#HumCitizen: Democracy and the Informed Citizen

Presented by:
Vermont Humanities Council
Current Initiative: Democracy and the Informed Citizen National Partner: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: K-12 Institutions, Libraries, Nonprofits, Other Subject: Cross-Cultural Understanding, History, Journalism Audience: All, Educators, K-12, Youth/Teen

The Vermont Humanities Council is integrating the “Informed Citizen” theme across most of its program formats in order to provide all areas of the state, and a variety of audiences, the opportunity to explore this topic, including teachers, middle school students, and the general public. This project takes a multi-faceted approach to reach a variety of audiences: social studies teachers, at-risk middle school students, and the general public in several ways. It will include public talks, Reading and Discussion series, theme-based week-long summer Humanities Camps for middle-school students, two podcasts in a brand new podcast series, a collaboration with the Vermont Alliance for the Social Studies on professional development programming, and a daylong public symposium about the future of journalism to be held in the General Assembly of the Vermont State House in association with the Friends of the Vermont State House.

List of events:

MARCH – MAY 2018

Seminal Statements on American Values (Reading & Discussion Series– Barre, VT – Hosted at the Aldrich Public Library and running through the beginning of May, this series focus on founding documents and landmark speeches to help understand America’s operating principles and values, what they mean, how well we practice what we preach, and what relationship words have to action in good times and bad. View the books in this series and learn more here.

OCTOBER 2018

“Creativity and Historical Truths” First Wednesdays – Middlebury, VT – Despite journalism’s essential role in informing the public about significant events, Dartmouth professor Irene Kacandes argues that it’s memoir, fiction, music, and art that often best convey truth and leave lasting impressions.

Book Discussion: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson – Hartland, VT – In The Warmth of Other Suns, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the greatest stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life—a movement that reshaped culture and politics and set in motion racial challenges we now face.

Book Discussion: Cane by Jean Toomer – South Burlington, VT – Part of the African American Experience: South to North series. Throughout the 20th century, African-Americans fled southern states to escape persecution and seek opportunities further north. This series pairs Isabel Wilkerson’s masterful history of this Great Migration with fiction and memoir that illuminate the north/south divide.

“The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age” – Burlington, VT – New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger describes America’s move to using cyber warfare as a key part of its arsenal. Examining its impact on both defense strategy and civil liberties, he argues that over-classification is not only impeding our understanding of government actions but also hurting American national security.

Book Discussion: Black Boy by Richard Wright – Hartland, VT – Part of the African American Experience: South to North series. Throughout the 20th century, African-Americans fled southern states to escape persecution and seek opportunities further north. This series pairs Isabel Wilkerson’s masterful history of this Great Migration with fiction and memoir that illuminate the north/south divide.

Book Discussion: All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein – Randolph, VT – Part of the Hard Look at America series. Established by a newspaper publisher and coinciding with the founding of a journalism school at Columbia University, the Pulitzer Prizes have continually recognized excellence in journalism. The books in this series, comprised of Pulitzer-winning reporting and research, dig deep, revealing facts and stories that continue to be relevant years after they were brought to the surface.

Journalism in Today’s Democracy – A Symposium – Montpelier, VT – The Friends of the Vermont State House present a day of discussion about the challenges facing American citizens today who depend on journalists for information. Panelists include David Mindich, Chair of the Journalism Department at the Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University; Jane Mayer, New Yorker staff writer; David Moats, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist; Allen Gilbert, former Executive Director of ACLU-VT; Anne Galloway, founder and editor of VTDigger and Executive Director of the Vermont Journalism Trust; Candace Page, editor at Seven Days and inductee in the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame; and many more!

DECEMBER 2018

Making Sense of the News, Local to GlobalNewport, VT – Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist David Moats leads a panel discussion with some of the region’s best journalists, including VTDigger founder and editor Anne Galloway and Chronicle founder and publisher Chris Braithwaite.

Objectivity in the Fake News EraRutland, VT – VPR host Jane Lindholm offers ways for listeners to ensure that the news they are getting is accurate, and for news organizations to safeguard their reporting as fair and correct.

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