This year’s conference theme focuses on governing changes in an ever-shifting political environment. The country seems more polarized than ever. Language bashing public servants still remains present. In her seminal book published a decade ago, Camila Stivers called this “governance in dark times.” Written after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the book explores themes related to homeland security, ethical citizenship, and meaningful governance. These themes remain pertinent today given the constant attacks on public service at the national and local levels.
Given the conference theme, as well as the practical implications of her writing, this workshop will be a reading group to discuss with the author key themes that emerged in reading “Governance in Dark Times.” Workshop participants should read the book in preparation for the session. With Stivers, we will explore in depth some of the themes, learn more the genesis of the book from the author, and brainstorm potential practical and scholarly paths forward.
Participants are asked to come to the workshop with a list of questions/talking points for discussion. We will proceed in a roundtable format, trading ideas in a collegial environment that fosters meaningful dialogue. Some questions to consider when reading include, but surely are not limited to:
- What themes from her 2008 writings apply today and how?
- If the book were to be written today, what other themes might be included and why?
- How does Stivers’ suggestion of “thinking for yourself” square with our reliance on expertise?
- She uses torture as a lens to explore “truth” in public administration. What might be use today and how to explore concepts of “truth” in the field?
- Governance of the common ground might seem idealistic. How do you think we can achieve it in practice if at all?
In the remaining time, participants are encouraged to ask questions about doctoral education, research processes, dissertation, job market, and general academic advice.
Please contact Associate Professor Staci Zavattaro with any questions.
*Seating for this workshop is limited, so RSVP is required when purchasing tickets. To sign up, visit Eventbrite.