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Powers and Russell to co-edit Social Media & Society: 2K

CCCE Co-Directors Matt Powers and Adrienne Russell to edit section of journal Social Media & Society entitled 2K.  It will offer a space for short essays, and will invite lively and timely conversation around the ways that scholars are studying critical issues related to the study of media and technology.  The first issue will examine “Things I No Longer Believe”. Further details, and the call for abstracts (due Jan 18), available here.

Matt Powers releases new book

CCCE Associate Director Matt Powers releases new book.  First in a new Reuters International book series, Powers discusses the way in which NGOs increasingly are taking on journalistic functions, shaping-and sometimes directly producing-international news. How effective is this? In “NGOs as Newsmakers – the changing landscape of International news” Powers charts the growth of these efforts, and analyzes its implications for advocacy groups, journalists, and news consumers.

Symposium: The Shifting Landscape of Public Communication

CCCE, in coordination with the UW Department of Communication and the Simpson Center for the Humanities, hosted a highly successful symposium exploring the “big questions” for scholars concerned with our contemporary media landscape. Entitled “The Shifting Landscape of Public Communication”, the event brought together preeminent scholars in the field to address questions of surveillance, propaganda, and the receding faith in the power of social institutions.  For more information about the event, including a list of participants and extended abstracts, please head here.

UW Sustainability Action Network Gets Green Light

Through a grant awarded by the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF), an exciting new student-led initiative for a campus wide sustainability action network (UW-SAN) is ready to launch its first year operations.

Described as a resource center intended to create “solutions for economy, environment and democracy,” UW-SAN aims to provide online and in-person support for coalition-building projects between student organizations. “One of our primary goals is to bring about systematic growth and change,” explains COM student and Network Ambassador, Sky Stahl. “Studies have shown that when people come together and apply themselves to a challenge, growth isn’t linear, it is exponential.”

The project was conceived as a student led campus initiative affiliated with the Rethinking Prosperity Project at the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (CCCE). “This was a student initiative all the way,” said CCCE Director Lance Bennett. “The initial groundwork was done by Nathaniel Matthews-Trigg, a graduate student in the School of Public Health. Emily Tasaka, a dual Political Science and Communication major, who will continue working on the project as a manager for the resource center and an outreach coordinator, made the formal presentation to the Campus Sustainability Fund.”

According to UW-SAN organizers, the network will utilize both on-line and in-person components. The online component consists of 1) a blog and website that shares relevant articles and resources, lists events, provides updates on student projects, and archives the work of student organizations, and 2) a social engine that maps and connects student groups and resources for building collaborations and serves as a cybernetic space for project development. The in-person component will include student staff, volunteers, and faculty, coordinated by the CCCE. The UW-SAN team will provide support throughout the development and implementation process of student projects.

“Our vision is to create a campus-wide community that actively works together to realize collective prosperity through connected localized movements,” Stahl said. According to the UW-SAN team, “the rich diversity of UW activism around issues of sustainability, environmentalism, democracy, and the economy” means that there is a multitude of opportunities to interact with the student population at large on a deeper, more interconnected level.

As stated in the original grant application, there are over 50 sustainability-focused groups and over 50 social justice-focused groups currently at UW. The intent of UW-SAN will be to bring together the traditionally siloed spheres of environment, economy and democracy to broaden the understanding of sustainability.

“Over the course of going to UW, I have gotten really interested in the possibilities of collaboration,” Stahl explained. “When I first learned in COM 202 how to map a network, it was very exciting because you can just see the possibilities that are there. This then became one of my primary focuses of study. In COM 306, taught by Lance Bennett, we discussed many aspects of society and explored how they all interlace. I was impressed by Lance’s knowledge and enthusiasm, so I reached out to him about doing an independent study, and he introduced me to this project.”

According to the UW-SAN team, the development and maintenance of the network will rely on the continued involvement of and outreach to campus groups, students leaders, and faculty, and will grow as campus coalitions gain momentum. “What we have found is that there is currently not a lot of communication that happens between these 100+ student organizations, even though they share similar, interdependent interests,” Stahl noted. “We want to make connections between currently isolated groups. Every student at UW is learning skills that will affect society. When you talk to other people, you learn about how your work impacts someone else and vice versa; then we can start looking at things systematically and find solutions.”

