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Reading List

This page is meant to be a resource both for those teacher-scholars who have been teaching and studying civic engagement for years and those who are new to the subject. The Teaching Civic Engagement reading list is composed of the core texts and scholarly journals that are essential to understanding teaching civic engagement as well as recent reports detailing current research. If you have a resource you think should be added to this reading list, contact the editors here.

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Academic Journals


Civic Knowledge and Engagement: An IEA Study of Upper Secondary Students in Sixteen Countries – Published by the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement in 2002, this report assessed civic education practices in countries faced with the task of reestablishing democratic institutions after periods of political turmoil in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Civic Prompts: Making Civic Learning Routine Across the Disciplines – Published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities in May 2015, this report furthers the AACU’s “Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement” effort by focusing upon the undergraduate major.

The Civic Mission Of Schools – Published in 2003 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and CIRCLE, this report summarizes the status of and need for civic learning in schools, kindergarten through 12th grade.

A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement – Report released in January 2012 that issues a call to action to make civic learning an integral component of higher education.

Democracy Matters: A Guide to Non-Statutory Barriers to Voting – Published by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, this guide identifies the hidden barriers to voting students face and offer strategies for overcoming them. The guide tackles challenges in several different areas including election administration and institutional discretion, offering concrete steps and solutions. The guide also includes a workbook that allows leaders to track their progress.

Election Imperatives: Ten Recommendations to Increase College Student Voting and Improve Political Learning and Engagement in Democracy – Published by the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education at Tufts University, this report offers evidence-based advice for colleges and universities as they prepare for the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools – Published by The Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, this follow-up report to the “Civic Mission of Schools” details the tangible benefits of teaching civics in schools and reviews the current scholarship.

Talking Politics: A Guide for Campus about NSLVE Reports – Published by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates and, for interested campuses, a closer examination of their campus climate for political learning and engagement and correlations between specific student learning experiences and voting.

Voice in the Classroom:  How an Open Classroom Environment Facilitates Adolescents’ Civic LearningPublished by David E. Campbell and The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

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Colby, Anne, Thomas Ehrlich, Elizabeth Beaumont, and Jason Stephens. 2003. Educating Citizens: Preparing America’s Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Colby, Anne, Elizabeth Beaumont, Thomas Ehrlich and John Corngold. Educating for  Democracy:  Preparing Undergraduates for Responsible Political Engagement. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 2007.

Delli Carpini, Michael, and Scott Keeter. What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Ehrlich, Thomas, ed. Civic Responsibility and Higher Education. Phoenix: The Oryx Press, 2000.

Graham, Bob, and Chris Hand. America, the Owner’s Manual:  Making Government Work for You. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010.

Gutmann, Amy. Democratic Education. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Hess, Diana. Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion. New York:  Routledge, 2009.

Hess, Diana E., and Paula McAvoy. The Political Classroom.  New York: Routledge, 2015.

Kirlin, Mary. “The Role of Civic Skills in Fostering Civic Engagement.” CIRCLE Working Paper 6. Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, University of Maryland, 2003.

Levine, Peter. The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens. Lebanon, NH: Tufts University Press, 2007.

Education for Civic Engagement in Democracy: Service Learning and Other Promising Practices, edited by Sheilah Mann and John Patrick. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000.

Nie, Norman H., Jane Junn, and Kenneth Stehlik-Barry. Education and Democratic Citizenship in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Niemi, Richard G. and Jane Junn. Civic Education: What Makes Students Learn.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Skocpol, Theda, and Morris P. Fiorina, eds. Civic Engagement in American Democracy. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Insitution Press, 1999.

Zukin, Cliff, Scott Keeter, Molly Andolina, Krista Jenkins, and Michael Delli Carpini. A New Engagement? Political Participation, Civic Life and the Changing American Citizen. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do About It. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2005.

Handbook of Research on Civic Engagement in Youth, edited by Lonnie Sherrod, Judith Torney-Purta and Constance A. Flanagan. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2010.

