Submitted Proposals (2018-2019)

Click on number to view details
Proposal # Date Panel Title Paper Title
Proposal # 361 2019-04-23
Proposal # 359 2019-03-31 A Dancing Descent: Enthroning the Furies in Aeschylus' Eumenides
Proposal # 358 2019-03-30 already submitted already submitted
Proposal # 357 2019-03-29 Montesquieu: Bourgeois Modern Civilized Man
Proposal # 356 2019-03-29
Proposal # 355 2019-03-29
Proposal # 354 2019-03-29 The Substance of Creation: Parallels in the Navajo Creation Story and the book of Genesis
Proposal # 353 2019-03-28
Proposal # 350 2019-03-28
Proposal # 349 2019-03-28
Proposal # 348 2019-03-27 Freedom of Inquiry and Toleration
Proposal # 347 2019-03-27 Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard as a Capstone Core Text
Proposal # 346 2019-03-26 “By the Love that moves the sun and other stars”: Depictions of caritas in the Undergraduate Seminar from Dante to Garcia Marquez
Proposal # 345 2019-03-25
Proposal # 344 2019-03-22
Proposal # 343 2019-03-22
Proposal # 342 2019-03-21 How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity Helen's Voice
Proposal # 341 2019-03-21
Proposal # 340 2019-03-20
Proposal # 339 2019-03-20
Proposal # 337 2019-03-20 Dante on the Origin of Politics
Proposal # 333 2019-03-14 Broadening the Canon from Within- Unleashing New Meanings through the Marriage of Text, Vision and Performance in Hildegard of Bingen's Scivias
Proposal # 331 2019-03-10 The Conflicted Western Tradition: Some Provocative Pairings of Texts about Liberty
Proposal # 329 2019-03-06 The Capacity for Moral Perception in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
Proposal # 328 2019-03-05 Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Proposal # 322 2019-02-25 Paper already submitted.
Proposal # 321 2019-02-19 Philosophy and the Transcendent Center: Pico della Mirandola’s Anthropocentric Cosmos
Proposal # 320 2019-02-18 Writing a Reader: Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov as a Model for Core Text Study
Proposal # 319 2019-02-18 Shimmy Panel
Proposal # 318 2019-02-15 Shimer Great Books School Panel Bringing the Contemporary Into the Canon
Proposal # 54 2019-02-15 Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair?
Proposal # 317 2019-02-14 Confucianism and Liberalism
Proposal # 316 2019-02-12 Jay Gatsby: Tragic Hero or Tragic Victim?
Proposal # 315 2019-02-11 Anecdote from Afar: On Non-Authoritative Pedagogies in the Teaching of Confucius
Proposal # 313 2019-02-06 Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Proposal # 255 2019-02-06
Proposal # 307 2019-02-03
Proposal # 201 2019-02-02 Apology accepted: Teaching Plato and Childish Gambino
Proposal # 306 2019-01-31 Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Proposal # 305 2019-01-31 Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Proposal # 304 2019-01-30 “Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse”
Proposal # 301 2019-01-28 Cordorcet, Sentimentality & Ecofeminism
Proposal # 299 2019-01-25 Proposal Number 249: The concept of time and the position of human beings in the world of life in On the Origin of Species and Silent Spring
Proposal # 172 2019-01-25 Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism.
Proposal # 297 2019-01-24 The Ancient Flame
Proposal # 296 2019-01-24 To Be With Hamlet and Jesus: VR and the fate of imagination
Proposal # 294 2019-01-22 On Whether Pride in Aristotle's "Ethics" is a Virtue of Democratic Citizenship
Proposal # 291 2019-01-22 Aristotle's "Ethics" and Whether Pride is a Virtue of Democratic Citizenship
Proposal # 287 2019-01-21 Technological Ambition and the Human Condition Hegel's Architectural "Bildung"
Proposal # 285 2019-01-21 Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism Logos in Conversation: Using Fiction and Theater as foils to discuss the hard evidence of Climate Change.
