute of Civic Studies, a selective two-week seminar for scholars, practitioners, and advanced graduate students.
According to Freedom House, democracy has been in retreat worldwide for 12 years. Many people are pushing back, including activists and organizers who are nonviolently struggling, using tactics like strikes, boycotts, and mass demonstrations against entrenched power. Other individuals and groups take different approaches, some seeking a greater degree of neutrality and emphasizing deliberative dialogue, particularly when they work within institutions such as schools, public agencies, and newspapers. This year, Frontiers brought people from these communities of scholarship and practice together to ask how they can learn from and complement each another.
You can review the full Frontiers 2018 agenda here. You can also watch full video of this year's introduction and "short take" speakers below, or click on the links to skip to individual speakers' presentations:
- Introduction - Peter Levine, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Tisch College of Civic Life
- “Innovating Democracy Reform” - Josh Silver, Founder & Executive Director, Represent.us
- “The Disenfranchised” - Sekwan R. Merritt, formerly incarcerated person who advocates for an end to mass incarceration in America
- “Global Democracy is in Decline, but We Can Take Steps to Reverse This” - Hardy Merriman, President, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
- Sekwan R. Merritt and Marcus Lilly, formerly incarcerated person who advocates for an end to mass incarceration in America
- “Activism under Fire: Violence, Poverty and Collective Action in Rio de Janeiro” - Anjuli Fahlberg, Department of Sociology, Tufts University
- “Fear and Present Danger” - Kelly Greenhill, Department of Political Science, Tufts University
- “Citizen Professionals and Democratizing Institutions: A New Frontier of Democracy” - Harry Boyte, Public Work Academy, Augsburg University
Thanks to everyone who joined us at an exciting, thought-provoking, and timely Frontiers of Democracy 2017, which was focused on multiple frameworks for civic and democratic work developed, respectively, by Caesar McDowell of the Interaction Institute for Social Change and MIT, Archon Fung of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Tisch College’s Peter Levine. Our short take speakers included Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, the senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri; Wendy Willis of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the National Policy Consensus Center; and Hardy Merriman, President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
In addition, the Journal of Public Deliberation, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and The Democracy Imperative held a preconference symposium on “Deliberative Democracy in an Era of Rising Authoritarianism.”
Check out the preconference symposium's agenda and readings and the full Frontiers 2017 agenda. You can watch video of this year's introduction, "short take" speakers, and one of our afternoon plenaries, below.