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On the evening of October 27th, the Humanities In- stitute hosted the Civility Project Launch Event, the

culmination of a year and a half of academic and artistic exploration of questions of civility on our campus and beyond. The Civility Project was conceived as campus communities began to discuss their reactions to a series of incidents of incivility across the UC campuses. The project drew upon UC Davis’s strengths in research across the disciplines, bringing them to bear upon ques- tions our community must ask itself in order to develop or refine a shared notion of civility, and to foster the con- ditions necessary to nurture it. Incorporating research from the social sciences, humanities, and arts, this proj- ect was designed to engage members of the university community in an examination of how we define and achieve civility on campus.

‘‘The Civility Project was conceived as campus communities began to discuss their reactions to a series of incidents of incivility across the UC campuses.’’

The Fall launch event celebrated the work of the Ci-

vility Project with a public reception and launch of the three major project components: a web-based history of incivility on UC campuses; an original documentary theatre production; and a custom designed exhibition of materials from the Shields Library’s special collec- tion of radical pamphlets. Each component of the Civil- ity Project involved stakeholders and participants from a broad range of constituencies on the UC Davis cam- pus, including administrators, staff, faculty, and both graduate and undergraduate students.

Tracing the tension on campuses between free ex-

pression and the exchange of ideas, and facilitating in- clusion and tolerance in an increasingly diverse popu- lation, The Limits of Civility is a web-based history synthesizing journalists’ accounts of incidents of hate on UC campuses, institutional records of campus re- sponses to those events, and data regarding the rapidly shifting demographics of the UC system since the 1960s. Paper Takes: The Power of Uncivil Words exhibits ma- terials from the Shields’ strong collection of “extreme” pamphlets. Created by UC Davis design students, fac- ulty, and graduate student curator fellows, Paper Takes explored how intolerant views are communicated and disseminated in order to better understand the role that individuals, communities, and social systems play in perpetuating the inaccurate stories of one group’s supe- riority over another that often lead to uncivil events. A documentary theatre piece conceived and directed by a graduate student Civility Project fellow and featur- ing an undergraduate student cast, (Un)Civil (Dis)Obe- dience explored the campus community’s emotional responses to the alarming series of uncivil moments and hate-based incidents on the UC Davis campus be- tween 2009 and 2010. Based on transcripts of interviews conducted on campus by a group of student research- ers and performers, the play gives voice to the interior, emotional experience of incivility and insists that we lis- ten to such “unofficial” records of the heart if we are to foster the free and respectful exchange of ideas within our community.

d h i . u c d a v i s . e d u 17

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