Submitted Proposals (2020-2021)

Click on number to view details
Proposal # Date Panel Title Paper Title
Proposal # 76 2021-02-24 Camus' La Peste in the time of coronavirus
Proposal # 75 2021-02-23 Honey in the Coffin: The Disaster that Inseminated the Talmud
Proposal # 72 2021-02-22 Core texts in Europe
Proposal # 70 2021-02-22 Core Texts in Europe
Proposal # 71 2021-02-21 Theaetetus and the History of Rhetoric: An Epistemic Counterstatement
Proposal # 57 2021-02-20 The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd: Rediscovering Solace, Wonder, and Joy in the Natural World
Proposal # 68 2021-02-19 Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Panning Session
Proposal # 67 2021-02-19 Plato's Comforts and Consolations Platonic Dialogue and the Joys of Synthesis
Proposal # 66 2021-02-18 Plato’s Comforts and Consolations The Platonic Soul of Belles Lettres
Proposal # 65 2021-02-18 Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato A Kinder, Gentler Socrates: Socrates in and through the Looking Glass of Plato’s Theaetetus
Proposal # 64 2021-02-18 “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” The Purification of Social Practice in Plato’s “Sophist”
Proposal # 62 2021-02-18 Virtue in Online Spaces: A Platonic Exploration of Culpability and Chaos
Proposal # 61 2021-02-18 Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato
Proposal # 60 2021-02-18 Plato's Comforts and Consolations Math, Metaphor, and Numerical Satisfaction in Theaetetus
Proposal # 58 2021-02-17 At the Foot of the Mount: A Meditation on Dante's <Purgatorio> as a Pandemic Vade mecum
Proposal # 56 2021-02-12 Great Books at War. Apropos Robert M. Hutchins
Proposal # 55 2021-02-11 An Introduction to Alexander Hamilton’s Political Epistemology in The Federalist
Proposal # 54 2021-02-10 Using Thomas Merton to Reframe Our Pandemic Isolation
Proposal # 53 2021-02-10 Disasters,Literature and the Value of Life: Percy's Lost in the Cosmos
Proposal # 52 2021-02-10 The Plague as Ethical Crisis in The Iliad
Proposal # 51 2021-02-09 Liberal Education and Leadership
Proposal # 50 2021-02-08 Aquinas vs.the Skeptic
Proposal # 48 2021-02-07 A Plague Book for Plague Time
Proposal # 47 2021-02-06 Virtue, Tyranny, and Political Rule in David Milch's Deadwood
Proposal # 46 2021-02-06 “You are Dearer to me if you Receive my Advice”: Cicero’s as Teacher
Proposal # 45 2021-02-03 Does Adam Smith provide a moral ground for being a front-line hero?
Proposal # 44 2021-01-29 Scott Lee's book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts
Proposal # 43 2021-01-28 Learning in Wartime or During COVID-19: Is Anything Different?
Proposal # 42 2021-01-26 Astrology in King Lear and Confessions
Proposal # 40 2021-01-26 Plague-ing a Pandemic
Proposal # 39 2021-01-26 “Black Matters” in the Humanities Canon: Toni Morrison and a Trauma-Informed Pedagogy
Proposal # 38 2021-01-26 The Misinformed Dying: Reading A Prayer for the Dying during Coronavirus
Proposal # 37 2021-01-25 Adam Smith and the Antisocial Sentiments of Social Media
Proposal # 36 2021-01-25 "As One Who Had The Plague Myself" Thucydides' Plague and Ours
Proposal # 8 2021-01-14 When Sickness is not Sickness: How the
 

Proposal Number: 76
Date: 2021-02-24
Paper Title: Camus' La Peste in the time of coronavirus
Core Text:
The Plague by Albert Camus
Abstract:
My paper will explore the political and educational implications of Albert Camus’ La Peste/The Plague. The novel is a detailed examination of the social, cultural and psychological losses, fears and violences experienced by a people suffering life under a contagion. But written in the wake of occupied France, The Plague is also a metaphor for Fascism and for the collusion, passivity and resignation which embraces death in the institutionalisation of murder. The story explores the slippages in meaning and moral action that can occur in a complacent and disenchanted world and asks, in effect, what sort of resistance is possible for fighting the violent and diseased death of an inexorable and endemic evil.


