Journal of Civic Literacy: Causes and Consequences

full name / name of organization: 
Center for Civic Literacy
contact email: 

America's low levels of civic knowledge have been repeatedly documented. The Journal of Civic Literacy is a project of the Center for Civic Literacy at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). It is a new open-access, online interdisciplinary journal focused upon publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed articles on issues of American civic literacy, defined as that level of public knowledge necessary for informed civic participation.

Civic literacy for our purposes encompasses an acquaintance with:
• American history, both episodic and intellectual;
• An understanding of the nation's constituent documents, their roots and their subsequent amendment and interpretation, and;
• Sufficient familiarity with and comprehension of basic economic, scientific and policy terminology to permit the formation of reasonably informed opinions on matters of policy disputation.

We are interested in articles addressing:
• The causes and consequences of low levels of literacy,
• The role of public education, the comparative efficacy of available curricula and programs (what is working? why and how?),
• Connections between the current media environment and deficient civic understandings,
• The role of civic literacy in holding public servants accountable for ethical and trustworthy public service, and
• Theoretical submissions that consider the role of civic knowledge in the multiple arenas of our common American life.

The Journal's editorial staff recognizes that practitioners, community members, engaged citizens and others add much value to the ongoing conversation around these issues. Accordingly, in addition to the research articles that will form the basis of each issue, we will welcome contributions to a separate section, the Citizenship Conversation, in which we hope to highlight contributions from government figures, lawyers, political actors, nonprofit administrators and board members, schoolteachers and others concerned about the effects of our civic deficit. Those contributions can take the form of opinion pieces, "best practices" reports, reviews of pertinent books, descriptions of programs and other essays consistent with the Journal's focus.

The journal will initially be published twice a year by the Center for Civic Literacy at IUPUI. Its editorial board includes scholars representing a wide range of disciplines: political science, public administration, education, science, religious studies and business.

The inaugural Editor-in-Chief is Sheila Suess Kennedy, Professor of Law and Public Policy at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI; Associate Editor is Robert Dion of Evansville University. Additional information about the Journal and the submission process can be accessed at