This semester, you will keep a Civic Issues blog. Each blog will focus on an issue within one of five main categories. Click on each category listed below to view questions that will help you select your focus.
The blog will focus on the selected issue for the entire semester. Here are the features of a successful Civic Issues blog. For some places to turn for research-based, longer-form pieces as examples and for information, review Cultural Commentary Sources.
The questions in each category here are meant to be generative—that is, students are welcome to articulate a civic issue within one of these five categories that they do not see reflected in the questions. It’s also the case that some of the questions below might overlap, so you shouldn’t feel too constrained by that. For example, if you choose to blog about civic discourse in the U.S., you may end up blogging frequently about party politics. Some issues (e.g., hate speech) could fit within multiple categories (along with free speech in politics, or under Education as campus hate speech). In that case, you will want to choose the broader category that best captures their emphasis and interests.
As you choose a category and issue, you might think about what sparked your interest last semester. Are you interested in exploring issues related to your TED Talk or Paradigm shift paper? Did something you read in an RCL post or saw in a History of a Public Controversy video spark a conversation that you’d like to continue? You might also consider your own interests. What blogs do you follow? What news stories catch your eye? What issues are you curious to know more about? The issue you choose need not be something you’re an expert on; instead, think of this blog as a time to explore this issue and build understanding and opinions through informal research and conversations with peers.
As indicated on your syllabus, you will be required to post on your Civic Issues blog every other week for a total of five entries. On the weeks you do not blog, you will be expected to write robust responses to your blog group’s CI blog entries. Each Civic Issue Blog entry should be around 700 words and should incorporate at least one source (which you should link to, if possible). Please use the broad category and the specific issue within that category as tags. (E.g. environment, water OR education, statefunding).