Carmen Sirianni, a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Brandeis University, is also Faculty Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where he has occasionally served on the review team for the Innovations in American Government Award, commonly known as the "Emmy in American government." He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and served on the advisory board of the Journal of the American Planning Association. He has also held research appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard. As an engaged scholar and public sociologist, Carmen drafted (with Harry Boyte) the civic engagement framing document within the Obama '08 urban policy committee and then coordinated its collaborative governance workgroup. He consulted on the Open Government National Action Plan. In July 2013, he coordinated the workshop at the White House (with Tina Nabatchi, Maxwell School, Syracuse University) on scaling local innovations in open governance. Carmen was the research director of Reinventing Citizenship, a collaboration of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Clinton, the Ford Foundation Governance program, and several academic centers and foundations. He also served as senior advisor to the National Commission on Civic Renewal, as well as in various advisory roles at the U.S. EPA's Community Action for a Renewed Environment Program, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, National Civic League's All-America City Awards, PBS Democracy Project, City Year, and many other civic organizations and national initiatives.
Carmen also co-directed (with Lewis Friedland) the Pew Charitable Trusts policy and practitioner conferences on youth civic engagement. With support from the Surdna Foundation, he developed (with Lewis Friedland and Melissa Bass, as well as leaders of major civic organizations) the first web platform for civic innovations across a broad range of fields and organizations in the U.S. (Civic Practices Network), which was the most widely utilized website on civic renewal for its ten-year history (1995-2005).
In 2011, Carmen's presentation on youth innovation in Hampton, Virginia (a finalist for the Reinhard Mohn Prize) was featured in a conference hosted by Germany's largest foundation, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in Berlin with leaders from the three major parties in the Bundestag, as well as various heads of German federal agencies and state governments. The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, in collaboration with the history department at Fudan University in Shanghai, sponsored his talk on universities and democratization as part of an international symposium, though the Chinese Security Police intervened in the proceedings to challenge his presentation, to which he offered a spirited public response.
Carmen has periodically taught the junior tutorial on Civic Engagement and Community Empowerment, as well as supervised numerous senior theses, for the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies honors concentration at Harvard, where he was awarded the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for Excellence in the Work of Undergraduates and the Art of Teaching.
He has published earlier books and articles on European labor movements and revolutions, workplace participation, women's organizations, working time innovation, and political and social theory. He co-edited the 45-volume series, Labor and Social Change, for Temple University Press.