John Dewey Society Annual Meeting
Thursday, April 27 – Friday April 28 2017
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center | Room 5

Conference Program | PDF Download

Conference Program

Conference Theme:
Creative Democracy – The Task Before Us in the Era of Clinton v. Trump

Founded in 1935, when American education was under attack from the right, the Society aims to keep alive John Dewey‘s commitment to critical and reflective intelligence in approaching pressing problems in education and culture. It is fitting, then, at the beginning of the presidency of Donald Trump, that we come together to reflect on its implications for democratic life.

What are the challenges to a vibrant and healthy democratic life? In an essay late in life, “Creative Democracy – The Task Before Us” John Dewey argued that democracy was more than a political institution; it was a way of life – as dependent upon communication and mutuality within families, friendships, schools, churches, workplaces, and other strands of civil society as on the government.

Today, in many countries including our own, democracy is under attack. Anti-democratic leaders at home and abroad stir the pot of mistrust and hate among social groups. The Secretary of Education promises to undo our commitment to the common school. It is appropriate, therefore, to return to Dewey and consider anew how democratic life and democratic education can be reclaimed.

Thursday, April 27
Pre-Conference Workshop | 8am-12pm

Session 1: Theorizing Democratic Education (Roudy Hildreth, Chair)

8:00am-9:45am: This workshop discussion explores how we might theorize democratic education in the current political and educational situation. Recent events have renewed our focus on the relationship between democracy and education. The positive connections between democracy and education are under strain. We have witnessed how social media preys on Americans’ low levels of political knowledge, creating narrow channels for the flow information, and increasingly, disinformation. We have witnessed increasingly polarized political discourse and the rise of anti-democratic sentiments, as well as attacks on public education. This workshop gathers outstanding scholars who will offer insights on the role of civic learning, broadly understood, in this current context. What should be the goals of civic learning? What qualities do we want young people, college students, and professionals to develop? What is the relationship between civic learning and broader social institutions? What are the best methods to meet these individual and social goals? And finally, underscoring these questions, what is the relationship between theory and practice in theorizing democratic education?

Walter Parker, University of Washington
Paula McAvoy, University of Wisconsin Madison
Kathleen Knight Abowitz, Miami University, Ohio
*(Other panelists to be announced)


Session 2: Teaching About Democratic Education (Amy Shuffelton, Organizer)

10:00am-11:45am: The panel discusses approaches to teaching about “democracy and education” and works towards some common insights. While each panelist engages with John Dewey’s ideas, the workshop focuses upon democracy and education, not Dewey’s book by that title. This workshop engages with what it means pedagogically to treat creative democracy as the task before us in higher education. While developed against the background of Trump v. Clinton, and addressing current events, workshop concerns extend beyond the recent election cycle.

Sue Ellen Henry, Bucknell University
Kathy Hytten, University of North Carolina Greensboro
Amy Shuffelton, Loyola University
Sarah Stitzlein, University of Cincinnati
Kurt Stemhagen, Virginia Commonwealth University, Chair and Discussant


Regular Annual JDS Meeting

JDS Symposium: Creative Democracy: Democratic Education in the Era of Clinton v. Trump

12:00noon-1:45pm: The panelists, all leading educational thinkers, consider the lessons to be drawn from the recent election and Trump presidency and the tasks before us in reconstructing democratic education.

Peter Levine, Tufts University
Walter Parker, University of Washington
Winston Thompson, University of New Hampshire
Diana Hess, University of Wisconsin


School and Society Forum (Kyle Greenwalt, Chair)

2:00pm-3:45pm: Communities in Schools San Antonio (CISSA) and the John Dewey Society are proud to host the seventh annual School & Society Forum. The forum is a public space embracing dialogue, interaction, and deliberation concerning school and society issues across multiple stakeholders—P-16 teachers, policymakers, administrators, scholars, parents, students, community educators, & interest groups—drawing upon John Dewey’s commitments to democratic schooling. Students, parents, and CISSA organizers will lead a panel discussion about issues facing the San Antonio community.

Kyle Greenwalt
John Vasquez
Lauren Geraghty
Jessica Landgraf


JDS Dewey Lecture

Harry Boyte, Citizen Politics and Democratic Change in the Age of Trump: Beyond the Manichean Model

4:00pm-5:45pm: Harry Boyte is one of today’s most prominent democratic theorists and activists.  He has worked with many foundations, and non-profit educational, and citizen organizations in the United States and abroad concerned with community development, citizenship education, and civic renewal. In the 1960s, he worked for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a field secretary with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the Civil Rights Movement.

Boyte is the author of nine books on citizenship, democracy, and community organizing, and his writings have appeared in more than 100 publications including the New York Times, Perspectives on Politics, Kettering Review, and the Wall Street Journal.


JDS Reception | 6:00pm-7:30pm


Friday, April 28 2017
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center | Room 5

Meetings and Working Sessions | 8:00am-12:00noon

  • 8:00am-9:00am: Emerging Scholar Working Session (Melissa Bradley)
  • 9:00am-10:30am: Education and Action Working Group (Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Harry Boyte)
  • 10:30am–11:45am: JDS Executive Board and Directors Meeting (Leonard Waks and Peter Nelsen)

Regular Conference Sessions

Dewey and Philosophy Panel I | 12:00noon-1:45pm

  • Creative Integration and Pragmatist Optimism: Dispositions for the Task Before Us, Barbara S. Stengel, Vanderbilt University
  • Creative Democracy, Equality, and Religion: Bhimrao Ambedkar’s Pragmatic Reconstruction of Buddhism, Scott R. Stroud, University of Texas at Austin
  • Mindfulness and Creative Democracy, Kyle Greenwalt and Cuong Nguyen, Michigan State University
  • The (Im)Possibilities of Realizing Dewey’s Vision in the Age of Trump: Towards More Creative Democracy, Roudy Hildreth, University of Colorado Boulder

A.G. Rud


Dewey through the Generations Panel | 2:00pm-3:30pm

Challenges for Democracy: New Developments and Tendencies

  • The Secularism that Divides Us: Reframing Dewey’s Conception of Moral Education, Alexander T. K. Elnabli, Graduate Teaching Fellow, Fordham University
  • In the Surge of Authoritarianism: Democratic Faith, Chanhee Lee, Vincennes University
  • Respondent: Gregory Pappas, Texas A&M University

Jessica Heybach


Dewey and Philosophy Panel II | 3:45pm – 5:15pm

  • Dewey’s Pragmatism and Contemporary Challenges of Media and Democracy, Lance E. Mason, Indiana University Kokomo
  • Dear Democracy, The 2016 Presidential Election, Love Philosophy, Daniel A. Lilly, Florida State University
  • Creating the Conditions for a Creative, Democracy: John Dewey and D.W. Winnicott on Democratic Living, Jane Blanken-Webb, University of Eastern Finland

A.G. Rud

JDS Business Meeting | 5:20pm- 6:30pm