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Call for Applications: Center for Democratic Deliberation Dissertations Fellows (2018-19)

The Center for Democratic Deliberation is pleased to announce the 2018-19 Dissertation Fellows Program, in conjunction with the College of the Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release Program. Please see the following link for full applications guidelines: CDD Dissertation Fellows Call - Spring 2018

The Center for Democratic Deliberation is pleased to announce its annual calls for the Kenneth Burke Prize and the Nancy and Joseph Birkle Award.

The Kenneth Burke Prize recognizes exemplary scholarship on rhetoric by a graduate student—whether from historical, critical, or theoretical perspectives—in the form of a single essay. T he Birkle Award honors graduate and undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts who have made significant efforts to enhance the state of civic engagement and public discourse concerning important issues. The awards will be presented at the the CDD banquet, following the Kenneth Burke Lecture (on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at the Nittany Lion Inn, 6:00 p.m.). 

See the following awards calls for compete submission information and deadlines: 


The Center for Democratic Deliberation unequivocally supports the decision of the Penn State administration to decline a request for Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and president of the National Policy Institute, to speak on the University Park campus this fall. The administration made this decision based on potential threats to public safety. First Amendment rights are a cornerstone of any democracy. But the recent Unite the Right demonstrations in Charlottesville, VA, which Spencer helped to organize, ended in an unlawful assembly—declared as such by the Charlottesville police.

The Center for Democratic Deliberation is proudly committed to promoting healthy democracy. We do so by studying the most constructive forms of public deliberation. The work of the CDD helps to foster fundamental requirements of a healthy democracy: an engaged and informed citizenry, a culture of vibrant and informed deliberation, and an understanding of dissent in all nonviolent forms. The CDD steadfastly supports the protection of First Amendment rights for all and encourages free speech as an essential condition of effective democratic deliberation.

The Unite the Right demonstrations in Charlottesville led to documented violence, injury, and even death. The CDD considers those activities to constitute domestic terrorism, not lawful assembly or free speech. In fact, we understand the violent displays witnessed in Charlottesville as threats to the principles of equality, pluralism, and nonviolence to which the CDD is dedicated. We believe that First Amendment rights are best exercised and protected by fostering those principles. The Center for Democratic Deliberation therefore stands by the administration’s decision and remains committed to studying and promoting the practice of free and robust democratic deliberation in the future.