Proposal Number: 75
Date: 2021-02-23
Paper Title: Honey in the Coffin: The Disaster that Inseminated the Talmud
Core Text:
Tractate Gettin from the Talmud
Abstract:
The Talmud or Oral Torah is the single greatest work of Exilic Jewish literature. It had its beginning when a “dead” rabbi was smuggled out of besieged Jerusalem and failed to answer a Roman emperor’s riddle. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai’s vision, bravery, and quick wit initiated the writing of the Talmud and kept Judaism alive in the midst of disaster. The riddle that puzzled him is still at the heart of our own uncertain future.


Proposal Number: 72
Date: 2021-02-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core texts in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 70
Date: 2021-02-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core Texts in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
We will discuss the next European core text conference. We will also discuss how we can expand the network in Europe, and upcoming publications and activities.


Proposal Number: 71
Date: 2021-02-21
Paper Title: Theaetetus and the History of Rhetoric: An Epistemic Counterstatement
Core Text:
Plato's Theaetetus
Abstract:
In Theaetetus, Socrates, Theodorus, and Theaetetus attempt to define knowledge, often in terms of and in reference to figures, such as Protagoras, familiar to the study of rhetoric, yet even though the study of rhetoric takes a decidedly epistemic turn in the 1960s – most notably with Robert L. Scott’s “On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic” – Theaetetus generally has not been adopted as a core text in studies in rhetoric. Histories of rhetoric generally limit Plato’s presence to two dialogues: Gorgias and Phaedrus. In Gorgias, Plato presents his notion of false rhetoric through Socrates’s dialogue with the famous sophist Gorgias and some of Gorgias’s students while Phaedrus presents Plato’s notion of true rhetoric through Socrates’s and Phaedrus’s inquiries into the nature of love, the soul, memory, and writing and the relationships among them. My presentation argues that while Theaetetus stops short of asserting an epistemic rhetoric of the kind frequently associated with sophistic and in some cases Aristotelian thinking, it nonetheless inquires into rhetoric’s relationships to knowledge, judgment, and being, and thus offers an important counterstatement to sophistic and Aristotelian epistemic rhetorics. Submitted as part of the “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” panel.


Proposal Number: 57
Date: 2021-02-20
Paper Title: The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd: Rediscovering Solace, Wonder, and Joy in the Natural World
Core Text:
The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd
Abstract:
Written during the long hard years of World War II, The Living Mountain takes the reader into the heart of Scotland's Cairngorms -- subarctic highlands, mountains some four million years old, having been conceived in the Devonian Period. Author Nan Shepherd explores themes such as air and light, the senses, plants, and being to slowly encourage us to recover our fractured and endangered relationship with the natural world, in which we can find solace. In The Living Mountain, Shepherd gives us a classic that ranks with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Emerson's Nature. Having been rediscovered, The Living Mountain should be widely read .


Proposal Number: 68
Date: 2021-02-19
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Panning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Planning session for a core texts and liberal education conference in Latin America in 2022 or 2023. Session will be conducted primarily in Spanish.


Proposal Number: 67
Date: 2021-02-19
Paper Title: Platonic Dialogue and the Joys of Synthesis
Core Text:
Plato's Phaedrus
Abstract:
Despite perennial calls for synthesis, the field of writing studies is driven by (if not reliant upon) a bifurcation of rhetoric and poetics. Nevertheless, many rhetorical texts provide ample evidence that rhetorical mastery requires the resistance of this division. My presentation starts with Phaedrus as a model for teaching the dialogue as a form which enables students to learn stasis theory and argumentation. By creating their own characters who walk through the argumentative stages of conjecture, definition, quality, and policy, students may learn how classical texts were written and learn to think of themselves as more than passive agents of classical work. The creation of dialogues more fully synthesizes creative and analytical thinking and also invites us to put aside preconceptions in argumentation.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Plato's Comforts and Consolations
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Plato’s Comforts and Consolations” explores the orientation of joy and comfort in four domains: the interpersonal, the symbolic, the pedagogical, and the ethical.


