corrections/additions are in red
The Evergreen State College

Graduate Program in Public Administration

MPA Core—Spring 2005 Syllabus

Doing Democracy

Friday 1-5; Saturday 8:30-5 Sunday 8-4

Room:  Seminar 2 B-1107 





Office hours

Joan Bantz


Lab 1, 3011      

T 3-5pm; and by appt.

Linda Moon



Lab I 3005

Fri. 10-12, after class or by appt

Joan’s homepage:


This course completes the first year CORE foundation in the MPA program.  It is designed to look at contemporary issues in the U.S. democratic system through multiple frames.  Our learning community acts like a mirror, reflecting the ways we work with others and handle issues of power.  The course explores how we practice democracy within our broader communities.  Moving to larger systems, coursework then focuses on the larger systems, moving from the U.S. Constitution to our current fractured political rhetoric through the consideration of two crucial questions

Can politics be returned to “we the people?”

What can “we the people” create and do?  What are the potential roles for individuals, learning communities, larger groups and organizations?

The learning community will look at models for social movements within the U.S. and consider how social movements interact in the global context. Finally, the learning community circles circle back to practical skills needed to effectively advocate and organize for positive change.  Democracy is not a spectator sport, it depends on our active engagement. In our roles as administrators, non-profit managers, leaders in our community groups, and as citizens, and participants in cultures and larger systems, there is much work to do to return democracy to “we the people.”

The intention of a learning community is to provide a safe and stimulating space where current  issues in participatory democracy and social movements are explored. The course will provide opportunities for each of us to enhance our skills in working collaboratively and in speaking across differences.  Exploring values engages the community with the material in ways that expands understanding of the complex nature of emotionally charged political discourse and conflict.  The material and discussions are intended to move everyone outside their comfort zones and long cherished ideas may be shaken or transformed.  There is not an expectation of agreement. Rather, a space is created where different views can be explored, yet many places of agreement and community sharing may be found. Coming to understand difference and diversity while accepting that intelligent people can have widely divergent opinions enables us to be more effective in working in the our learning community as well as in the larger community.


III.            Credit

Students will receive 4 graduate credits based upon satisfactory and on-time completion of all course requirements and assignments.  Credit denial decisions will be made by the seminar faculty.  No partial credit will be awarded.  Plagiarism, failing to complete one or more assignments, completing one or more assignments late (without having made special arrangements in advance of the due date) or two non-excused absences, may constitute automatic denial of credit.  When faculty approves, extra assignments will be assigned by seminar faculty to make up for missed classes. Late assignments are only accepted with the previous approval of your seminar faculty.  A faculty and self evaluation is required.



The program was designed with a focus on reading that is front-loaded in order to give you more time to work on the team “teach-to-learn” project and the final reflective paper. Many of the selections are intended for a non-academic audience, yet are based on a firm intellectual foundation.  They were chosen as well-written, interesting books that best meet learning objectives and create great seminars. As well as the required reading list we will provide a list of texts for you to self select one of interest.


Mills, Antonia.   Eagle Down Is Our Law: Witsuwit'En Law, Feasts, and Land Claims.  Univ of British Columbia Pr. 1994.  ISBN:0-7748-0513-7

Hooks, bell.  Teaching Community:  A Pedagogy of Hope.  NY: Routledge.  2003.

ISBN: 0415968186

Lakoff, George.  Don’t think of an elephant!:  Know your values and Frame the Debate.

                        White River Junction, VT:  Chelsea Green Publishing. 2004. ISBN: 1931498717

Moyer, Bill.  Doing Democracy:  The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements.  New Society Publishers. 2001. ISBN: 0865714185

Packet of three selected articles to be passed out in class

Recommended Book List for “Making Your Contribution”:

Alinsky, Saul.  Rules for Radicals.  1971.
Bellah, Robert.  Habits of the Heart:  Individualism and Commitment in American Life. 1985
Bryner, Gary, GAIA’s Wager, 2000 or any edition
Chomsky, Noam, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Chopra, Deepak.  Peace is the Way:  Bringing War and Violence to an End.  2005

Coles, Robert.  The Call of Service:  A Witness to Idealism.  1993

DePree, Max.  Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community.  1997.
Edelman, Marian Wright. The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours. 1992.
Ewen, Alexander, Voices of Indigenous People, Clearlight Publishers, 1994

Guinier, Lani. Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice.  2000.

