Exploding Canons: The Changing Landscapes of Political Conventions – 10/14/11

Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) and its partners presented “Exploding Canons: The Changing Landscapes of Political Conventions” on Friday, Oct. 14 at the UNC Charlotte Center City in Uptown Charlotte. With this installment of its multidisciplinary speakers series, CTI invited the Charlotte community to take an unconventional look at political conventions.

Sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the program featured five faculty members representing diverse academic disciplines from Davidson College, UNC Charlotte and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). Speakers offered their individual perspectives on various aspects of political conventions, as well as the Democratic National Convention to be held inCharlotte in September 2012.

CTI’s Exploding Canons events present unique forums for the public to hear insights from faculty experts related to a common topic. “It’s an opportunity for the public to learn about interesting people and what they study – to hear from experts in a variety of fields,” CTI Director Scott Gartlan explained. “The general theme of the event is loosely centered around the DNC coming to Charlotte in 2012, but each panelist is encouraged to develop a talk that is engaging and reflects their own personal expertise and area of research.” For the first time, this Exploding Canons panel showcased a CMS teacher who is also a CTI Fellow and Steering Committee Member: Jeff Joyce of Hough High School.

Exploding Canons: The Changing Landscapes of Political Conventions began with a catered reception in the Center City Atrium at 5:30 pm.

The event was followed by a panel discussion from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Center City Auditorium. Featured topics and discussion leaders included:

From Candidate to Nominee: The Rules Behind the 2012 Presidential Nominations, Josh Putnam, visiting assistant professor of Political Science, Davidson College

Charlotte: The (Un)Conventional City, Heather Smith, associate professor of geography and earth studies and Urban Institute faculty research associate, UNC Charlotte

Political Socialization: Find Ourselves in Film, Jeff Joyce, social studies department chair and AP government teacher, W. A. Hough High School

Beyond Citizens-in-the-Making: Changing Understandings of Youth Political Identities, Jessica Taft, assistant professor of sociology, Davidson College

Time to Come Together: How Convention Spaces Shape Unity and Dissent, Dan Grano, associate professor of communication studies, UNC Charlotte

Mary Newsom, associate director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and former editorial board member and columnist for The Charlotte Observer, served as moderator for the panel discussion

Gartlan predicts this Exploding Canons program will launch new partnerships leading up to the national conventions and provide valuable openings to address civics literacy in the public schools and throughout the Charlotte community. CTI’s community partners for this Exploding Canons event included the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, UNC Charlotte Center City, the UNC Charlotte Forty Niner Democracy Experience, and Kids Voting Mecklenburg. The Exploding Canons speakers series leverages the partnerships among CTI to offer educators and the public collaborative educational opportunities that highlight university and college faculty, explore diverse topics in an interdisciplinary manner, and encourage community conversation.

This special event was free and open to the public.

To view more photos, visit the Charlotte Teachers Institute Facebook page.

To view videos of panelists speaking, visit the new Charlotte Teachers Institute Youtube page.