Proposal Number: 66
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: The Platonic Soul of Belles Lettres
Core Text:
Theaetetus, Theory of Moral Sentiments, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres
Abstract:
This paper will compare Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments and the belles lettres tradition of rhetorical teaching with the Plato’s epistemology inquiries in the Theaetetus, finding in both a surprisingly consonant idea of a philosophical education. In the Theaetetus, Plato argues against the kind of practical education that “prevents...free, straight growth,” in favor of a philosophical education that develops the soul’s capacity for seeking knowledge and wisdom. Plato begins his argument inquiring into sensory perception as an adequate ground of knowledge, which is also the epistemic ground of the eighteenth-century tradition of moral sentiments most fully developed in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Like Plato, Smith understands pedagogy as a tool for the moral development of students, both as individuals and as participants in the economy of judgment and sentiment (Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres).

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Plato’s Comforts and Consolations
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Plato’s Comforts and Consolations” explores the orientation of joy and comfort in four domains: the interpersonal, the symbolic, the pedagogical, and the ethical.


Proposal Number: 65
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: A Kinder, Gentler Socrates: Socrates in and through the Looking Glass of Plato’s Theaetetus
Core Text:
Plato’s Theaetetus
Abstract:
Plato’s Socrates may be the best known and most highly esteemed version of the barefoot sage, but as self-appointed “gadfly” of Athenian society (self-described as such in Plato’s “Apology”—399 B.C.E.), Socrates has a veritable swarm of identities: the historical, sometimes malodorous figure who actually lived (469-399 B.C.E.); the Aristophanean Socrates (Aristophanes lived c. 450 to c. 388 B.C.E., featuring Socrates in “The Clouds”— 423 B.C.E. — and other plays); the Xenophonic Socrates (the soldier/historian Xenophon lived 430-354 B.C.E.); the ‘matured’ Socrates (cf. Leo Strauss’ Socrates and Aristophanes, 1966, rev. 1980) of the Persian Muhammad B. Zakariyya al-Rāzi (c. 865-925 C.E.); plus the hundreds of other Socrates created by the remarks of Nietzsche and other philosophers and readers. So puzzlingly disparate are these versions of Socrates that the whole matter of distinguishing them and, more importantly, figuring out how an historical/literary ‘character’ even exists at all in our collective consciousness, has its own name: “the Socratic Problem” (cf. Strauss and others). Plato’s c. 369 B.C.E dialogue Theaetetus, however, offers us a unique perspective on the Socratic Problem because it involves the often-truculent Socrates’ surprisingly warm interaction with a gifted 16-year-old youth, Theaetetus, who is both as physically unattractive and as soulfully brilliant as Socrates himself. This presentation examines the way Socrates coddles, consoles and chastens his young interlocutor (destined to be a famous mathematician), whom Socrates clearly sees as both a mirror image of himself and as an individual seeking his own knowledge on the other side of the glass. [Please place this paper on Panel entitled "Plato’s Comforts and Consolations." Below is a DIFFERENT Plato panel I am submitting on behalf of my larger group.]

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” will explore the conceptualization of crisis in Plato’s dialogues and the application of those conceptualizations to develop stances from which modern crises could be addressed. Core Texts: Sophist, Theaetetus, Republic.


Proposal Number: 64
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: The Purification of Social Practice in Plato’s “Sophist”
Core Text:
Plato's "Sophist"
Abstract:
In Plato's "Sophist," the Eleatic stranger proposes that the purification of a mind may require the refutation of that mind’s ideas. However, it is especially difficult to demonstrate weakness in social thought – what Richard Rorty terms the problems of relativism and skepticism. American political life, for example, is occupied with de-radicalization/purification of the terrorist mind, as a January 19th Tweet by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might demonstrate. Rhetoricians dealing with this crisis may want to analyze classical examples of purification in practice, and “Sophist” offers a way forward that is as consolatory as it is thorough. [Submitted as part of the “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” panel.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato”
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 62
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: Virtue in Online Spaces: A Platonic Exploration of Culpability and Chaos
Core Text:
The Republic
Abstract:
This past year, social media giants have been blamed for sowing chaos, crises, and conspiracies. If individual users are responsible for creating and interpreting content, can we blame newsfeeds and algorithms? This paper explores how online political rhetoric works against the cultivation of virtue by exemplifying a number of the ills that corrupt a soul as spelled out in The Republic: extreme classism, indulgence, excessive pleasure, and a tyrannic nature that voids any chance for happiness and true clarity. In The Republic, Plato argues that virtue and moral development should be a primary pursuit, acknowledging that the human soul naturally bends towards injustice. However, if we can acknowledge the way we harm ourselves, there is a chance for redemption. Submitted as part of the “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” panel.