Guinier, Lani and Gerald Torres, The Miner’s Canary, 2004.

Gunn, Christopher and Hazel Dayton Gunn, Reclaiming Capital: Democratic Initiatives and Community Development.  1991
Hardina, Donna. Analytical Skills for Community Organizing Practice. 2002.

Hartman, Thom.  The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, 2004

Keiter, Robert B., Reclaiming the Native Home of Hope.  1998

Mandela, Nelson, Long Walk to Freedom. 1994, 1995

Mankiller, Wilma,    Autobiography

Minteer, Ben A and Bob Pepperman Taylor, ed. Democracy and the Claims of Nature.  2002.

Myles Horton and Paulo Freire, Conversations, in We Make the Road By Walking Conversations on Education and Social Change. 1999.
Horwitz, Claudia.  The Spiritual Activist:  Practices to Transform Your Life, Your Work, and Your World.  2002.

Loeb, Paul Rogat.  The Impossible Will Take a Little Longer.  2004

Loeb, Paul Rogat.  The Soul of a Citizen,
Matusak, Larraine.  Finding Your Voice:  Learning to Lead…Anywhere You Want to Make a Difference.  1997.

Mohanty, Chandra. Genealogies of Community, Home and Nation, Feminism Without Borders. 2003.
Peavey, Fran.  Heart Politics.  1986.

Piven, Frances Fox and Cloward, Richard.  Poor People’s Movements: Why they Succeed, How They Fail. 1979.
Ray, Paul and Anderson, Sherry Ruth.  The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World. 2000.

Shaw, Randy.  The Activist’s Handbook.  2001.

Shiva, Vandiva, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development in India, 1988, 1995

Shore, Bill.  The Light of Conscience:  How a Simple Act Can Change Your Life.  2004.
Smock, Kristina. Democracy in Action: Community Organizing and Urban Change.  2003.

West, Cornel.  Democracy Matters: Wining the Fight Against Imperialism. 2004.
Wheatley, Margaret.  Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future.  2002.

Williamson, Marianne (ed).  Imagine:  What America Could Be in the 21st Century, 2000.



1.    Intellectual Journal.  Bring a spiral notebook to class. We will have short, free-writing time based around central course themes before lunch on full days.  You can also work on your journal outside class throughout the quarter to create a cognitive map to create connections between your intellectual journey and practice.  This should be an integrative process, connecting new learning with prior learning and charting changes and connections. This journal is an opportunity to make sense of the readings and class discussions in terms of your individual and group experiences---a private space and you will not turn it into the faculty.  However, it will be the basis for the final paper (described below). 

Learning Goals:  To increase your awareness of who you are, integrate knowledge-making and connections to your community and workplace, and to continue your reflective practice.


2.    Final Paper: Your MPA Program Experience: Past, Present and Future.  The cumulative paper will present an opportunity to reflect on your yearlong experience and create a vision for your MPA future.  Revisit what you intended to learn when you applied to the program.  Considering what you have learned this year, in what ways have you met your goals?  How has your knowledge connected to practice and how do you envision it might do so in the future? What do you still want to accomplish?  What barriers did you encounter?   Did any of your goals change?  If so, why?  What did you learn about yourself and the learning community that surprised you? What have you been able to use in your current work?  Looking to the future, write your resume as it will look five years from now and then develop a learning plan to get there from where you are now.  In addition to your final paper that you hand in to your seminar leader, share a key learning moment, event or concept in any format you wish to the class-- a poem, a song, cartoons, a short story, collage, dance, a cooking recipe, artwork, a poster, whatever.  Due:  April 28 via email to your seminar faculty.

