Political Theory

Civil Society in the Plague Year


While not without limitations, a civil society-based approach helped Americans forge a sense of shared purpose (and take common actions) in crises, without turning to government for instructions and controls. In this Socratic seminar we used Elizabeth Clemens's book Civic Gifts to examine how the state and civil society interact to build the world we now live in and look into the future of this relationship.


Conference Readings

Clemens, Elisabeth S. Civic Gifts: Voluntarism and the Making of the American Nation-State. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020.