Proposal Number: 61
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” will explore the conceptualization of crisis in Plato’s dialogues and the application of those conceptualizations to develop stances from which modern crises could be addressed. Core Texts: Sophist, Theaetetus, Republic.


Proposal Number: 60
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: Math, Metaphor, and Numerical Satisfaction in Theaetetus
Core Text:
Theaetetus
Abstract:
Plato’s Theaetetus is often and rightly summarized as an examination of the following propositions: knowledge is perception; knowledge is true judgment; knowledge is true judgment with an account. Examinations of these propositions, however, rarely take into account Plato’s use of metaphor not only to charm but also to establish the contours and conceptual ground for his dialogue’s propositional work. This presentation will examine how the metaphors of the wax block of memory (191c-196c) and the pigeon coop of the soul (197c) are metaphorical responses to Heraclitus' notion of flux (itself expressed as a metaphor: a stream into which one might not step twice). Then, the interaction of these key metaphors will be shown to reveal a conceptual and metaphoric field from which the being of numbers and our satisfaction with them might emerge. Submitted as part of the "Plato's Comforts and Consolations" panel.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Plato's Comforts and Consolations
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Plato’s Comforts and Consolations” explores the orientation of joy and comfort in four domains: the interpersonal, the symbolic, the pedagogical, and the ethical. Core Texts: Theaetetus, Phaedrus, Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.


Proposal Number: 58
Date: 2021-02-17
Paper Title: At the Foot of the Mount: A Meditation on Dante's <Purgatorio> as a Pandemic Vade mecum
Core Text:
Divine Comedy
Abstract:
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only ruptured social norms but has also laid bare the inadequacy of a medicalized/ scientistic understanding of the human condition. The pandemic demands/ed that we all pause and reflect on gaining a more authentic measure of ourselves and on discovering more authentic sources of meaning and purpose in our daily lives. This paper will address how the pandemic compelled a reinvention of teaching Dante's <Divine Comedy> (which I do every semester in our Great Books seminars) and how, as part of that reinvention, the <Purgatorio> cantica especially became a contemplative space of personal accountability and moral inventory.


Proposal Number: 56
Date: 2021-02-12
Paper Title: Great Books at War. Apropos Robert M. Hutchins
Core Text:

Abstract:
The birth of some of the major Great Books programs in the US occurred during the most troubled times the country had to go through during the 20th century. While John Erskine’s General Honors Course at Columbia College could be partly taken as a response to the context of the American entry in World War I, for Robert M. Hutchins, a course of studies based on Great Books at Chicago made total sense not only in the context of the Great Depression, but even more at the eve of the US involvement in World War II. This paper means to examine the view Hutchins had during World War II about the role that a liberal education had to play for a nation that was willing to go into war in defense of an ideal such as democracy.


Proposal Number: 55
Date: 2021-02-11
Paper Title: An Introduction to Alexander Hamilton’s Political Epistemology in The Federalist
Core Text:
Publius, The Federalist
Abstract:
Scattered throughout Alexander Hamilton’s contributions as Publius are brief statements regarding the nature, limits, and origins of political knowledge. These statements are brief and easily overlooked; a reader may be led to assume that Hamilton eschews abstract reasoning and looks to historical precedent and concrete facts as the only secure sources of political knowledge. While it is true that he recognizes and even emphasizes the dangers over-abstraction poses to good politics, he does not reject all abstract knowledge. According to Hamilton, man’s capacity for self-government begins with and rests upon the ability to recognize pre-political truths and engage in non-empirical, axiomatic reasoning.