Learning Goals:  To develop personal planning skills and the ability to articulate your grandest vision for your life and communities.

3.    Doing Democracy:  Using the MAP model, select one of the cases and identify the actions that match the model, and identify where the model was not completely applied. Prepare a one-page, single-spaced paper.

Post on Web Crossing by March 25.  Read at least three postings from other students and do a peer reflection on one of them.  Pick someone who has not been responded to if possible.  Try to assure everyone receives a response. Turn in hard copy to seminar faculty on the on April 2.

Learning Goal: To develop the ability to apply a model to a concrete example.

4.    Making Your Contribution:  You will select a book from the book list and prepare a short paper (no more than three double-spaced pages) that identifies the author’s major themes and how this book connects (it does not have to agree) with the other reading in this course.  You will provide a short (5 minute) presentation to your seminar group. Post the paper on Web Crossing by April 18, 2004

Learning Goals:  To develop the ability to synthesize and apply other people’s ideas.


5.    Teach to Learn:  “Organizing for Change”

As citizens we are responsible for creating our communities.  Typically, we are participants or leaders in efforts to make something happen—to bring about a change.  We will form teams in the first session and each team will select one of these topics:

 Organizing for Change Topics:

No more than three people will be on a team. The team will develop a workshop of 45 minutes to teach the class. 30 minutes for the presentation and at 15 minutes for questions.  It must have an interactive component.  In addition each team member will interview a community leader who is active in bringing about change.  Your task is to understand how they approach that particular task, any lessons learned, how they sustain their commitment, and what advice to inspire change they would give to others.  As a group, you will prepare a short paper that integrates the work of all team members into a truly joint/team product, written with a single voice that is seamless.  It will be no more than 4 double-spaced pages. The paper will include a bibliography. Give a copy of the paper to each seminar faculty.  Due at time of presentation.

Learning Goals: In depth knowledge of a skill, to have an opportunity to work collaboratively, and to design learning experience for others.

Ideas have power

as long as they’re not frozen in doctrine.

But ideas need legs.

The eight-hour day, the minimum wage,

the conservation of natural resources and the protection of

our air, water, and land,

women’s rights and civil rights, free trade unions,

Social Security and a civil service based on merit—

All these were launched as citizen’s movements and

won the endorsement of the political class only after long struggles

in the face of bitter opposition and sneering attacks.

It’s just a fact:

Democracy doesn’t work without citizen activism

And participation, starting at the community…

It’s also a fact that civilization happens because

We don’t leave things to other people.

What’s right and good doesn’t come naturally.

You have to stand up and fight for it—

As if the cause depends on you,

because it does.

Allow yourself that conceit—

To believe that the flame of democracy will never go out

As long as there’s one candle in your hand.

Bill Moyers, June 4, 2003.


FRIDAY APRIL 1   1-5pm

Activities                                                            Assignments

1:00  Course overview  Joan and Linda



1:30  Libraries, Democracy and Information Access with Lee Lyttle

Dean, Evergreen Library


2:30 Break


2:45  Participatory Processes

          Coleen Cawston, DSHS 


3:45   Discussion:  communities and engagement…what does it mean?







8:30  Seminar

bell hooks – all


9:45  break


10:00 Tribes and Participation in the Political Process: From subversion to adaptation         Linda



11:15  Student discussion of MAP assignment  (round robin)

MAP papers on Moyers

12        Lunch


1:00 MAP discussion  continues


2:30 Break


2:45 Seminar

4:15 Public Interest Law and Tribes

Lakoff  (all)





8:00 Wrap Up


8:30 “Capturing and Framing the Rhetoric”  Joan

         video, overview  and discussion


10:30  Break


11:00  Book selections: “Making your Contribution”

Short student presentations on book assignment

12  Lunch


1:00 More books


2:30 Break

2::45  Team formation for “Organizing for Change”