Proposal # 284 2019-01-19 The (Liberal Arts) Education of Ta-Nehisi Coates: A Pedagogical Approach to Between the World and Me as Core Text
Proposal # 282 2019-01-19 Viola the Outsider
Proposal # 281 2019-01-19 Teaching the Bhagavad Gita, Teaching the Question of Interpretation
Proposal # 280 2019-01-19 How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity. Elements of Identity; Storytelling, Recognition, and Return
Proposal # 279 2019-01-19 How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity Transgressing/Transgressive Identities in the Odyssey
Proposal # 278 2019-01-19 Tragedy's Curse and Gift Antony, Cleopatra, and the Unarming of Eros
Proposal # 277 2019-01-19 Tragedy's Curse and Gift Hamlet's Prophetic Suffering
Proposal # 276 2019-01-19 A Good Tale from a Bad Mouth? Conflict between narrator and narrative in the Canterbury Tales
Proposal # 275 2019-01-19 Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern Educating the Frenchman in Rousseau Judge of Jean-Jacques: Dialogues
Proposal # 274 2019-01-19 Reading E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” in the Age of Voyeurism
Proposal # 273 2019-01-19 Tragedy’s Curse and Gift The Birth of Tragedy through the Birth of Christianity in King Lear’s Britain
Proposal # 272 2019-01-19 “The story shall become reality”: Competing Artists in Isak Dinesen’s “The Immortal Story” and Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park
Proposal # 270 2019-01-19 Loss of the Self in Romeo and Juliet
Proposal # 269 2019-01-19 Notes on the Distaste for Allegory
Proposal # 258 2019-01-19 The Canon as a Living Document at the Shimer Great Books School Canons Within Canons: Contemporary Science Fiction and the Great Books
Proposal # 72 2019-01-19 Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic as Core Text: Modelling Reading and Writing for the First-Year Student’s Paideia
Proposal # 20 2019-01-19 Joseph Conrad’s Experiences in Africa and Southeast Asia: A Comparative Study Joseph Conrad’s Experiences in Africa and Southeast Asia: A Comparative Study
Proposal # 268 2019-01-18 Recovering the American Oratorical Tradition
Proposal # 267 2019-01-18 "The Canon as a Living Document at the Shimer Great Books School" Conversations and 'The Great Conversation': Pedagogical Questions for an Expansive Core Curriculum
Proposal # 266 2019-01-18 #TimesUp: Scheherazade, Courage, and the Fight to Stop the Abuse
Proposal # 265 2019-01-18 “On the Basis of Sex: How Madonna Filippa Faced Down Discrimination and Won the Day.”
Proposal # 263 2019-01-18 Abandon and Constraint: What Recognition has to do with Homecoming. for Panel How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity
Proposal # 262 2019-01-18 Using Chamoiseau’s Migrant Brothers as a Core in Critical Cultural Geography
Proposal # 261 2019-01-18 “The Joyous, Heartless, Ever-Juvenile Eternities”: Holiness and the Divine Stranger in The Bacchae
Proposal # 260 2019-01-18 Reading More's Utopia
Proposal # 257 2019-01-18 The Canon as a Living Document at the Shimer Great Books School
Proposal # 253 2019-01-18 Sadness is the New Pain
Proposal # 252 2019-01-18 Achille Mbembe: Epistemological Crossings, World-Thinking and Diasporic African Memory
Proposal # 251 2019-01-18 Antifragility and Plato's Socrates
Proposal # 250 2019-01-18 Love, Religion and other “Detestable” Things in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
Proposal # 249 2019-01-18 The concept of time and the position of human beings in the world of life in On the Origin of Species and Silent Spring
Proposal # 247 2019-01-18 Pleasure in Aristotle, Epicurus and Plato: A Phenomenological Analysis
Proposal # 245 2019-01-18 Dante on the Origin of Politics
Proposal # 244 2019-01-18 Do You Dare Teach Aristotle?