Proposal Number: 54
Date: 2021-02-10
Paper Title: Using Thomas Merton to Reframe Our Pandemic Isolation
Core Text:
Thomas Merton (selected essays)
Abstract:
When students were sent home on Friday, March 13, 2020 to finish out the semester online, they became keenly receptive to Thomas Merton's proposal to engage intentionally in the practice of solitude. Merton's essays, including "Rain and the Rhinoceros," "Learning to Live," "Fire-Watch, July 4, 1952," and "The Inner Experience," invited undergraduates experiencing personal loss, fear, and isolation to practice attentive focus on the current moment, allowing judgments of "good" and "bad" to be set aside and instead permitting the world to simply exist. Students kept "Hermitage Journals" to document their practice of meditation and reflect on how it had an impact on their academic and personal growth. This paper will detail what Merton has to offer to undergraduate students perennially, but particularly during a pandemic health crisis.


Proposal Number: 53
Date: 2021-02-10
Paper Title: Disasters,Literature and the Value of Life: Percy's Lost in the Cosmos
Core Text:
Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos
Abstract:
Our current pandemic predicament is a result of an unanticipated genetic mutation. In Walker Percy’s “self-help book”, Lost in the Cosmos, Percy often uses the human reaction to unanticipated natural disasters as a way of thinking about the value of life as something irreducible to our artful constructions of our lives.  He also considers how literature in particular captures this irreducibility. In this paper I will discuss how Percy’s discussion indicates that we become aware that life is good precisely because life isn't always as we artfully wish it to be--and nature’s unpredictability is around to remind us of this.


Proposal Number: 52
Date: 2021-02-10
Paper Title: The Plague as Ethical Crisis in The Iliad
Core Text:
The Iliad
Abstract:
Though it seems to play only a minor role in the overall narrative of The Iliad, the plague constitutes the determining crisis that triggers the main conflict of the epic--Achilles's anger against Agamemnon.  This paper argues that the plague functions in a more important way than just as a starting engine for the plot, in order to offer an ethical framework of interpretation for the rest of the epic. The plague presents itself as a disaster, and what ensues as a consequence of the characters' choices is an ethical disaster as well.  This paper reads the conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles in terms of an ethical dilemma, and the way the protagonists' response to crisis--first that of the plague, and later that of the warrior conflict--shapes individual fates and the fate of the war itself. 


Proposal Number: 51
Date: 2021-02-09
Paper Title: Liberal Education and Leadership
Core Text:
Tocqueville, Clausewitz, Thucydides
Abstract:
Tocqueville's critique of democratic history, Clausewitz's discussion of critical analysis of strategic decisions, and Thucydides' account of the Sicilian Expedition offer useful ways to enable students in core programs to think about the challenges of leadership in democracies especially. By learning to put themselves in the shoes of past leaders and evaluate the options available to them, students learn to think critically about addressing the constraints and opportunities real leaders in the real world. In this way, liberal education, which might seem unrealistic to many because it is within an ivory tower might be the most realistic kind of education required for producing thoughtful and effective leaders in our own age.


Proposal Number: 50
Date: 2021-02-08
Paper Title: Aquinas vs.the Skeptic
Core Text:
Aquinas, Summa Theologiae; Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism
Abstract:
In his Summa Theologiae, Saint Thomas Aquinas presents several different arguments against skepticism. Two of these arguments involve the claim that the skeptic falls into a self-contradiction. In contrast, the most famous of all ancient skeptics, Sextus Empiricus, argues that the skeptic need not fall into a self-contradiction. In this paper, I argue that Aquinas is right.


Proposal Number: 48
Date: 2021-02-07
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: A Plague Book for Plague Time
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
We will present appreciations of Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed, with it's description of the ravaging plague, mob panic, and ruling negligence, with remarkable transformations of good to evil and evil to good, of inveterate human weakness, yet rare shining virtue, whose discerning representation convicts the wicked and comforts the suffering, when rewritten in Tuscan united all Italy, still unites all Italians, and belongs in all core curricula.


