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Harvard Case Method Project Community Discussion

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Harvard Case Method Project Community Discussion

June 9, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


If you were a civil rights leader after Selma in 1965, how might you have responded to the violence and worked to move the cause of voting rights forward for black Americans? This question will be the focus of a Harvard Case Method Project Community Discussion, part of an innovative program offered by the League of Women Voters of New Canaan together with the New Canaan High School Social Studies Department on Tuesday, June 9th, beginning at 6:30 pm at New Canaan High School. Participants will include students, parents, League members, and other interested adults from our community. This will be the first in a series of case discussions that will take place annually.

The cases are taken from Harvard Professor David Moss’s book, Democracy: A Case Study. The book applies the Harvard case study teaching method to nineteen pivotal episodes in American political history, from the drafting of the Constitution to the recent “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision. Guided by teacher questioning and in-class discussion, students are asked to imagine themselves as important historical decision-makers and to think critically, formulate their own positions, and defend these positions with evidence.

The event gives participants a chance to put themselves in the shoes of civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, immediately after the tragedy of Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It presents them with a dilemma faced by those leaders when they had to plot a course forward for their cause. Those attending will read the case in advance and take part in an illuminating discussion and learning experience.

The carefully constructed cases meet rigorous standards not only for academics but also for non-partisanship—a reason why the League of Women Voters is partnering with Harvard to make this program available to NCHS students. The League’s goal is to encourage voters to recommit themselves to the process of informed and reasoned debate, something League members see as the cornerstone of a well-functioning democracy.

NCHS teachers Amy Rothschild, who advises Model Congress, and Paul Phillips, who advises Model UN, were trained in the case method at Harvard in 2019 and will be moderating the discussion, which will be held in New Canaan High School’s American Studies classroom Tuesday, June 9th. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the program begins promptly from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Admission is free but space is limited. Early registration is required by emailing:


June 9, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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League of Women Voters of New Canaan
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