Heal Up and Hair Over: A Wyoming Civility Reader sprung out of a 2011 initiative called Civility Matters!, a series of programs considering the meaning of civility. Through a variety of formats, Civility Matters! creatively engaged public and private resources to build civic participation, foster cultural diversity, and promote critical thinking. Civility Matters! was developed in response to the American Civility Tour of Jim Leach, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), along with the NEH’s new Bridging Cultures initiative, which focuses on the role of civility in a democracy and understanding Muslim contributions to world cultures
“Heal up and hair over” is a western cattle ranching idiom generally referring to the healing process for a minor injury suffered by an individual or an animal — something perhaps painful, but not very serious. In branding cattle, the healed brand does not grow hair, but with the winter on the way the coat “hairs over”. The phrase is often used metaphorically to indicate the practical need to “get over” offenses, as a way of getting along with others on whom you depend in an isolated and inhospitable landscape.
Perhaps the first paragraph of the first article entitled “Avoiding ‘Pestilential Influence of Party Animosities’: Civility and Republican Liberty” by Teena Gabrielson perfectly sums up it’s entirety:
“Deeply tied to the concept of citizenship, the idea of civility has long been understood to refer to the behaviors, dispositions, and virtues that make social life possible. With this small book, we engage matters of civility and affirm that civility still matters. To spur thought and discussion, we have brought together brief readings that illustrate how civility has been understood in different time periods, its particular relevance for democratic societies, and the difficulties that incivility produces — all with an eye toward the unique examples that Wyoming provides.”
The reader has been used for office ethics trainings, book discussion groups, classroom discussions and as an instigator for conversations among people with varied political opinions. We encourage you to use and disseminate the reader. Feel free to share your thoughts and how you have engaged your friends and neighbors in discussion using the reader. We would also welcome ideas on a curriculum guide to use in conjunction with high school, college or adult audiences. Please contact the council at 721-9243 or email@example.com if you would be interested in this project.
The Wyoming Humanities Council launched this significant initiative in partnership with the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, with funding from the Wyoming State Legislature. The Wyoming State Legislature continues to graciously provide funding for this important and relevant initiative.
For a preview copy in Pdf format, click here: Heal up and Hair Over Civility Reader