Declaration Resources Project
The Declaration Resources Project is aninitiative led by Danielle Allen, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and professor in Harvard’s Department of Government and Graduate School of Education. The mission of this project is to create innovative and informative resources about the Declaration of Independence. The preliminary goal of this project is to supplement existing web-based resources with tools that will allow individuals to engage with the text and understand the dissemination and impact of the document. Ultimately, we hope to demonstrate the ways in which engagement with fundamental primary sources such as the Declaration of Independence can influence civic identity and change our understanding of civic education.
On February 27th, 2015, The Digital Archive of Massachusetts Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions was released through the Harvard Dataverse Network (see Launch Event video here). This searchable online database includes almost 3,500 petitions with nearly 282,000 signatures sent to the Massachusetts colonial and state legislatures from the years 1649 to 1870, now located at the Massachusetts Archives. Each petition image is annotated with detailed information, and the dataset provides web-based browsing, searching, and filtering, along with images of the digitized documents. The documents and subjects from this database include freedom petitions, black military service from the 17th century through the Civil War, petitions from or about people who were enslaved, religion, education, racial discrimination, Native American connections, capital punishment, and national anti-slavery issues, such as protests against additional slave states or slavery in Washington D.C. Many prominent black abolitionists signed the petitions, including William C. Nell, Sarah Remond, Charles Lenox Remond, Charlotte Forten, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Paul Cuffee, Quock Walker, John T. Hilton, Prince Hall, Sojourner Truth, Lewis Hayden, Henry Box Brown, William Craft, Ellen Craft, Thomas Sims, William Wells Brown, Benjamin Roberts, Robert Morris, Thomas Dalton, John Rock, John de Grasse, Leonard Grimes, John Coburn, George Ruffin, James Trotter, J. Sella Martin, Edwin G. Walker, and Aaron A. Bradley.
The database was made possible through the generous support and assistance of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Archives, and the following Harvard University affiliates: the Harvard University Libraries, the Institutional Development Initiative, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Center for American Political Studies, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Professor Daniel Carpenter, the principal investigator.
The Program on Constitutional Government
The Program on Constitutional Government (PCG) is associated with the Center for American Political Studies in the Department of Government at Harvard. It was founded in 1985 by Harvey Mansfield and William Kristol, and guided since then by Mansfield and R. Shep Melnick of Boston College. The Program promotes the study of the U.S. Constitution and its principles, combining the fields of political theory and American government. It brings visiting professors to Harvard, invites guest speakers, and supports postdoctoral fellowships. It seeks to improve the access of Harvard students to political debate by ensuring that the principle of diversity is not confined to favored classes of Americans but extended to political opinion—since it is the interest of all that both sides be heard. PCG hosts lectures, panels, and lunch seminars at Harvard. Events are open to the public and an updated schedule of upcoming and past events is available at the PCG website. Videos of past events are also available on the PCG YouTube channel.
The Project on Genomics, Politics and Policy
Jennifer Hochschild is examining the politics and ideology surrounding the development of genomic science. Genomics is a huge, burgeoning, mysterious new enterprise that is likely to affect life in the United States and other countries as physics did in the twentieth century – with both great benefits and serious risks. However, the public as a whole, elected officials, and the judiciary have all not yet developed clear views or sophisticated understanding and engagement with its societal uses. The research, joint with Maya Sen of the Harvard Kennedy School, analyzes emerging views about the meaning of race from a genomics perspective, medical and scientific research on genetically inflected conditions, and the use of DNA in the criminal justice system. The research materials include national public opinion surveys, interviews with important actors in the arena, and coding of publications in the scholarly and public media.
Jennifer Hochschild is studying class-based tensions within racial and ethnic groups in American metropolitan areas. Although boundaries around groups profoundly affect institutions of governance, policy choices, political contests, life chances, and opinions, disagreements within groups also have a long and important history. As economic inequality grows within groups as well as in the American population as a whole, well-off and poor whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans have increasingly different life experiences, with political and policy implications. With Vesla Weaver of Yale University, Hochschild is studying class-in-race through a new national public opinion survey and case studies of disputes in four metropolitan areas – policing in New York, gentrification in Atlanta, schooling in Los Angeles, and pensions and budgeting in Chicago.
Scholars Strategy Network
The Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) seeks to improve public policy and strengthen democracy by organizing scholars working in America's colleges and universities, and connecting scholars and their research to policymakers, citizens associations, and the media.
SSN members spell out the implications of their research in ways that are broadly accessible. They engage in consultations with policymakers in Washington DC and state capitals. They make regular contributions to the media and share findings and ideas with journalists and bloggers. Many SSN scholars also work with advocates and civic organizations to address pressing public challenges at the national, state, and local levels.
SSN members believe that university scholars should share their work with fellow citizens – and they endeavor to further good public policymaking and responsive democratic government. Beyond these shared values, members hold a variety of views – and SSN as a whole does not endorse any political party, candidate, or specific policy position. Each SSN scholar takes individual responsibility for signed contributions and choices about civic engagement.
Hundreds of university-based members voluntarily contribute time and ideas to the Scholars Strategy Network, which employs a small, dedicated professional staff to amplify and energize their efforts. Volunteer network projects and staff activities are enabled by unrestricted donations and grants from more than a dozen public-spirited philanthropists and foundations.