Proposal Number: 47
Date: 2021-02-06
Paper Title: Virtue, Tyranny, and Political Rule in David Milch's Deadwood
Core Text:
Deadwood
Abstract:
It is for good reason that David Milch’s Deadwood has been described as the best television show ever made, for it provides a careful and complex account of a mining town’s attempt to form a political community, and the various types of virtues, vices, and claims to rule that compete with one another in the process. Providing examples of democratic, aristocratic, oligarchic, kingly, and tyrannical rule, the series explores why the virtues and vices that belong to these forms of rule are not able to provide the basis for a well-ordered political community. In so doing, Milch provides a subtle yet robust account of the relationship of politics to virtue and vice that in turn illuminates the deep challenge posed to Aristotelian political science by modernity’s emphasis on commerce. In sum, this paper means to examine Deadwood as a work of art worthy of being taught alongside the more traditional core texts.


Proposal Number: 46
Date: 2021-02-06
Paper Title: “You are Dearer to me if you Receive my Advice”: Cicero’s as Teacher
Core Text:
Cicero's On Obligations
Abstract:
Love can be measured, but only in terms of time – especially time spent teaching. So it was with Marcus Tullius Cicero’s famous letter to his son, which we know as On Obligations. Here, the great statesman-philosopher of Rome shows us what it means to teach in a spirit of charity; it is not a philosophic treatise aimed at cosmic speculation or political reform, but a transmission of the greatest gift that the old can offer the young: their wisdom about the right way to live. How might this text model for us what it really means to teach, ensure the reception of our students, and see what is truly valuable in the content – distinguishing between what is truly good and truly useful? This essay will explore these questions, and develop a theory of the role of charity in education and what it means to invest in our students.


Proposal Number: 45
Date: 2021-02-03
Paper Title: Does Adam Smith provide a moral ground for being a front-line hero?
Core Text:
Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments
Abstract:
Does virtue require that one sacrifice one’s own interest to the good of others, according to Adam Smith? Not the virtue of justice, according to his initial presentation, in which it requires only abstention from the demerit of doing unprovoked harm to others, nor even according to a later revision, based on a strained revision of the meaning of the impartial spectator as a standard of propriety. Generosity seems a more plausible candidate, but does Smith adequately ground the surplus of its requirements over those of justice?


Proposal Number: 44
Date: 2021-01-29
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Scott Lee's book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Scott Lee's new book "Invention: the Art of Liberal Arts" will be the theme of this panel. The book presents a bold and refreshing defense of liberal and general studies. The 10 chapters of the book range from a history of the liberal arts to cutting edge contemporary programs. In addition to presenting his defense of the liberal arts, the author presents several demonstrations including an analysis of Botticelli's Adoration (1475. Emphasis on rhetoric and performance is one of the hallmarks of Scott Lee's work in general and of this book in particular. Scott Lee is the recently retired Executive Director of ACTC and has been crucially involved in the inception and development of this organization.


Proposal Number: 43
Date: 2021-01-28
Paper Title: Learning in Wartime or During COVID-19: Is Anything Different?
Core Text:
C.S. Lewis' sermon "Learning in Wartime"
Abstract:
Does C.S. Lewis' 1939 sermon "Learning in Wartime" have anything helpful to offer people living some eighty years later through the COVID-19 pandemic? This paper considers that question.


Proposal Number: 42
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: Astrology in King Lear and Confessions
Core Text:
Shakespeare, King Lear; Augustine, Confessions
Abstract:
It is possible, perhaps likely, that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague of 1606; it is certain, and perhaps not coincidental, that I wrote a book about the play, relating it to Augustine's Confessions, during the COVID pandemic (2020). Something in both texts resonated with the isolation and despair I felt during lockdown (and at social unrest and political upheaval), and offered some comfort at such feelings. As a way to focus such inchoate connections, I narrow the comparison in this conference paper to the topic of astrology, which both texts depict as a ridiculous construct that belittles human nature and cheapens human experience, as the texts further struggle to construct a fuller, deeper idea of human nature based on freedom, responsibility, and love.