Proposal # 243 2019-01-17 Music as a Liberal Art
Proposal # 242 2019-01-17 Education for Leadership in Machiavelli's Prince
Proposal # 241 2019-01-17 Enlargement of MInd as the Integration of Knowledege: Meaningful Pursuit in Newman's Idea of a University
Proposal # 240 2019-01-17 Broadening the Canon from Within- Unleashing New Meanings through the Marriage of Text, Vision and Performance
Proposal # 239 2019-01-17 Feminine Virtue and Augustine's Pride in Book VI of Confessions
Proposal # 238 2019-01-17 St. Luke and Euripides: Creating new core texts from existing narrative frameworks
Proposal # 237 2019-01-17 Death and the Matron
Proposal # 234 2019-01-17 The Trivium, the Quadrivium, and Beyond On Burk's Grammar of Motives
Proposal # 233 2019-01-17 “Little things singer:” What Can Formalist Poetics Learn from Gertrude Stein?
Proposal # 232 2019-01-17 'I will show you my syllogisms if you show me yours': Anselm the teacher between grammar and God
Proposal # 231 2019-01-17 Aristotle, Achilles, and Anger in the Final Books of the Iliad
Proposal # 230 2019-01-17 Peace in War; The Bhagavad Gita as a Guide for Democracy
Proposal # 229 2019-01-17 Cymbeline and the Limits of Fabrication
Proposal # 225 2019-01-17 Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity At the Dentist's: Lyric Katabasis in Elizabeth Bishop's "In the Waiting Room"
Proposal # 214 2019-01-17
Proposal # 195 2019-01-17 Genesis as a Core Text: Studies in Honor of Robert Sacks Amazing Days
Proposal # 228 2019-01-16 Bob Dylan, George Orwell, and Richard Rorty on Truth and Freedom.,
Proposal # 227 2019-01-16 Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop as a "core-worthy" text
Proposal # 226 2019-01-16 The Spirit of Barbarian Law
Proposal # 224 2019-01-16 Ornithological Similes in The Odyssey
Proposal # 223 2019-01-16 Brutus’s Centrality in the Parade of Noble Romans: An Examination of Aeneid 6.776-859
Proposal # 197 2019-01-16 Shakespeare on Politics and Theology “The Dangers They Passed”: Doubt and the Foundations of Belief in Shakespeare’s *Othello*
Proposal # 220 2019-01-15 Plato's Trilogy: On Geometry and Philosophy
Proposal # 219 2019-01-15 Incorporating an Asian Tradition into A Core Texts Course: The Tao Te Ching, the Chuang Zu and the Ancient Way of No-Action (wu wei)
Proposal # 217 2019-01-15 Can There Be A Christian Prince?
Proposal # 216 2019-01-14 The Trivium, the Quadrivium, and Beyond Harmonics and Character Education
Proposal # 215 2019-01-14 Pride, Prejudice, and Prudence: Elizabeth's Inherited Language
Proposal # 213 2019-01-14 Dorothea’s Virtue in Middlemarch: Standards By Which It Is Judged
Proposal # 212 2019-01-14 Cicero on Rhythm
Proposal # 211 2019-01-12 Borges’ Menard’s Quixote: How Not to Read a Book
Proposal # 209 2019-01-11 Blue and Black or Gold and White? Goethe Has the Answer.
Proposal # 208 2019-01-11 Shocking uses of the familiar word "devoted" in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Proposal # 207 2019-01-11 Critiquing the Canon From Within: Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John
Proposal # 206 2019-01-11 The Trivium, the Quadrivium, and Beyond The Turn away from the Syllogism in Bacon and Descartes
Proposal # 205 2019-01-11 Reading in Place: Using Literary cartographies and the spatial imagination to read texts
Proposal # 204 2019-01-11 Katabasis I The Odyssey under the Odyssey (Katabasis I)
Proposal # 203 2019-01-10 Death and the Matron
Proposal # 202 2019-01-10 ‘The First Well-Dressed Philosopher in the History of Thought’: The Socratic Dandy in An Ideal Husband
Proposal # 198 2019-01-09 DRBU’s “Great Books” Style Asian Core Texts Programs The different language games of Buddhist Texts
Proposal # 190 2019-01-09 Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern The Rule of Wisdom in Locke's Second Treatise
Proposal # 188 2019-01-09 Preparing to Learn: Lessons from a Buddhist Pilgrim
Proposal # 168 2019-01-09 Shakespeare on Politics and Theology Friar Laurence and Political Theology in Romeo and Juliet
Proposal # 156 2019-01-09 Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern The Failed Aspirations of the Philosopher in Plato's Republic: A Reconsideration of the Cave Image
Proposal # 154 2019-01-09 Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern Follies and Crimes: On Nietzsche's use of Esotericism and Exotericism in Beyond Good and Evil
Proposal # 110 2019-01-09 Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern What Does It Mean for Science When Psychology Becomes Its Queen?
