Rosendale, like many communities in New York, is made up of people from many different backgrounds. Some local residents have roots in the area going back generations, others are recent transplants. Some work in the gig or knowledge economy, others in service industries or the trades. Education levels vary widely, as does income: some have plenty of financial resources, others not so much. COVID-19 has badly affected many of us, others have avoided the most damaging consequences of the virus.

Many things potentially divide us. But despite this, Rosendale relies on service and a strong sense of civic duty to generate and support spaces within which we can maintain and extend our sense of community. Service and engagement play a large role in our community; this discussion group is aimed at helping us understand what we do here locally in a broader context. The project aims specifically at members of the community who already serve, and those who have interest in doing so in the future.

Session one 3/23 @ 6:30pm: The Problem of Community Engagement in America
Reading: Robert Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital”
Chapter 1
Chapter 16

Session two 3/30 @ 6:30pm: Community and Service in Other Places and Times, Part 1
Reading: Aristotle, selections from Book 1 of the Politics
Moses Maimonides, selections from the Mishneh Torah

Session three 4/6 @ 6:30pm: Community and Service in Other Places and Times, Part 2
Reading: Adam Smith, selections from A Theory of Moral Sentiments
Alexis de Tocqueville, selections from Democracy in America

Session four 4/18 @ 6:30pm: The Duties of Belonging
Reading: Ursula le Guin, “The ones who walk away from Omegas”

Session five 4/26 @ 6:30pm: Negotiating Service
Reading: Franz Kafka, “The Helmsman”

Session six 5/4 @ 6:30pm: Poetry, Service, and Community
Reading: Constantine Cavafy, “Waiting for the Barbarians”
Robert Frost, “The Mending Wall”
Walt Whitman, selection from “Specimen Days”
Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Lovers of the Poor”

Visit the link below to register for sessions

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Jeffrey L. Miller received his Ph.D. in political theory from the University of Virginia in 1996.
He is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at
the State University of New York at New Paltz. Prior to New Paltz, Miller taught at New York
University, Florida Institute of Technology, and the University of Memphis. Professor Miller
teaches courses in political theory. His area of research is 5th and 4th centuries BCE Athens. His
new book, Democracy in Crisis: Lessons from the Ancient World, will be available this January.