University of South Carolina

Focus on civility continues with course, lecture series

The University of South Carolina will continue its emphasis on civil discourse this fall with an undergraduate course featuring a public lecture series.

Taught by philosophy professor Dr. Christopher Tollefsen, the University 201 class, “Civility in the Public Sphere,” addresses the notion of civility in public conversation on issues such as healthcare and immigration reform to debates over war, abortion and the proper role of government in Americans’ personal lives.

All lectures will take place at 7 p.m. and are free. The intent of the series is to offer thought-provoking lectures that encourage the community to think about the importance of, and problems with, civil discourse and how these problems can be resolved.

The schedule is as follows

  • Sept. 13 – “Democracy as a Moral Ideal,” featuring Dr. Vincent Colapietro, professor of philosophy from Penn State University. School of Law auditorium.
  • Sept. 22– “Civility and Deliberative Democracy,” featuring Dr. Ed Munn, associate dean of the South Carolina Honors College. Gressette Room, Harper College.
  • Sept. 27 – “Debating Civility: Democratic Public Discourse in Ancient Athens,” featuring Dr. Jill Frank, USC associate professor of political science. Gressette Room, Harper College.
  • Oct. 4 – “Civility in the University,” featuring Dr. Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. School of Law auditorium.
  • Oct. 11 – “Science and Religion in Dialogue,” featuring Dr. Dan Buxhoeveden, director of USC’s Religion and Science Initiative. Gressette Room, Harper College.
  • Oct. 18 – “Race, Civility and Public Discourse,” featuring Dr. Eddie Glaude, professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton Univresity. School of Law auditorium.
  • Nov. 3 – “Church, State and Public Discourse,” featuring Dr. Steven Smith, Warren Distinguished Professor at the University of San Diego. School of Law auditorium.
  • Nov. 17 – “Educating for Civic Empowerment,”featuring Dr. Meira Levinson, assistant professor of education at Harvard University. School of Law auditorium.
  • Nov. 22 – “The Responsibility of Public Journalism,” featuring Charles Bierbauer, dean of USC’s College of Mass Communication and Information Studies. Gressette Room, Harper College.

President Harris Pastides launched the university’s Civil Discourse Initiative last fall. A pilot course through the S.C. Honors College was taught in the spring in addition to a continued campus emphasis on the Carolinian Creed, a code of the university’s values that includes civility, and a public lecture.

More detailed information on the USC’s Civil Discourse Initiative is available online at

'Civility in the Public Sphere'

  • What: University 201 class, taught by philosophy professor Dr. Christopher Tollefsen, as part of university's Civil Discourse Initiative
  • Where: Various locations

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 09/03/10 @ 12:55 PM | Updated: 09/13/10 @ 4:15 PM | Permalink