Civic Hope: How Ordinary Americans Keep Democracy Alive

Thursday, February 14 at Noon (Sturgis Hall)
*Book signing to follow

Civic Hope is a history of what everyday Americans say – in their own words – about the government overseeing their lives. Based on a highly original analysis of 10,000 letters to the editor from 1948 to the present published in twelve US cities, the book overcomes the limitations of survey data by revealing the reasons for people’s attitudes. While Hart identifies worrisome trends – including a decline in writers’ abilities to explain what their opponents believe and their attachment to national touchstones – he also shows why the nation still thrives. Civic Hope makes a powerful case that the vitality of a democracy lies not in its strengths but in its weaknesses and in the willingness of its people to address those weaknesses without surcease. The key, Hart argues, is to sustain a culture of argument at the grassroots level.

Roderick Hart is one of the most successful deans in the history of the Moody College at the University of Texas at Austin and is among its most renowned scholars and teachers. An expert of politics and the mass media, he has taught in the Communication Studies Department since 1979 and is the author of 12 books. He has taught courses on political communication, rhetoric, and government and is a member of UT’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He founded the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, a research and outreach center committed to reversing civic and political apathy. From 2004 to 2015, he served as dean of the Moody College of Communication.

All Clinton School Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. Reserve your seats by emailing or by calling (501) 683-5239.
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Date(s) - 02/14/2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Sturgis Hall