Message from the Director
During the past half century, globalization has transformed the meaning of citizenship. A subject that was always fundamental to understanding human society is now increasingly compelling. The urgent need to understand citizenship at the dawn of the new millennium has encouraged people around the globe to consider questions of identity, group membership, status, rights, and obligations from a variety of political, social, economic, and cultural perspectives. Because they study citizenship as it relates to specific issues (like civic education or corporate citizenship), they do not consider their own part in the development of a new field of study. The Center aims to assume a leadership role in the creation and development of this new field.
In less than two years of operation, the Center has taken major strides toward the establishing citizenship studies as a field of interdisciplinary research. We have organized major conferences, including one on the idea of patriotism in the modern world and another on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, which was co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. The Center also has begun to disseminate that research through publication. The distinguished publisher Rowman & Littlefield will publish a volume of essays drawn from the patriotism conference, to be entitled, The Many Faces of Patriotism and the Wayne Law Review is publishing articles from two of the Center’s other conferences. In order to build the field of citizenship studies, the Center has established the New Scholars’ Conference in Citizenship Studies and hosted leading scholars as Distinguished Scholars-in-Residence. As part of its effort to establish global leadership in the field of citizenship studies, the Center has invited scholars from Germany, South Africa, and Singapore to participate in its conferences and seminars and, in the future, intends to broaden international participation in the intellectual life of the Center by developing partnerships with universities around the world, by establishing a formal international network of scholars, by utilizing the latest technology to host international seminars and conferences, and by publishing a scholarly journal.
The Center also has become a valuable forum for the discussion of citizenship. The Center consistently engages non-academics through collaborative programming, such as its annual corporate citizenship conference, which examines the civic responsibilities of business leaders and corporations. We also co-sponsor an annual program with Wayne State’s Hilberry Theatre. Last year, the Center considered the subject, “Social Responsibility in Wartime: Brecht’s Mother Courage,” and next year the seminar will discuss Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The Center also has organized conversations about citizenship between visiting scholars and community, business, and political leaders. We plan to advance community discussion of citizenship through summer institutes for secondary school teachers, public lectures, an enhanced website, and a newsletter that will be distributed electronically. The Center encourages dialogue between academics who study citizenship and leaders of the private and public sectors whose work addresses issues relating to it, so we plan to invite non-academics to hold short-term residential fellowships and to participate in the Center’s activities.
Underlying the Center’s ambitions is the belief that research on, and public discussion of, citizenship, if conducted in a politically neutral forum, will promote a knowledgeable and active citizenry in the United States and around the world. To learn more about the Center for the Study of Citizenship, contact me at email@example.com.
Marc W. Kruman
September 17, 2005 – Citizenship Day