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Our Common Purpose: The Complete Collection

In June 2020, the Kluge Center announced Danielle Allen as the winner of the Kluge Prize, launching the Our Common Purpose Campaign for Civic Strength at the Library of Congress. Allen hosted a series of exciting conversations at the Library to explore the nation’s civic life and ways that people from all political beliefs and social causes can build a stronger, more resilient democracy. Each event was accompanied by a workshop for K-12 educators and public librarians, in which teachers from across the country had the opportunity to connect, explore, experiment and create new ways of making civic ideals come to life in their classrooms.

“We all know that this is a critical and urgent moment in our nation’s history,” Allen said in announcing the series. “We have faced crises as a nation before. We can continue to watch and worry and tweet at each other – or we can emerge stronger and more resilient by taking real action now to save our constitutional democracy.”

One year later, we’ve completed the cycle of events and are thrilled to be able to share them with you here. Watch all three public events below, and click the links to read our blog posts that provide some background on each event’s themes as well as posts that pull out some of the highlights from each event.

Using Civic Media to Build a Better Society

Is Civic Media the Antidote to a Polarized World?

Is Civic Media the Answer to Trolls, Misinformation, and Abuse Online?

 

How Political Institutions Shape Outcomes and How We Might Reform Them

Our Common Purpose: Second Event Looks at Reforming Electoral Institutions

Why Reforming Electoral Institutions Might Be the Best Way to Change Policymaking

 

Finding a Shared Historical Narrative

What Makes Americans American? Why Origin Stories Require Negotiation

Wrestling with the Question of American Identity and Whether Consensus is Possible

 

Visualizing “Our Common Purpose”

This is a guest post by Lee Ann Potter, Director of Professional Learning and Outreach Initiatives at  the Library of Congress Center for Learning, Literacy, & Engagement. “Our Common Purpose—A Campaign for Civic Strength at the Library of Congress,” a wealth of activities at the Library this spring. The theme, chosen by Danielle Allen, winner […]

Nahuatl Passion Plays in the Colonial Era: An Interview With Louise Burkhart

Louise M. Burkhart is Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Albany as well as Jay I. Kislak Chair for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas at the John W. Kluge Center. Andrew Breiner: Could you start by telling me a little about your background and […]

Scholar Spotlight: Carla Freeman and Sarah Smeed on the Women Who Have Inspired Them

Women have made incredible strides forward in academia. In 2018, 53% of the 79,000 doctoral degrees in the United States were awarded to women. That said, women still face unique challenges when faced with life after the Ph.D. During March, which is Women’s History Month, the Library, in partnership with the National Archives and Records […]

Did the Earliest Printers Know What Print Was? What a 15th Century Book from the Netherlands Can Tell Us About Culture and Innovation

This is a guest post by Kluge Fellow Anna Dlabacova, Assistant Professor and postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University. She is researching a project titled “Inspiring, Innovative, and Influential: The Role of Gerard Leeu’s Incunabula in Late Medieval Spirituality and Devotional Practice.” She hopes to advance study on the role that incunabula from the Netherlands played […]

Parallel Worlds and the Digital Age: Representing Audio Collections with Digital Data at the American Folklife Center and Beyond

This is a guest post by Patrick Egan (Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin), a researcher and musician from Ireland, former Kluge Center Fellow in Digital Studies and currently on a Fulbright Tech Impact scholarship. He recently submitted his PhD in digital humanities with ethnomusicology to University College Cork. Patrick’s interests over the past number of years have […]

A Route of Her Own: Women’s Road Narratives in the Library of Congress

This is a guest post by Catherine Morgan-Proux, a French Association of American Studies (AEFA) Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center, from the Université Clermont Auvergne. She is working on a project titled “The Road She Travelled: 20th Century Cultural Representations of Women on the Road.” Morgan-Proux’s work is done as part of The […]

What Did Ancient Americans Find Funny?

Stephen Houston is the Library of Congress Kislak Chair for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas, as well as Dupee Family Professor of Social Science at Brown University. In the lead-up to Professor Houston’s April 25 event at the Library, titled “Flint, Shield, and Fire: Exploring Ancient Maya Warfare,” I […]

Staff Fellow Mark Horowitz’s Book Released in Paperback

Library of Congress Staff Fellow Mark Horowitz is spending his time at the Kluge Center studying the Oscar Hammerstein Jr. correspondence, but his knowledge of the giants of musical theater extends beyond Hammerstein. In Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions (2003) a co-publication with the Library of Congress, Horowitz collected several interviews he […]

African American Passages Episode 4: In Search of Adeline Henson

In the fourth episode of our African American Passages podcast, former John W. Kluge Center Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Georgetown University history professor Adam Rothman goes in search of Adeline Henson, an African-American woman who makes an ephemeral appearance in the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Collections, through two photographs, a bill of sale, and a […]