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January 16 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

In-Person: An Evening with Matthew D. Nelsen


January 16
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Books & Books in Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
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Books & Books and the University of Miami’s Democracy Center present…



The Color of Civics: Civic Education for a Multiracial Democracy

(Oxford University Press, USA, $37.44)

Tuesday, January 16th, 7:00 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables


Books & Books and UM’s Democracy Center are thrilled to present an evening with Matthew D. Nelsen discussing his telling book: The Color of Civics: Civic Education for a Multiracial Democracy (Oxford University Press, USA, $37.44).

Please join us for a catered reception as well!

This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.

About the Book:

Generations of Americans, dating back to the nation’s founding, have regarded schools as essential for developing the knowledge and civic values necessary for sustaining democracy. Yet, as Matthew D. Nelsen argues in The Color of Civics, traditional approaches to civic education are not living up to their promise for many students, particularly students of color from disadvantaged communities. How do we prepare an increasingly diverse generation of Americans for full participation in public life?

Drawing on lessons from students and teachers in Chicago, The Color of Civics reimagines the democratic purpose of civic education. Nelsen’s findings challenge some of the most widely cited civic education research, arguing that the content of traditional civic education courses privileges the political experiences of white political actors, and in turn, contributes to divergent political behaviors and participatory outcomes across racial and ethnic groups. He presents a new approach to civic education that aims to foster political empowerment by centering historically-grounded conversations about current events as well as critical categories of knowledge–those that highlight the agency and grassroots political action of marginalized groups. This approach increases rates of intended political participation among young people of color and heightens political empathy among white youth. Nelsen also highlights the agency of teachers in processes of socialization, exploring how their attitudes and lived experiences drive the implementation of more empowering civic learning environments.

By taking the histories and lived experiences of marginalized communities seriously, The Color of Civics asserts that civics courses can become spaces where young people begin to recognize their own agency, develop empathy, and define the terms of their own political participation. Including novel empirical research and an evidence-based analysis, Nelsen provides practical and useful advice for policymakers that cuts through the noise to focus on what works.


About the Author:

Matt Nelsen is an assistant professor within the Department of Political Science at the University of Miami. His work examines how local-level institutions, especially schools and neighborhoods, act as microcosms of democracy and has been featured within Perspectives on Politics, Political Behavior, The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, Psychological Inquiry, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the Washington Post. Matt’s book, The Color of Civics: Civic Education for a Multiracial Democracy, explores how civic education courses shape the political attitudes and behaviors of high schoolers along the lines of race and ethnicity. This work grew out of his dissertation, which received three awards from the American Political Science Association, including the E.E. Schattschneider Award for best doctoral dissertation in the field of American government.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Matt received dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and Asian Studies as a first-generation college student at St. Olaf College and holds a M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago.