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Tang's "We the People" continues civic-engagement series

March 11, 2013

Tang's "We the People" continues civic-engagement series


We the People, a show at Skidmore's Tang Museum devoted to the importance of constitutions, particularly the U.S. Constitution, will continue its series of public events with topics ranging from the “slow democracy” movement to the debate over “corporate personhood.”

We the People, which runs through April 7, is a dynamic laboratory for exploring constitutions as lived processes, examining the way these documents create order, configure communities, and form collective identities.

Susan Clark
Susan Clark

Public events are held in the Tang’s Payne Room, which features recent artworks by Francis Cape, Allison Smith, and Nari Ward. The room offers a space for quiet reflection and provides pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution.

The latest round of events will begin with a talk by Susan Clark, co-author of Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home, on Monday, March 18, at 7 p.m. Clark will discuss her book and lead small-group discussions. Copies of Slow Democracy will be available for sale and book signing.

Wrote Clark in a recent blog, “Community democratic structures that are inclusive, deliberative, and empowered are a critical way to build trust and social capital. And in turn, those constructive personal relationships reinforce a functioning democracy. It’s an upward, virtuous spiral.”

Added Clark, “In recent decades, ‘citizenship’ has too often meant just being a consumer of policy, or a spectator of political showmanship. But when we’re treated as collaborative problem solvers, we show the value of local engagement.”

Jeffrey Clements
Jeffrey Clements

The series will continue with a lecture by Jeffrey Clements titled “Corporations Are Not People: Responding to the Supreme Court in Citizens United” on Thursday, March 28, at 7 p.m. Clements, former assistant attorney general of Massachusetts, heads Free Speech for People, an organization dedicated to challenging the creation of Constitutional rights for corporations. The organization advocates overturning the 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens vs. Federal Election Commission through a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Wrote Clements in a Feb. 28 blog, “Corporations, then, are policy tools, not people or holders of Constitutional rights. As economic tools, corporations are highly effective. Yet the same traits that make corporations such useful economic policy tools can also make them dangerous to republican government and democracy if people and lawmakers do not watch and restrain abuses.”

The We the People series will conclude on Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m. with a “Crowd-Sourced Constitutional Convention” organized by faculty and students from Skidmore College’s Department of Government. The group will lead a conversation about the current state of the U.S. Constitution, including the document’s strengths and weaknesses, and opinions on how it could be changed for the better.

The Tang Museum is open noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday, closed on Mondays and major holidays, and open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information and a full listing of Tang events click here.

Civic engagement at Skidmore


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