Morris Hillquit Professor of Labor and Social Thought
B.A., Philosophy, Manhattan College
M.A., Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research
Ph.D., State University of New York, Binghamton
Focus of Research
Civic Innovation and Public Policy, Collaborative and Network Governance, Community Organizing and Civic Associations, Youth Civic Engagement, Political Sociology, Environmental Organizations and Networks, History of American Democracy, Work and Organizations, Democratic Political and Social Theory.
Carmen Sirianni is the Morris Hillquit Professor of Labor and Social Thought, and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Brandeis University. He is also Faculty Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He has held research appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard.
Sirianni is currently working on two book projects. Climate Action and American Democracy: Civic Capacities and Strategic Fields examines the emergence of various institutional fields of climate action and the challenges they present for a robust democracy in the U.S. Self-Governance in American Political Development, is a two-volume historical-institutionalist analysis from the Revolution to the present day. In this book he examines central challenges and episodes in constructing and reforming a self-governing republic through multiple lenses of civic associations, social movements, communities, politics, administrative and planning institutions and organizational fields, as well as policy design and participatory feedback.
As an engaged scholar and public sociologist, Sirianni coordinated the collaborative governance workgroup within the Obama ’08 urban policy committee, and he continues to consult on the Open Government National Action Plan. In July 2013, he coordinated the workshop at the White House (with Tina Nabatchi, Maxwell School, University of Syracuse) on scaling local innovations in open governance. He has served as senior advisor to the National Commission on Civic Renewal, as well as in various advisory roles at the U.S. EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment Program, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, National Civic League's All-America City Awards, PBS Democracy Project, City Year, and many other civic organizations and national initiatives. In 2001-02, he co-directed the Pew Charitable Trusts policy conferences on youth civic engagement. He served as research director of the Reinventing Citizenship Project, convened by the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Clinton administration, with support from the Ford Foundation, and in partnership with the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and the Walt Whitman Center at Rutgers.
In 2011, Sirianni’s presentation on youth innovation in Hampton, Virginia (a finalist for the Reinhard Mohn Prize) was featured in a conference hosted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Berlin with leaders from the three major parties in the Bundestag, as well as various heads of German federal agencies and state governments. The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, in collaboration with the history department at Fudan University in Shanghai, sponsored his talk on universities and democratization as part of an international symposium.
For a video of his June 2013 presentation at the Climate, Mind, and Behavior conference at the Garrison Institute, “Civic Innovation at the Urban and Watershed Levels: Some Potential Lessons for Climate Action,” click here: http://www.garrisoninstitute.
Sirianni currently co-directs (with Kenneth “Andy” Andrews and Dana Fisher) the project on Non-State Actors in Environmental Governance, through the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at the University of Maryland, funded by a National Science Foundation Grant. This project will publish an edited collection of papers from sociologists, political scientists, and public policy analysts after its final workshop concludes in 2013. His edited book with Ph.D. student Jennifer Girouard, Varieties of Civic Innovation: Deliberative, Collaborative, Network, and Narrative Approaches, will be published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2014. A long selection from his book, The Civic Renewal Movement (with former Brandeis Ph.D. student Lewis Friedland, now Vilas Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) was recently published in Chinese and English by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Kettering Foundation.
Sirianni is author of Investing in Democracy: Engaging Citizens in Collaborative Governance (Brookings Press, 2009), which examined the role of public institutions in community engagement, as well as rationales and forms for making public investments in capacities for collaborative governance and civic partnerships. In Civic Innovation in America (University of California Press, 2001), with Lewis Friedland, he analyzed innovation across four fields (community organizing and development, civic environmentalism, healthy communities, and public journalism), as well as the emergence of a broad civic renewal movement in the 1980s and 1990s.
|"Civic Innovation in America:
Public Policy and the Movement
for Civic Renewal,"
(University of California Press, 2001).
Sirianni has frequently taught the junior tutorial on Civic Engagement and Community Empowerment, as well as supervised numerous senior theses, for the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies honors concentration at Harvard, where he was awarded the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for Excellence in the Work of Undergraduates and the Art of Teaching.
Sirianni has published earlier books and articles on European labor movements, workplace participation, women's organizations, working time innovation, and political and social theory. He edited the 45-volume series (with Paula Rayman), Labor and Social Change, for Temple University Press.
A few recent articles are:
“Bringing the State Back in Through Collaborative Governance: Emergent Mission and Practice at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” in Jennifer Girouard and Carmen Sirianni, Varieties of Civic Innovation: Deliberative, Collaborative, Narrative, and Network Approaches, Vanderbilt University Press, forthcoming in 2014 (in press).
“The Civics of Urban Planning,” The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning, eds. Rachel Weber and Randall Crane. Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 669-90, with Jennifer Girouard.
“Environmental Organizations,” in Lester M. Salamon, ed., The State of Nonprofit America, second edition. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2012, pp. 294-328, with Stephanie Sofer.
“City Government as Enabler of Youth Civic Engagement,” in Policies for Youth Civic Engagement, edited by James Youniss and Peter Levine. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009, pp. 121-63, with Diana Schor.