Proposal # 194 2019-01-08 The Effect of Master Narratives on Trauma-Creation: “Coriolanus” – a Case Study
Proposal # 193 2019-01-08 Art and Nature in Darwin
Proposal # 192 2019-01-08 Civil Leaders and Civil Virtue
Proposal # 191 2019-01-08 Perfect Genuineness: The Link Between Self-cultivation and Social Relationships
Proposal # 189 2019-01-07 Shared Inquiry on Purity - Applications of the Sixth Patriarch Sutra
Proposal # 187 2019-01-06 Teaching writing as self-reflective inquiry
Proposal # 186 2019-01-06 Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism
Proposal # 185 2019-01-05 On the Importance of Anne Elliot's Advice
Proposal # 184 2019-01-04 Montesquieu's Education for Citizenship
Proposal # 183 2019-01-04 Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair? Assaults on Domestic Peace in Much Ado About Nothing
Proposal # 182 2019-01-04 “Justice and Prudence in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War”
Proposal # 181 2019-01-04 Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Stakes of the European Tradition
Proposal # 80 2019-01-04 Justice and Virtue in the Ancient World Justice and Virtue in Xenophon's Education of Cyrus
Proposal # 141 2019-01-03 Chinese Tea and the Subjectivity of Experience
Proposal # 138 2019-01-03 Pirates and Golden Grasshoppers: Human Nature, Sociality, and Kinship in Thucydides
Proposal # 180 2019-01-02 Power and Violence, Then and Now: Hannah Arendt’s On Violence in the Twenty-first Century
Proposal # 179 2019-01-02 Towards 'the limits of the possible': The Philosophic Ambition of Bacon's Novum Organum
Proposal # 177 2019-01-01 Enlightened by Starlight -- Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius
Proposal # 176 2019-01-01 Genesis as a Core Text: Studies in Honor of Robert Sacks “‘Thus Esau Despised His Birthright’: Primogeniture and Natural Right in Genesis 25”
Proposal # 175 2019-01-01 Reading Confucius’ Analects with and against Epictetus’ Enchiridion
Proposal # 171 2019-01-01 Plato's Meno: Core Text in the Core Curriculum
Proposal # 169 2019-01-01 Jane Austen's Philosophy of Marriage
Proposal # 167 2019-01-01 Seamus Heaney: Reconciling Poetic and Political
Proposal # 166 2019-01-01 Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity Ivan Going Down: Katabasis in Dostoevsky's Brother Karamazov
Proposal # 164 2019-01-01 Logos and the Natural Foundations of Economics in Aristotle's Politics
Proposal # 163 2019-01-01 Second Nature Revisited: McDowell on Man and Mind
Proposal # 161 2019-01-01 Discipline and Fervor, the Monkey King’s Madcap Journey through Religion to Enlightenment
Proposal # 160 2019-01-01 Tocqueville's Critique of the Philosophes
Proposal # 159 2019-01-01 Taking Untold Journeys: Fan Fiction Brings the Classics to Life
Proposal # 148 2019-01-01 To Catch the Conscience: On Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Proposal # 132 2019-01-01 From Burke to Trump: From Classical to Current Conservatism
Proposal # 158 2018-12-31 Freedom of Inquiry and Toleration
Proposal # 155 2018-12-31 Race and Gender in Nineteenth-Century Naturalist Texts
Proposal # 153 2018-12-31 Breadthless Length: An Argument for Studying Euclid in the Humanities
Proposal # 152 2018-12-31 Ta-Nehisi Coates and the European Philosophical Tradition
Proposal # 151 2018-12-31 “"Journey to the West:" Teaching a 16th Century Chinese Classic in a Global Literature & Arts Course.”