Making Civics Count: Citizenship Education for a New Generation, edited by David E. Campbell, Meira Levinson and Frederick M. Hess. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press, 2012.

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Academic Journals

Below is a listing of journals on the practice and scholarship of civic engagement with a description of each journal provided by the publisher.

The American Educational Research Journal (AERJ) is the flagship journal of AERA, with articles that advance the empirical, theoretical, and methodological understanding of education and learning. It publishes original peer-reviewed analyses spanning the field of education research across all subfields and disciplines and all levels of analysis, all levels of education throughout the life span and all forms of learning.Submissions reflect the highest quality in a wide range of perspectives, topics, contexts, and methods.Journal of College and Character is a professional journal that examines how colleges and universities influence the moral and civic learning and behavior of students. The journal publishes scholarly articles and applied research on issues related to ethics, values, and character development in a higher education setting.

Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education is an on-line, refereed journal concerned with exploring community engagement and community-based learning perspective, research, and practice. The Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education publishes accounts of a range of research focusing on practical and theoretical insights and understanding, in higher education and across the disciplines and professions. There is a focus on case studies emphasizing community engagement and engaged learning practices, methodology, and pedagogy.

Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES) is a peer-reviewed international journal through which faculty, staff, students, and community partners disseminate scholarly works. JCES integrates teaching, research, and community engagement in all disciplines, addressing critical problems identified through a community-participatory process.

Journal of Democracy For more than twenty years, the Journal of Democracy has been a leading voice in the conversation about government by consent and its place in the world. The Journal is published for the National Endowment for Democracy by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

The Journal of Higher Education is the leading scholarly journal on the institution of higher education. Articles combine disciplinary methods with critical insight to investigate issues important to faculty, administrators, and program managers.

Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement‘s mission is to serve as the premier peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal to advance theory and practice related to all forms of outreach and engagement between higher education institutions and communities.

Journal of Political Science Education is an intellectually rigorous, peer-reviewed quarterly journal that publishes evidence-based and theoretically informed scholarship on teaching and pedagogical issues in political science. It aims to represent a full range of empirical and philosophical questions, issues, and approaches relevant to political science education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including research on teaching methods, pedagogical innovations and techniques, classroom activities, educational assessment, and curriculum development. It welcomes work from diverse methodological perspectives, and work that represents levels of analysis ranging from classroom-based studies to inter-institutional and cross-national comparisons. The journal supports research that engages with the broad scholarship of teaching and learning and improves the quality of teaching and learning in the discipline.

The Journal of Transformative Education (JTED) is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal focused on advancing the understanding, practice, and experience of transformative education. Transformative education is defined as those educational practices that are informed by transformative learning theory and that foster deep engagement with and reflection on our taken-for-granted ways of viewing the world, resulting in fundamental shifts in how we see and understand ourselves and our relationship with the world.

National Society for Experiential Education Journal (NSEE) is a nonprofit membership organization composed of educators, businesses, and community leaders. Founded in 1971, NSEE also serves as a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide.

PS: Political Science and Politics provides critical analyses of contemporary political phenomena and is the journal of record for the discipline of political science reporting on research, teaching, and professional development. PS, begun in 1968, is the only quarterly professional news and commentary journal in the field and is the prime source of information on political scientists’ achievements and professional concerns.

The Review of Educational Research (RER) publishes critical, integrative reviews of research literature bearing on education, including conceptualizations, interpretations, and syntheses of literature and scholarly work in a field broadly relevant to education and educational research.

Social Education, The National Council for the Social Studies’ peer-reviewed, flagship journal, contains a balance of theoretical content and practical teaching ideas. The award-winning resources include techniques for using materials in the classroom, information on the latest instructional technology, reviews of educational media, research on significant social studies-related topics, and lesson plans that can be applied to various disciplines. Departments include Looking at the Law, Surfing the Net, and Teaching with Documents. Social Education is published 6 times per year: September; October; November/December; January/February; March/April; and May/June.

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