As defined in the UW-SAN proposal, student involvement will consist of three overlapping types of engagement: cross group and campus networking, project collaboration and development, and project launches.

“UW-SAN would be a great resource for student groups seeking to expand their reach and develop long-lasting coalitions on campus, particularly for those groups led by students new to Seattle activism,” stated Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot, a Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant at the UW School of Public Health.

When asked what UW-SAN hopes to accomplish within its first year of operation, Stahl said that he would hope his team has a good grasp of the state of the campus student organizations network. “I want us to be able to answer any questions about environmental and social justice efforts taking place at UW. We do not want to reinvent the wheel, so we want to know what people are currently doing and what challenges they have faced. My hope is that we could then take this information and get a few collaborative projects underway.”

Additional outreach goals for the UW-SAN team include having the link to the organization’s portal published on official University of Washington pages, in order to attract the attention of those looking for ways to get involved. They also plan to publicize UW-SAN with brief information sessions at courses of faculty affiliated with various student groups.

“Right now we’re trying to start a conversation,” Stahl said. “Our first step is to have meetings with as many groups as we can and see what is going on. We have more planned for the fall and winter of 2017, and we are very excited about getting people connected and launching our technology components. We are moving from micro to macro. Eventually we aspire to move from campus to city, and then to other campuses, other cities, and perhaps one day national and then international.”

The American Global Challenge: Aligning Economy, Democracy and Environment in the 21st Century.

Public Lecture Series:

  • January 17: System Breakdown: Economy and Democracy in Crisis
  • January 31: Can Capitalism Be Fixed?
  • February 7: The Best Democracy that Money Can Buy
  • February 21: Environment vs. Economy
  • March 7: Building the Next System: Solutions for Government, Business, and Citizens

Life quality for growing numbers of people on the planet is threatened by a set of systemic problems. The global economy is not working well for people or the environment. Economic policies across the political spectrum rely on unrealistic expectations about economic growth and resource consumption. America and many other democracies face policy gridlock, breakdowns in representation, and voter anger. How did we get here? What can be done to address these great challenges of our time? This lecture series examines the prospects for realigning our economic, environmental and political systems in light of the outcomes of the 2016 elections:

  1. economic and democratic system breakdown,
  2. can capitalism be fixed,
  3. the role of money in political reform,
  4. dismantling the environment versus economy myth, and
  5. building the next system.

Registration (available through March 6th, 2017).

The Next System Teach-In

Join the Center for Communication & Civic Engagement (CCCE) for The Next System Teach-In on April 25 from 1 to 8 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Department of Communication among others, will take place in the Walker Ames Room located in Kane Hall on UW’s Seattle campus.

Join with Affluenza author John de Graaf, City Council Member Kshama Sawant, environmental justice leader Jill Mangaliman, UW faculty, students and community thought leaders in discussion about getting to the next system.

The realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption just scratch the surface of global issues we face today. It is clear that the current system doesn’t work for the vast majority of people on the planet, and we need to work toward something better.

At the same time new ideas and movements are challenging long held boundaries of what’s politically possible, illustrated by the success of Bernie Sanders, the resonance of #BlackLivesMatter, and campaigns to block the fossil fuel economy.

In order to build a world that puts people, communities and the planet first, we need to imagine what’s possible. We invite you to help us build a learning community for realignment of the economy, environment, and democracy so that all three systems work better for people and the planet.


1 p.m. > Panel & Discussion 1 – How can the economy be equitable and environmentally sustainable?

  • Lance Bennett, Director of Center for Communication & Civic Engagement
  • Jill Mangaliman, Executive Director of Got Green
  • Nathaniel Mathews Trigg, Student Leader of Radical Public Health

2 p.m. > Panel & Discussion 2 – What local solutions can become models in a global system?

  • Karen Litfin, Author of “Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community!”
  • Melissa Young, Producer of the Films “Shift Change” and “WEconomics”
  • Christine Ingebritsen, Author of “Europeanization and Cultural Identity: Two Worlds of Eco-Capitalism”

3 p.m. > Panel & Discussion 3 – What would real democracy look like?