Proposal # 149 2018-12-31 Shakespeare on Politics and Theology The Rule of Wisdom and the Rule of Law in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure
Proposal # 147 2018-12-31 Teaching Race and "Citizen"-ship in a Core Course
Proposal # 146 2018-12-31 Du Bois Beyond The Souls of Black Folk: “The Conservation of Races” (1897) and “The White Masters of the World” (1965) As Core Texts
Proposal # 145 2018-12-31 Reason in the Age of Informatics: A Newer Brave World
Proposal # 144 2018-12-31 “Inventive and Mobile” Identities: Teaching Herodotus’s The Histories in the Core Classroom
Proposal # 143 2018-12-31 Aristotle is the Aristotle of James Baldwin
Proposal # 142 2018-12-31 Justice as a Mean in Aristotle's Ethics
Proposal # 140 2018-12-31 Gilgamesh and Race
Proposal # 136 2018-12-31 Nietzsche and Shafarevich: Christianity and Nihilism
Proposal # 134 2018-12-31 A Humean Approach to Democracy in a Post-Truth Age
Proposal # 131 2018-12-31 Art and Politics in Solzhenitsyn's In the First Circle
Proposal # 130 2018-12-30 Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John as Canon and Critique
Proposal # 129 2018-12-30 Group Annihilation: The Roots of Genocide
Proposal # 128 2018-12-30 Evil and God's Existence: Aquinas's Hope-filled Response
Proposal # 127 2018-12-30 Aristotle, Buddha, and the Contemporary American College Student: Wisdom and Morality Across Time and Space
Proposal # 126 2018-12-30
Proposal # 124 2018-12-30 Looking for the logos of life: order and disorder
Proposal # 123 2018-12-30 Providence and Politics: Moses and Lincoln Face God During Civil War
Proposal # 122 2018-12-30 Was Machiavelli a Necromancer?
Proposal # 121 2018-12-30 Bringing Plato to the People: The Philosophy as a Way of Life Approach
Proposal # 42 2018-12-30 Panel: Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair? Much Ado About Something
Proposal # 120 2018-12-29 Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments: Wondering about the Past
Proposal # 119 2018-12-29 Seneca on Liberal Education
Proposal # 118 2018-12-29 Relationships in Modern Physics and Literature
Proposal # 117 2018-12-29 Katabasis I: Katabasis in Antiquity The Transcendent Hell of Sophistry
Proposal # 116 2018-12-29 A Black Woman Speaks... to White Feminists
Proposal # 115 2018-12-28 Reasoned Discourse and the Love of Beauty in Plato's Phaedrus
Proposal # 114 2018-12-28 Meditation, Metaphor— the discourses of the human relationship to the natural world in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Proposal # 113 2018-12-28 Hannah Arendt and the Vita Activa “Life, Natality, Thought”
Proposal # 111 2018-12-28 Creativity and the Core Curriculum Illumination: Medieval and Modern
Proposal # 109 2018-12-27 Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern
Proposal # 108 2018-12-27 Why Did Raskolnikov Do It? Adventures in Existential Roleplaying in the Core Books Classroom.
Proposal # 106 2018-12-27 Dante’s Paradiso and the Modern world
Proposal # 103 2018-12-27 “’Verweile doch, du bist so schön!’ The Ecstatic Gaze in Wharton’s Age of Innocence”
Proposal # 102 2018-12-27 Hannah Arendt and the Vita Activa Arendt on Forgiveness
Proposal # 93 2018-12-27 The Substance of Creation: Parallels in the Navajo Creation Story and the book of Genesis
Proposal # 96 2018-12-26 The Beauty Contest
Proposal # 95 2018-12-26 “By the Love that moves the sun and other stars”: Different Depictions of caritas in the Undergraduate Seminar from Dante to Garcia Marquez
Proposal # 92 2018-12-24 Teaching The Ring of the Dove in “Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy"
Proposal # 91 2018-12-24 The Problem and Promise of Dignity
Proposal # 90 2018-12-23 The Fresh Prince: Generational Perspectives on American Presidents
Proposal # 89 2018-12-22 Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy – The Uncertain Boundaries of Western Scientific Thought
Proposal # 88 2018-12-21 Hannah Arendt and the Vita Activa The Work of Art and Other Minds
Proposal # 87 2018-12-21 Democratic Deliberation for Aristotle to Publius and Beyond
Proposal # 86 2018-12-21 The Multicultural City: Did Aristotle Think It Was Desirable or Even Possible?
