WPML not installed and activated.

Civic Blog

Welcome to the Civic Blog and what we hope will become an ongoing discussion between our bloggers and readers. Visit often, share your perspectives, experiences and suggestions, and help us build a “civic” community. We seek a national conversation on a broad range of topics including education, science, politics and religion. We are always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at CivLit@iupui.edu if you’d like to post your thoughts.

  • Partisan and Economic Cues Fail to Help Low-Information Voters Choose the Correct Presidential Candidate

    By Aaron Dusso on April 24, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Every major election in the U.S. produces a steady drumbeat of calls from scholars and interested observers for a solution to the problem of citizens’ political apathy. Turnout is abysmal and thoughtful individuals want to fix it. However, this focus on turnout overlooks the fact that democratic governance does not simply rely on participation. It relies on quality participation. Theorists

  • What Millennials Consume on Facebook.

    By Jeffery M. McCall on April 17, 2015 in Civic Blog

    The good news is that nearly 90 percent of recently surveyed millennials say they get news off Facebook. The bad news is that most of those social media users stumble into the “news” only when they go to the site for other purposes. Worse yet, what these millennials are getting as news from social media sites wouldn’t constitute news in

  • Democracy in Action

    By John Guy on April 10, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Voting in elections is not related to public policy, such as to The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the new Indiana law which gave greater legal protections to businesses that refuse service out of religious belief. Or is it? Let’s take a look. Over four days in April, Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully wrote columns criticizing Governor Pence and The Indiana General

  • Defending Reason in an Unreasonable Time.

    By Sheila Kennedy on April 3, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Last Friday, I delivered what the University calls “the Last Lecture.” The idea is that the scholar chosen to deliver the lecture shares lessons based upon his/her life experience and scholarship. In lieu of my usual “Sunday Sermon”–and with apologies for its length–here is the speech I delivered, which was titled: DEFENDING REASON IN AN UNREASONABLE TIME. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I’m immensely

  • Obama seen as “enemy” of press freedom.

    By Jeffery M. McCall on March 27, 2015 in Civic Blog

    This message was posted on Twitter recently by a prominent member of the media: “The Obama Administration is the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.” Another tweet from this source read, “I plan to spend the rest of my life fighting to undo the damage done to press freedom in the United States by Barack Obama and (Attorney

  • The Issue of Transparency

    By John Guy on March 18, 2015 in Civic Blog

    “Transparency” or lack thereof, is a lever of opponents. “Public scrutiny” is a plausible impossibility, a tool of critics, an impossible dream that is practical only through extraordinary labor of interested citizens.  Scrutiny is time consuming because contract language is detailed, complicated and long.  Even journalists find contracts daunting and difficult to explain in limited space. From the Patient Protection

  • Social Media and the First Amendment

    By Jeffery M. McCall on March 9, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Social media is a crazy world, indeed, sparking firestorms over petty things, such as the color of some dress in Scotland. Most social media posts connect people to ideas, news, fun and each other. There is, however, a dark and demented corner of social media where posters threaten and scare individuals. That leaves law enforcement with the challenge of sorting

  • To test or not to test?

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 21, 2015 in Civic Blog

    I used to introduce my undergraduate Law and Public Policy class by administering a test–20 questions drawn from the citizenship test immigrants have to pass in order to become U.S. citizens. I stopped because it was too depressing. Foreign students regularly passed the test; native-born students just as routinely failed it. So I’ve been intrigued by the recent effort to

  • America is Doomed

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 8, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Before the incident–and attendant snark–went viral, no fewer than three friends had sent me news items about Kirby Delauter, a Frederick County (Maryland) Council Member, who threatened to sue a local journalist named Bethany Rodgers for … wait for it… using his name without permission in a newspaper article. Think about that for a minute: this jerk is an elected official. Presumably he

  • Is Low Civic Literacy a Wicked Problem?

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 1, 2015 in Civic Blog

    In 1973, Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber published an influential article on the nature of social problems. Titled “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” the article focused upon the difficulty of solving what they dubbed “Wicked Problems,” and triggered an ongoing scholarly discussion about the nature of such problems and the differences between efforts to craft

  • The Rolling Stone rape story debacle

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on December 29, 2014 in Civic Blog

    Journalism enters dangerous territory when reporters look to tell “stories” that are more dramatic, more sensational and more confrontational than what is provided by real life. Rolling Stone magazine found this out with its recent, misguided story about sexual assault at the University of Virginia. Sexual assault is, indeed, a concern on college campuses, and perpetrators need to be caught.

  • What is liberal?

    By John Guy on December 18, 2014 in Civic Blog

    “Why are television dramas always ‘liberal,’” asks a friend. “Not true,” I say, and soon recant, because I cannot recall a drama that is ‘conservative.’ What is going on? The answer reveals a lot about the human condition and civic interaction. A definition of “liberal” is “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values,” to which

  • Media contribute to nation’s violent culture

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on December 17, 2014 in Civic Blog

    The nation struggles to explain why violence is so much a part of its daily experience. Senseless murders. Sports stars committing domestic violence. Perpetrators playing “knockout games” on public streets. School principals dealing with widespread bullying. The causes of violence are many, complex and difficult to assess. One contributing factor to the disturbing culture of violence, to be sure, is

  • Republicans buy shoes too

    By Matt Impink on December 10, 2014 in Civic Blog

    To many kids who grew up in my generation, they remember Michael Jordan as the greatest player ever to play the game as he won six NBA championships during my childhood. Contrasting Jordan to Charles Barkley who famously said “I’m not a role model,” Jordan seemed like the polished embodiment of a winner and role model for kids. I still

  • Pass a Citizenship Test?

    By Admin on December 8, 2014 in Civic Blog

    A bill proposed in North Dakota will require all graduating high school seniors to pass the same citizenship test given to naturalized immigrants to the United States. Data shows that many Americans would have trouble passing such a test that over 97% of immigrants seeking citizenship pass. It is part of a growing movement in states that seek to require