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A major university and community event, the Institute for Humanities Research's Annual Distinguished Lecturer program brings to campus a prominent humanities scholar whose work highlights the importance of humanities research. While on campus, speakers discuss humanities trends with the advisory board of the Institute for Humanities Research and participate in informal sessions, allowing ASU colleagues to discuss related research interests.
Harry C. Boyte is the founder of the international youth civic education initiative Public Achievement and co-founder with Marie Ström of the Public Work Academy. He also founded the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the University of Minnesota, now merged into the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University where he is Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy. He has coordinated a variety of educational, civic, business and philanthropic civic groups, including those that worked with both the Clinton White House Domestic Policy Council and the Obama 2008 campaign. Boyte’s forthcoming book, "Awakening Democracy through Public Work" (Vanderbilt University Press 2018), recounts lessons from 30 years of work aimed at empowering young people and others and revitalizing the civic purposes of K-12, higher education, professions, governments, development work and other settings.
At this year's event, Harry C. Boyte will present his lecture "Public Universities, Democracy, and the Citizen Professional." This lecture will recall the tradition of land grant and public universities as "democracy colleges." Boyte will argue that the revival and adaptation of this heritage is crucial in a time of globalization, authoritarian trends, a metastasizing consumer culture, and widespread feelings of powerlessness. Using examples such as the “Outlier Art and American Vanguard Art” exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Boyte will draw on recent humanities theory and practice to argue for the preparation of students as “citizen professionals." These citizen professionals become part of the civic life of communities — not simply "partners with" or expert service providers. They work in a catalyzing and empowering fashion as agents of democratizing change.