Proposal Number: 40
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: Plague-ing a Pandemic
Core Text:
The Plague, The Stranger, Things Fall Apart
Abstract:
This paper examines the themes of existential engagement in calamities, issues of alienation and community, in the context of teaching The Plague after years of a program's use of The Stranger. Other texts considered will be Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Kolbert's Pandemics and the Shape of Human History.


Proposal Number: 39
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: “Black Matters” in the Humanities Canon: Toni Morrison and a Trauma-Informed Pedagogy
Core Text:
Toni Morrison, "Black Matters"
Abstract:
A trauma informed pedagogy encourages students to recognize their capacity for agency. This paper argues that autobiographical reflections can provide exemplars for consideration and opportunities for application. In “Black Matters” (1990, 1992), Toni Morrison supplies a resistant reading of the canon of American literature. By naming, questioning, and overturning operative assumptions in her own thinking and in key texts, Morrison models a form of empowerment that complements the use of a trauma informed pedagogy.


Proposal Number: 38
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: The Misinformed Dying: Reading A Prayer for the Dying during Coronavirus
Core Text:
A Prayer for the Dying
Abstract:
An unprecedented pandemic results in a slew of misinformation. A Prayer for the Dying can serve as a harbinger for our own coronavirus pandemic in three ways: disease as the great equalizer, hubris as immunity, and delusion as misinformation of the mind. Unfortunately, while we remain optimistic in this pandemic, there is no optimism in the ending of A Prayer for the Dying. Although the book ends with the town being burned and a sense of renewal, the plague of misinformation is only in its early stages.


Proposal Number: 37
Date: 2021-01-25
Paper Title: Adam Smith and the Antisocial Sentiments of Social Media
Core Text:
Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Abstract:
Over the past year, many have sought to understand the paradoxically antisocial effects of social media, effects such as adolescent depression, attention deficiency, and political radicalization. Rather than prescribing how to solve this crisis, this presentation will describe it according to the core text of Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments. This book seeks a holistic description of human happiness wherein individual self-interest is naturally balanced by a reliance upon social approval, but social media disrupts the harmony between these two obligations. Specifically, this talk will discuss how social media undermines the social nature of human sentiments as Smith describes them by enabling people to overvalue fashion rather than virtue, to blame intention rather than action, and to erode both the justice necessary for society and the beneficent friendship necessary for human happiness.


Proposal Number: 36
Date: 2021-01-25
Paper Title: "As One Who Had The Plague Myself" Thucydides' Plague and Ours
Core Text:
The War Between the Athenians and Peloponnesians
Abstract:
In this paper, I seek to what lessons can be learned from my experience as a Latin & Classics educator who has survived COVID 19 and grappled with the impact on the meaning and aims education at the school where I teach and in society more broadly. At the same time, I have studied the bonechilling history of the plague at Athens in Thucydides' War Between the Athenians and Peloponnesians in multiple seminars while a student at the online Graduate Institute of the Great Books Program at St. Johns College, Santa Fe, which has provoked me to reflect both on the immediate teachings of Thucydides on a society's reaction to an invisible enemy as well as the therapeutic effects of a liberal education in times of calamity and uncertainty.


Proposal Number: 8
Date: 2021-01-14
Paper Title: When Sickness is not Sickness: How the
Core Text:
Vimalakirti Sutra
Abstract:
Going back to its earliest Indian forms, the Buddhist tradition (as stated in the first Noble Truth of the Buddha) attests that "Life is suffering." But through a dazzling use of philosophy and dialogic narrative, the later Mahayana text "The Vimalakirti Sutra" posits a level of non-duality in which pain, suffering, and sickness are seen as the flip-sides and necessary preconditions of joy, contentment, and health. The title character Vimalakirti uses his powers of enlightened awakening to magically feign illness and draw to his sick-bed Buddhist individuals he can then instruct in the teaching of non-duality. The text serves as a meditation on the critical Mahayana Buddhist concept of non-duality and, in its teaching on the possibility of a greater meaning and context to sickness, a foundation for re-conceptualizing times of illness, both for individuals and the larger society.