Newsletter, January 2019

Upcoming Events

Enrolment still open!
Civic Humanities offers proactive responses to current challenges that share symptoms of waning sociability, a quickened pace of life that becomes impatient with deliberation from multiple perspectives and therefore puts at risk hard-won advances in intellectual life and self-government.

Led by Prof. Doris Sommer, the course explores the arts and humanistic interpretation through a centuries-long tradition of civic engagement. Here the humanities are a site for promoting innovation and skills for active citizenship. Democracy and aesthetic judgment developed together to project citizens as co-artists of social constructions. Readings in this tradition of enlightened aesthetics include Kant, Schiller, Dewey, Freire, Gramsci, Ranciere, Mockus, Boal, Kester, Elster, Nussbaum, and Pasolini.

Guest lectures by colleagues from a variety of fields will develop specific areas of innovation and introduce students to potential mentors for future interventions and research projects.

When: Spring 2019 semester (Every Tuesday)

Where: Barker Hall 024

Course Details: Romance Studies 205

If you are a Harvard Graduate student, course details can be found here.

For details and other requests, write to Prof. Doris Sommer at


Prof. Doris Sommer will be facilitating a 15-hour Pre-Texts training with leaders representing Portuguese speaking countries, as well as people involved and interested in social and community projects in the fields of ​​Education, Culture, Health, and Social Entrepreneurship in Massachusetts.

Using Pre-Texts as the tool for design and implementation, each workshop participant will have the opportunity to develop a community project, which they will implement over the course of three months, with mentors from Cultural Agents.

When:  February 2nd and 3rd, 2019 | 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5:30 pm

Where: Babson College-231 Forest Street, Babson Park MA 02457- 0310.

For more information, Contact Eliana Marcolino at +1-774-232-3483 or

Visit this link for more details of the workshop.

Come join us for a 2-hour session on Pre-Texts at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The workshop will be facilitated by Prof. Doris Sommer, Faculty-Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative, and sponsored by the HGSE FEELS organization focusing on socio-emotional learning. We will explore how artistic and creative thinking can help students tackle difficult texts, and through this, look at challenges facing their lives and communities in a new way and take constructive action to help solve them.

This workshop is encouraged for educators, artists, policymakers, and anyone interested in learning innovative ways to tackle pertinent issues facing the world!

When: Saturday, February 26th, 2019 | 6-8 PM

Where: TBDFor more details and to RSVP, write to Tim Steckler at

Visit this link for updates

Pre-Texts News:

From January 7 to 12, 40 Cohort Members of the 2019 Global Leaders Program (GLP) – motivated change-makers in community development through music representing 25 different nations – used “The Agony of Rasu Ñiti” by José María Arguedas as a vehicle for exploring the intersection of literacy, art, innovation, and citizenship.

Read more about the workshop here!

Watch the performance video on this link.

On January 19th 2019, 23 preschool teachers from Confama, in Medellín, Colombia, were certified as Pre-Texts facilitators. Having participated in our Pre-Texts workshop in August, 2018, the teacher-facilitators spent the next few months developing and implementing 15 Pre-Texts activities with their 2 and 3-year-old students. The closing ceremony was filled with games, laughs, gratitude and inspiration while participants reflected on the challenges and lessons learned while implementing Pre-texts in their classrooms. It all ended with a Pre-texts style “graduation ceremony” where participants randomly and voluntarily picked certificates from a table in the middle of the room and ceremoniously presented them to their colleagues.

For more details in Spanish, visit our Pre-Texts website.

On January 25th, 2019, civic leaders representing the Portuguese speaking communities in Massachusetts gathered for an informal reception to discuss innovative approaches to community development. Through a short and fun Pre-Texts session, the leaders co-designed the upcoming Pre-Texts workshop for Portuguese speaking change agents.


Cultural Agents News

Celebrating the creativity and life of Vincent Van Gogh, “At Eternity’s Gate” (2018) is a stunning biography of the famous artist. To promote the film and use the evocative visuals and script as a tool to teach language arts to young students, Wiseman Education in partnership with Cultural Agents held the Language Out Loud Competition in December 2018. Participating students from across Hong Kong and mainland China translated quotes from the script from English to Chinese, and drew artwork and made videos inspired by their interpretations of the script.

Over 200 guests, awardees, parents and teachers attended the  Language Out Loud Awards Ceremony, held on 12th January 2019 at the Movie Town in Shatin.

For details of the competition and event, visit this link.

Language Out Loud (LOL) is a series of campaigns to promote language arts, 21st century skills, and artistic expression using text and visual arts among school children in China. The campaign was initiated by Wiseman Education in partnership with Cultural Agents and Pre-Texts.

Featured News:


Our friend and colleague, Samuel Jaffee, Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Washington, recently wrote us the following note:

“I want to thank you again for sharing your Pre-texts syllabus and ideas with me. So far, I’ve implemented this type of plan in seminars on Cien años de soledad, Pedro Paramo, in a colonial course, and an introduction to literary analysis course — with excellent, creative projects that students are really proud of and that set them on good paths to keep studying the literature.”

We were so excited to read about Samuel’s success with Pre-Texts and look forward to collaborating with him soon!

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Caminos de Paz Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now
January 2, 2019
by Rodriguez