Wednesday, November 02, 2005

About Democratic Vistas

...an infinite number of currents and forces, and contributions, and temperatures, and cross purposes, whose ceaseless play of counterpart upon counterpart brings constant restoration and vitality. --Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas, 1867-68
Democratic Vistas is the weblog of the American Democracy Project at Geneseo. SUNY Geneseo has joined more than a hundred other college campuses in affiliating itself with the national American Democracy Project, a joint enterprise of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the New York Times.

The American Democracy Project aims to promote students' experience and understanding of civic engagement. There are many ways for a liberal arts college to fulfill this aim: by encouraging volunteerism, for example, or by building service-learning directly into academic coursework, or by creating opportunities for deliberative dialogue on issues that ordinarily generate more heat than light.

Geneseo is attempting to do all these things. It is also attempting to promote students' experience and understanding of civic engagement by demonstrating the connection between areas of liberal learning - the "arts and sciences" broadly understood - and issues of public concern. For the greatest value of liberal learning lies not in the preparation it provides for rewarding and gainful employment - as valuable as that preparation is - but in the foundation it lays for active and critical participation in democracy.

The bloggers at Democratic Vistas will use this space to connect their own academic expertise to public issues, musing aloud about current events and offering leads to other sources of valuable information or opinion. They will speak for themselves on this page - not for SUNY Geneseo as an institution - and they will speak, not to each other, but to the community of interested readers. Geneseo's Democracy Project Committee hopes that you'll count yourself a member of that community, and that you'll check in regularly at Democractic Vistas to learn what the bloggers here are thinking.

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