Renewing America’s Civic Compact

The Civic Discourse Project (2021-2022)

How can Americans move together with a sense of purpose to rebuild the public and private institutions through which we sustain our civic, communal, and professional lives? The Civic Discourse Project assesses the challenges to American civic life and its institutions — including the university — and how to address them to rebuild the institutions of our civil society.

The program is co-sponsored by ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, and supported by the Jack Miller Center and the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism - FAIR.

Coming up

"We All Live on Campus Now"

Andrew Sullivan

Why is our discourse so fraught with fear? Why do so many choose silence as the path of least resistance? And why are the core concepts of a liberal society under attack? In this presentation, journalist and media pioneer Andrew Sullivan will dig into campus orthodoxy’s impact on our broader culture — what began as campus habits and how they have permeated every facet of our culture and life. Additionally, he will discuss what we can do as individuals, leaders, and educational institutions to protect the ideals that are the bedrock of our nation.

Date: Friday, February 25, 2022 | 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
Location: Ventana Ballroom, Memorial Union.

Register to attend.

"The World We Want to Live In: Racism, Race and the Dignity of our Individuality" with Kmele Foster

Kmele Foster

In the third and final event in the "Can We Talk Honestly about Race?" series, co-founder and executive producer of Freethink Kmele Foster will discuss "The World We Want to Live In: Racism, Race and the Dignity of our Individuality." Foster will consider the elements of a racially just future and how he thinks we could achieve it. His lecture will be an exploration of race, identity, and the limitations of modern social justice movements. He argues that if we value societal progress, placing truth and the dignity of individuals at the center of our public discourse is an urgent necessity.

Date: Friday, February 25, 2022 | 5 p.m.
Location: Ventana Ballroom, Memorial Union.

Register to attend.

Past lectures

Lara Bazelon and Jason Riley

Glenn Loury and Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Jonathan Rauch

Lt. General H.R. McMaster

Steven B. Smith

Through our Civic Discourse Project, the school is able to bring in top minds in civics, academics and public thought for in-person dialogues as well as a regularly aired TV show on Arizona PBS. Not only are all of these public talks are free and open to the public, they are also available for viewing on our website. To be informed when new videos are available, sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to our Youtube channel

Go to the video catalog. 

COVID-19 guidelines

 Please keep in mind the CDC recommendations as well as ASU Community of Care health protocols on how to keep yourself and others healthy. ASU strongly recommends that everyone on campus wear a face cover when inside a university building. Some buildings and events will require face covers.

Previous seasons of the Civic Discourse Project

2020-2019: Race, Justice, and Leadership in America

In response to Arizona State University President Michael Crow's call to address recent events across America and the civic crisis of conscience they provoked, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership proposes to lead a program of discussion, learning, and action for a renewal of our common pledge to respect and protect the equal rights of all Americans to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To this end, the theme of this year's "The Civic Discourse Project" will address Race, Justice, and Leadership in America in a virtual series. 

Watch the series.

Civic Discourse Project

2019-2020: Citizenship and Civic Leadership in America

Mark Twain once said that “[c]itizenship is what makes a republic.” The primary purpose of civic education, as envisioned by the Founders, was to instill in our population the civic virtues, basic principles and practices of citizenship that would sustain a republic. What are the characteristics, advantages, duties, and responsibilities of a citizen today? Speakers include Robert Putnam, Yascha Mounk, David Leonhardt, Rich Lowry, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Shikha Dalmia.

Watch the series.

Civic Discourse Project

2018-2019: Polarization and Civil Disagreement: Confronting America's Civic Crisis

Political and intellectual polarization are a significant contributing factor to America’s civic crisis. By providing forums for civil disagreement, we hope to engage in the intellectual and civic work necessary to overcome the political divide and to renew and enhance America’s capacity for self-governance. Speakers include Jonah Goldberg, Arthur Brooks, and Kristen Soltis Anderson.  

Watch the series.

Civic Discourse Project

2017-2018: Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education and American Society

The school's inaugural lecture series took on the theme of free speech and intellectual diversity on college campuses and in American society as a whole. The school assembled high profile speakers from a range of viewpoints to discuss the meaning of intellectual diversity in education; the new challenges facing freedom of discourse; and the implications of this campus crisis for America’s civic order. Speakers include Jonathan Haidt, Steven Pinker, Allison Stanger, and Harvey Mansfield.

Watch the series. 

Watch the Civic Discourse Project