Proposal # 85 2018-12-21 The Philosopher's Disguise: A Reflection on the Purpose of Poetry in Plato's Republic.
Proposal # 81 2018-12-21 Monsters of Modernity & Modernism: Shelley's Frankenstein and Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog
Proposal # 79 2018-12-20 Civility and Civil Discourse: Two Ancients and a Modern
Proposal # 78 2018-12-20 The Use and Abuse of Aristotle's Theory of Slavery
Proposal # 76 2018-12-20 Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes on Deliberation
Proposal # 73 2018-12-19 The Idea of Absolute Space By Newton
Proposal # 71 2018-12-19 Assessing Postwar's End with Kant's Perpetual Peace
Proposal # 70 2018-12-18 From a Day to a Thousand Years: Distorted Pregnancy Durations in the Mahabharata
Proposal # 68 2018-12-18 Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair? Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida and the Debate between Ancients and Moderns
Proposal # 67 2018-12-18 Group Annihilation: The Roots of Genocide
Proposal # 66 2018-12-18 Friends without Benefits
Proposal # 65 2018-12-18 Plutarch’s “Life of Marcellus”: Art, Rashness, and the Problem of Technology
Proposal # 64 2018-12-18 Bacon’s Appeals to the Bible, Explicit and Latent
Proposal # 63 2018-12-18 “Justice and Prudence in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War”
Proposal # 62 2018-12-18 Justice and Virtue in Ancient Political Thought St. Augustine on the Doubtful Justice Requisite to the Greatness of Roman Virtue
Proposal # 61 2018-12-18 Benjamin Franklin’s Reading of the Virtue Tradition
Proposal # 60 2018-12-18 Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Part 1: Socrates' Moral Insights in the Euthyphro and Apology
Proposal # 59 2018-12-17 Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences I : Helping Students Find Meaning in a Brave New World
Proposal # 58 2018-12-17 Herodotus Does Study Abroad
Proposal # 57 2018-12-16 Who is a Hebrew
Proposal # 56 2018-12-15 Genesis as a Core Text: Studies in Honor of Robert Sacks Genesis 3.19 in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
Proposal # 53 2018-12-12 Justice and Ancient Virtue Aristotle's Virtues in the Rhetoric
Proposal # 52 2018-12-11 Civilization, Barbarism, and Rebarbarization
Proposal # 50 2018-12-11 John Locke and Religious Toleration
Proposal # 49 2018-12-11 Sickness and Healing: Student Reading Responses to The Plague, by Albert Camus
Proposal # 46 2018-12-07 Gained in Translation? Mitchell's Popularized World Scriptures
Proposal # 45 2018-12-06 Life Lessons from Core Texts: What I Teach and Why
Proposal # 44 2018-12-06 Finding Meaning in Suffering: Teaching Frank's Man's Search for Meaning
Proposal # 43 2018-12-05 Why Shakespeare has Achillles kill Hektor
Proposal # 41 2018-12-04 For Love and Country: Marriage as Critique in Shakespeare's English History Tetralogies
Proposal # 39 2018-11-26 Katabasis I: Katabasis in Antiquity Plato’s Alcibiades: Katabatic Anabasis or Anabatic Katabasis?
Proposal # 38 2018-11-25 Katabasis I: Katabasis in Antiquity Katabasis in Houston: The Rothko Chapel
Proposal # 37 2018-11-25 Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity Katabasis in Shakespeare's King Lear
Proposal # 36 2018-11-25 Timeless Heroes, Timeless Stories in OER...
