Call for Proposals: Teaching Democratic Thinking

From AHIG member Stephen Bloch-Schulman:

Call for Proposals


Topic: Teaching Democratic Thinking


To appear in a special edition of Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Community

Engagement in 2014.


Partnerships is a multi-disciplinary, open access peer reviewed journal, exploring “effective partnerships between students, faculty, community agencies, administrators, disciplines” in higher education.


Abstracts due: February 15, 2013

Final Papers due: September 30, 2013


In 2003, Elizabeth Minnich published “Teaching Thinking: Moral and Political Considerations” (Change, September/October), which creatively combined political and moral questions with epistemology and pedagogy, and which eventually served as the basis for a seminar to explore “teaching democratic thinking.”  The inaugural Elon Research Seminar on Engaged Undergraduate Learning, co-sponsored by Elon University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and the American Association of Colleges and Universities, brought together 27 faculty, staff, administrators and students to explore and research this nexus of normative, epistemological and pedagogical issues.


Building from that seminar — while expanding the scope of the discussion — this collection asks questions about the meaning of “democratic thinking”: what it looks like, if it is a goal higher educators should have, how one acquires it, and how/if it can be taught.  The nature of the collection lends itself to a focus on multiple aspects of service-learning and community engagement in higher education, but from an unusual angle: that of thinking.


Among many other topics, papers might explore:

  1. The habits of mind fostered through service-learning and/or community engagement
  2. The role of perspective and perspective-taking in community action partnerships
  3. How partnering leads to new and different ways of thinking
  4. How to prepare students for the particular epistemological challenges of working in the community
  5. The relationship between knowledge, authority and democracy
  6. The pairing of critical reflection and political action


Questions about this special addition and abstracts should be sent to by February 15, 2013. Abstracts should be no longer than 750 words (excluding reference).


Authors are invited to submit proposals focused on teaching democratic thinking as:

* Research Articles reflecting diverse methodologies and theoretical perspectives

* Essays that contribute new knowledge and are anchored in the relevant literature

* Empirical Studies relevant to partnerships in higher education

* Book Reviews of new volumes relevant to the topic




Submission Guidelines

All work submitted should be original material not under review or published elsewhere. Recommended final manuscript length is 8-13 single spaced pages, excluding abstract, references, and appendices. Students and community members are encouraged to contribute as co-authors, with faculty or administrators assuming lead authorship.


For more information about Partnerships and about the length, style, formats and formatting of articles, see



Patricia Rogers is an Assistant Professor of History in the Residential College in Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University (MSU).  Her primary research centers on eighteenth-century British imperial history; however, her position at the RCAH has permitted her to more fully pursue a passion for community outreach and service learning.  Not only did she participate in the Teaching Democratic Thinking Seminar at Elon University, she also served as the co-chair of the 21st-Century Chautauqua, entitled “Create a Just Economy Now,” co-sponsored by MSU and the American Association of Colleges and Universities.  Additionally, she has taught service-learning courses that work with the local elementary schools to run an after-school program that seeks to develop self-esteem among pre-adolescent girls.  Recently she received a grant from the Lansing Capital Region Community Foundation to develop a model of this course and program.


Stephen Bloch-Schulman, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Elon University, combines his interests in political theory with the scholarship of teaching and learning. The coordinator of the inaugural Elon Research Seminar on Engaged Undergraduate Learning, coordinator of the Hannah Arendt Circle and former board member of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers, he has authored and co-authored pieces in numerous journals and collected volumes and is on the editorial boards of College Teaching, Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Community Engagement, and Teaching and Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal. He presents and co-presents regularly at local, national and international teaching and learning conferences.


Assistant Editor:

Maggie Castor is a recent graduate of Elon University, where she obtained a degree in philosophy. Her particular interests and work focused on political philosophy, student-faculty partnerships, gender, race relations and dis/ability. The intersections of these interests led her to participate in both the inaugural Elon Research Seminar on Engaged Undergraduate Learning and the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute. Before graduating, Maggie co-taught an Ethical Practice course that was the result of a three-year student-faculty partnership, which sparked a desire in her to remain in educational contexts. Currently an assistant in special education classrooms, she is working on graduate applications to pursue librarianship.



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