About Us

The Democratic Knowledge Project, a distributed research and action lab based in the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, identifies, strengthens, and disseminates the knowledge and capacities that civic actors need in order to sustain healthy democratic life. The lab currently has three projects underway: the Declaration Resources Project, the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment (HULA) Project, and the Youth and Participatory Politics Action and Reflection Frame. Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is the principal investigator of the Democratic Knowledge Project. Our work currently covers civic education in three core domains: 

Theory

Our Key Concepts:
Democratic Theory, Foundations of Principles and Institutions, Connected Society, Civic Agency, Democratic Judgment, Democratic Writing and Compromise

Humanities Research:
Declaration Resources Project: Researchers study the text and context of the Declaration, focusing on the print tradition
Ten Questions: We theorize new principles and practices of civic education for political participation in a digital age
HULA: Our team researches craft practices, learning theories, and common developmental outcomes of humanities and liberal arts instruction

Practice

Engagement with Civic Educators
Our Civic Education Framework: We have developed a five-pillar framework to support development of civic education curricula. See here

Ten Questions: Our Teacher Leaders program trains and supports local teachers in using the Ten Questions framework in their classrooms, and offers a platform to share their ideas and experiences
Declaration Resources Project:  The Teacher Advisory Board, representative of classrooms across the country, advises on the development and dissemination of resources for teaching the Declaration

Resource Development:
Ten Questions: Our team develops teaching guides and classroom-ready workshop modules Declaration Resources Project: We produce visually engaging primary source-based learning resources, including a video game centered on the grievances in the Declaration of Independence

Assessment

Assessing Craft Teaching Practices:  
HULA: We draw on validated methods in psychology and human development to build assessment instruments and are currently developing tools to assess classroom implementation of the Ten Questions framework and video game