  • Nick Licata, Former Seattle City Councilmember & author of “Becoming a Citizen Activist”
  • Michael McCann, Director of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies
  • Edgar Franks, Farmworker Advocate & Coordinator at Community to Community Development

4 p.m. > Panel & Discussion 4 – Can capitalism be fixed?

  • Sarra Tekola, Climate Justice Activist from Women of Color Speak Out
  • Gillian Locascio, State Coordinator of Washington Fair Trade Coalition
  • John de Graaf, Author of “Affluenza” and “What’s Economy for, Anyway?”

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. > Networking Hour

6:30 to 8 p.m. > Rethinking Prosperity – How can we move beyond “Economy vs. Environment” and “Democracy for the Few”?

  • Jeff Johnson, President of Washington State Labor Council
  • Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Councilmember
  • Stephen Bezruchka, Thought Leader in Public Health and Inequality

RSVP here:

View the webpage for updates and join the discussion on Facebook.

Past Event: What should the next system look like – and how can we get there?

We are in the midst of systemic crisis. The realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption just scratch the surface of global issues. It is clear that the current system doesn’t work for the vast majority of people on the planet, and we need to work toward something better.

In order to build a world that puts people, communities and the planet first, we need to reimagine what’s possible. We invite you to share ideas related to these issues, and help us build a campus learning community.

Attend Info Session:
When: February 11, 2016, 4.30 – 5:30 pm
Where: University of Washington, Communications Building, CMU 126

Read more about the Next System Teach-In at Rethinking Prosperity.

Retrospective: New Economy Week 2015 @ Rethinking Prosperity

Rethinking Prosperity participated in this year’s New Economy Week by organizing two Seattle events: The New Economy Get-Together that brought together numerous local stakeholders and organizations, such as Yes! Magazine, Got Green?, and Pinchot University; and the screening of “This Changes Everything,” a documentary directed by Avi Lewis that was developed in parallel to the critically acclaimed Naomi Klein worldwide bestseller with the same title.   Project Fellow Deric Gruen also published an interview for the theme of Day Four, “A People’s Climate Movement,” that appeared in Naomi Klein’s The Leap blog.

Almost 200 local New Economy community members attended the events and engaged in lively discussions about the pressing challenges that stand between us and tomorrow’s economy. The five selected topics were: Good Work and Opportunity for All; Building an Economy Where #BlackLivesMatter; Democracy Versus the 1%; A People’s Climate Agenda; and Enough to Go Around.

Read More about the New Economy Week 2015 at Rethinking Prosperity
and check out photos from the events on our Facebook Page.

The New Economy Get-Together Nov. 13th

All around us, innovators are building cooperative, ethical, and community-rooted enterprises, reclaiming the commons, and democratizing and reorienting finance. We are finding new ways to share skills and goods, measure success, and meet growing human needs on a finite planet. At the same time, our growing mobilizations in the streets are building power to resist and replace unjust systems. Through all of these efforts, a movement is emerging that could change our society and the world. Join us to meet other advocates and practitioners, build a shared narrative, and strengthen the emergent local network for systemic change.

The New Economy Get-Together is a flagship event of the national New Economy Week 2015. Now in its third year, and for the first time with a Seattle event, New Economy Week 2015 will challenge us to explore what systemic change really looks like. We hope that by drawing attention to big ideas and concrete examples of real solutions, we will expand the public conversation and what’s politically possible, bringing us closer to a just, sustainable, and democratic society.

(READ MORE and REGISTER at Rethinking Prosperity).

“This Changes Everything” Film Screening & Discussion – Nov. 10

Join Rethinking Prosperity for the screening of This Changes Everything! The documentary directed by Avi Lewis was developed in parallel to the critically acclaimed Naomi Klein worldwide bestseller with the same title. Both the movie and the book provide a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political system.

This film screening is part of the 2015 New Economy Week. Please also check out our 2015 New Economy Week Seattle flagship event: New Economy Get-Together on Nov. 13.

This Changes Everything presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond. Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.

ADVANCE REGISTRATION is required as space is limited. (SEE A TRAILER and REGISTER at Rethinking Prosperity).