Proposal # 35 2018-11-23 A Text, A Painting, and A Trial: Re-Imagining Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus in an English 1302 Composition Class”
Proposal # 33 2018-11-21 Real Housewives of Ithaca: Discussing the Gender Roles in The Odyssey in the Contemporary Classroom
Proposal # 32 2018-11-19 Teaching The Communist Manifesto to American Undergraduates
Proposal # 31 2018-11-15 Seeking Elusive Love
Proposal # 30 2018-11-14 Dante's Katabasis in Parallel Cantos
Proposal # 26 2018-11-10 Ancient Women Speak: Contemporary Rewritings of Classical Texts from the Women's Point of View
Proposal # 25 2018-11-06 Exchanging Stories: Teaching Moby Dick in China
Proposal # 23 2018-11-01 "Plato's Euthyphro and the Logic of Piety"
Proposal # 22 2018-11-01 The Qur’an, the Hijab, and Laïcité: Islamophobia and French Secularism
Proposal # 11 2018-10-24 Pedagogy Under Occupation: Machiavelli in Palestine
Proposal # 9 2018-10-24
 

Proposal Number: 361
Date: 2019-04-23
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 359
Date: 2019-03-31
Paper Title: A Dancing Descent: Enthroning the Furies in Aeschylus' Eumenides
Core Text:
Aeschylus, Eumenides
Abstract:
In the final play of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, Athena promises the Furies a new place beneath her new city. After the discussion involving honor, marriage, law, and justie, the Furies accept this place and sing a song of blessing on the new city. As they take their place enthroned beneath the city, they appear to dance with joy to celebrate the new arrangement, becoming Euminides. This paper analyzes their role and its lessons about the place of joy and fury in political foundations.


Proposal Number: 358
Date: 2019-03-30
Paper Title: already submitted
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: already submitted
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 357
Date: 2019-03-29
Paper Title: Montesquieu: Bourgeois Modern Civilized Man
Core Text:
Spirit of the Laws & other texts
Abstract:
Modern civilization was originally guided by a positive ideal; Montesquieu refined that ideal, providing it with poetic & quasi-historical depictions of bourgeois man's existence in relation & in opposition to barbarism, savagery, religious fanaticism, ancient virtue & ancient heroism. Civilized man is vain bourgeois man, who structures his own life by his attachments to security, comfort, health, and material well being, whose life is characterized by a quasi-rational understanding of existence, his relations to other human beings & to the species.


Proposal Number: 356
Date: 2019-03-29
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 355
Date: 2019-03-29
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 354
Date: 2019-03-29
Paper Title: The Substance of Creation: Parallels in the Navajo Creation Story and the book of Genesis
Core Text:
Genesis, Navajo Creation Story, Plato's Timaeus
Abstract:
This paper compares the creation story of the Navajo people with that of the Hebrews in Genesis. Sharing an extraordinary beauty, full of light, color, and images both commonplace and strange, both stories also present an elemental creation, emphasizing water, light, cloud, and seed, as well as fundamental ideas of place and of home. Philosophically, both stories assert that principles or forms of existence were prior to the actual existence of things, plants, or animals, and that, for instance, the male and female existed prior to man and woman. These physical and metaphysical parallels reveal a shared philosophical perspective, a common attitude toward the natural, a common value system, and perhaps a common humanity.


Proposal Number: 353
Date: 2019-03-28
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 350
Date: 2019-03-28
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 349
Date: 2019-03-28
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 348
Date: 2019-03-27
Paper Title: Freedom of Inquiry and Toleration
Core Text:

Abstract:
University statements about freedom of inquiry (e.g., the "Chicago statement") emphasize debate and competition between viewpoints. They tacitly appeal to a marketplace of ideas that would be guided, like the market, by an invisible hand independent of every actor. This analogy is inappropriate for the classroom, where ideas are not juxtaposed for trade and consumption, but jointly analyzed and evaluated dialectically. I mean to explore, instead, the analogy of the classroom to a society practicing toleration, in which each member cooperates with respect to intermediate ends, while reserving ultimate ends for private reflection.


