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Rock the Vote 2016: Constitution Day
The Privilege to Vote

Bon Moses and The Brocks

  • Bob Moses with The Brocks
  • September 16, 2016
  • Gates 6 p.m.
  • Bands 7 p.m.
  • Ogden Amphitheater


18th Annual WSU Diversity Conference
"Privileged History: Where Did All the Diversity Go?"

Dr. James W. Loewen

Opening Session at Davis Campus with Dr. Treva Lindsey

  • Thursday, October 6
  • 5:30 - 8 p.m.
  • Davis Campus Building 3 Ballrooms

Daylong Conference at Ogden Campus with Dr. James W. Loewen

  • Friday, October 7
  • 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Ogden Campus Shepherd Union 3rd Floor
  • Keynote speech at 11:30 a.m.
  • Keynote Speaker: Dr. James W. Loewen


James W. Loewen is an acclaimed historian and best-selling author whose mission is to overturn myths and misinformation that too often pass for U.S. history. A highly sought-after speaker and author, he engages audiences with intelligence and humor, honing in on a range of topics encompassing U.S. history, multicultural education, civil rights, race relations, voting rights, law and social science. For more information about Dr. James W. Loewen visit

Annie Clark & Andrea Pino
“Empowering Students to Social Action”

Annie and Andrea

  • Thursday, October 13, 2016
  • 7 p.m.
  • Union Ballroom B
  • Free and Open to the Public


Danielle Allen
Political Philosopher and Author of Our Declaration

Danielle Allen

  • November 11, 2016
  • 11:30 a.m.
  • Wildcat Theater

Danielle Allen is a renowned political philosopher and MacArthur Genius with the powerful ability to connect us to complex ideas about democracy, citizenship, and justice. Whether speaking on American educational policy, equality and ethics in the digital age, or the nation’s founding documents, Allen is a bold, incisive scholar who challenges us to look beyond what we think we know.


Danielle Allen is a path-breaking analyst of history and contemporary events and a leader in higher education. She is currently Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University as well as Professor in Harvard’s Department of Government and Graduate School of Education. Before joining Harvard, she was UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the first African American faculty member to be appointed to the Institute that was Einstein’s home for two decades. She is also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.

Allen is the author of five books, including Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education and Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, which won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians and the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and was called “a tour de force” by The New York Review of Books. Her upcoming book, Education and Equality, scheduled for release in 2016, offers a critical clarification of just how important education is to democratic life, as well as a stirring defense of the humanities. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a 2001 winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.


“Danielle Allen lays bare the Declaration’s history and significance, returning it to its true and rightful owners—you and me.”—Junot Díaz

“Danielle Allen is a towering political philosopher of the democratic art of being and a force for good!”—Cornel West, author of Democracy Matters: Winning the War on Imperialism

Speech Topics

In Defense of Equality: The Declaration of Independence Today

Thanks to the opportunity to teach the Declaration of Independence to low-income night school students in Chicago, Danielle Allen re-discovered the profundity and power of that founding text, both for her students and for herself. The Declaration of Independence makes a powerful case for the ideal of political equality, and for recognizing that democracy rests on the twin foundations of liberty and equality. Throughout this keynote, Allen argues that these are not opposing but mutually reinforcing ideals.

Recovering Equality in America

Thanks to Cold War era politics and rhetoric, Americans came to believe that liberty and equality are opposing ideals. This would come as a shock to the founding generation for whom liberty and equality were mutually reinforcing ideals. This talk helps us recover our understanding of the relationship between liberty and equality so that we can reclaim the power latent in their connection. In showing the links between liberty and equality, Allen touches on political, social, and economic aspects of equality.

The Future of the Humanities

Allen has been a leading defender and analyst of the humanities, on campuses and beyond, for nearly two decades. She served on the 2013 American Academy of Arts and Science Commission about the future of the humanities and social sciences that generated the report, The Heart of the Matter. This talk explores the connection of the humanities to human well-being and to civic preparation, and makes the case for protecting the place of the humanities in K-12, community college, and higher education curricula as well as in life-long learning programs.

Educational Policy

Allen argues that fulfillment of the constitutional right to education, that exists in most state constitutions, requires providing students with an education that provides them not only with college and career readiness but also with “participatory readiness”—preparation to participate in their communities, their states, and the nation’s political institutions. Achieving “participatory readiness” by 12th grade is necessary to close the civic achievement gap, in which those who have not been to college are far less likely to participate as voters.

Moreover, Allen argues that we could improve our approach to K-12 assessment of student learning and accountability programs to evaluate the quality of schools by recognizing that these are two very different kinds of evaluation project. She offers concrete suggestions for the kinds of assessment approaches and accountability approaches would improve our ability to offer a high quality education to everyone.

The Ethics of Public Participation in a Digital Age

Working with a team of collaborators, Allen has developed ten design principles for effective, equitable, and self-protective civic agency in a digital age. These principles can guide individuals in their efforts to function as civic actors; they can also guide those who are designing platforms or organizations to cultivate, support, or channel civic agency.

The Ethics of Citizenship

Previous eras in American history have had very distinctive models of citizenship and the ethical principles guiding the practice of citizenship. Our own era is confused. We’ve inherited the jumble of previous models. This talk explores the roles of the “civic agent,” “the activist,” and the “politician,” and the relations among them, as well as developing a framework for understanding the ethical challenges presented by each type of role.

The War on Drugs

Every year for the past decade, Americans have spent $100 billion on illegal drugs. A black market of this scale produces severe social distortion: high rates of violence in cities; militarized policing; inequitable practices of enforcement; an overloaded judicial system; and a broad culture of excessive penality, as Justice Elena Kagan has identified the U.S. as having. In this keynote, Allen argues that the war on drugs is a cancer on the nation’s soul and it is time to end it. This does not mean giving up the fight against drugs. They can be fought effectively through a public health paradigm, instead of a criminal justice paradigm, as we have done with tobacco.

The Past and Future of American Democracy

The American experiment is the oldest democracy on the planet, and yet we also face previously un-imagined, and even un-imaginable, challenges. We are trying to achieve democracy at population levels the Founders could not even have conceived of; we have a level of demographic diversity the world has never seen; we are embedded in a global system that links economies and profound climate effects. In this talk, Danielle Allen explores what we can learn from the past of American democracy to help us meet the challenge of ensuring its future.


Finding empowerment in the words of our founding fathers: PBS News Hour

Key Articles


Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality

Troubled by the fact that so few Americans actually know what the Declaration of Independence says, Danielle Allen, a political philosopher renowned for her work on justice and citizenship, set out to explore the arguments of the Declaration, reading it with both adult night students and University of Chicago undergraduates. Keenly aware that the Declaration is riddled with contradictions—liberating some while subjugating slaves and Native Americans—Allen and her students nonetheless came to see that the Declaration makes a coherent and riveting argument about equality. They found not a historical text that required memorization, but an animating force that could and did transform the course of their everyday lives.

Allen also restores the astonishing text of the Declaration itself. Its list of self-evident truths does not end, as so many think, with our individual right to the "pursuit of happiness" but with the collective right of the people to reform government so that it will "effect their Safety and Happiness." The sentence laying out the self-evident truths leads us from the individual to the community—from our individual rights to what we can achieve only together, as a community constituted by bonds of equality. Challenging so much of our conventional political wisdom, Our Declaration boldly makes the case that we cannot have freedom as individuals without equality among us as a people.