Proposal Number: 347
Date: 2019-03-27
Paper Title: Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard as a Capstone Core Text
Core Text:

Abstract:
This essay argues that Native Guard, the poetry collection by U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, is an ideal capstone text with which to conclude a survey of core texts. Published in 2006, Native Guard weaves together poems about the biracial author's personal history alongside previously untold tales of one of the first all-black regiments to fight in the south for the Union Army. This juxtaposition of the personal and the historical reflects the ways that cultural and racial differences reach through generations to impact the understanding of one's own identity; as such, core text students learn, simultaneously, how the texts we have studied all semester can create a depth of field in their own understanding of subjectivity.


Proposal Number: 346
Date: 2019-03-26
Paper Title: “By the Love that moves the sun and other stars”: Depictions of caritas in the Undergraduate Seminar from Dante to Garcia Marquez
Core Text:
Dante's Commedia, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, O'Connor's “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera
Abstract:
Dante’s Divina Commedia provides a useful context or “frame” for a discussion of caritas in literature from the Middle Ages to the present day. Dante can initiate an examination of love – lust, romantic love, caritas – and provide ways to analyze/compare depictions of love by important authors. Jane Austen, Flannery O’Connor, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez explain and define these different kinds of love, illuminating Dante’s experience and expanding our understanding of love, in particular, caritas.


Proposal Number: 345
Date: 2019-03-25
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 344
Date: 2019-03-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 343
Date: 2019-03-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 342
Date: 2019-03-21
Paper Title: Helen's Voice
Core Text:
The Odyssey
Abstract:
In the Iliad, Homer does not describe the face of Helen, and instead records what the old Trojans say upon seeing her. In the Odyssey, the Greeks inside the wooden horse hear Helen imitating the voices of their wives, inviting them to reveal themselves. In both cases, Helen’s identity is hidden behind the perceptions and expectations of the men around her. What does it mean that the catalyst for the war is this Protean figure?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 341
Date: 2019-03-21
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 340
Date: 2019-03-20
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 339
Date: 2019-03-20
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 337
Date: 2019-03-20
Paper Title: Dante on the Origin of Politics
Core Text:
Inferno
Abstract:
In Canto 23 of Dante's Inferno, hypocrites are punished by walking in circles while wearing leaded robes. Much to Dante's and Virgil's shock, the greatest hypocrite of all is Caiaphas, the high priest who plotted against Jesus. I will show that in this Canto Dante reveals his views on the necessity and the tragedy of political activity in a Christian world. Dante builds on Augustine and anticipates Machiavelli, providing the bridge between the two political philosophers.


Proposal Number: 333
Date: 2019-03-14
Paper Title: Broadening the Canon from Within- Unleashing New Meanings through the Marriage of Text, Vision and Performance in Hildegard of Bingen's Scivias
Core Text:
Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias
Abstract:
The renown medieval abbess Hildegard of Bingen's abbey was a lively intersection of artistic production and liberal artistry rooted in the theological conviction that Word entered the world in multivalent ways. Reading three movements of Scivias together- description, exegesis, image- helps us encounter not just what Hildegard taught, but can unpack how the genre contributes to meaning. What emerges is a nuanced analysis of how visual and written work interplay in to perform medieval incarnational theology on both medieval and contemporary readers.


Proposal Number: 331
Date: 2019-03-10
Paper Title: The Conflicted Western Tradition: Some Provocative Pairings of Texts about Liberty
Core Text:
More than one!
Abstract:
A common criticism of the teaching of core texts of the western tradition is that it “privileges” one civilisation over another, and that it favors one group of people or one way of thinking over others. Yet it seems clear that “the” western tradition is better understood as a collection of contending and conflicted traditions which have been battling it out intellectually for over 2,000 years. The idea of “liberty” has been one of these hotly contested sub-traditions within the broader “western tradition” (strong vs. weak state, centralized vs. dispersed power, free markets vs. government regulation and planning, “capitalism” vs. “socialism”, individualism vs. “community”). A more careful selection of texts in which contemporary texts with radically different notions of individual and economic liberty can be paired in a provocative way in order to bring out the ongoing conflicted nature of “western” thinking about the power of the state, the rights and liberties of individuals, the right of resistance to authority which oversteps its bounds, and the best way to bring about peace and prosperity.


Proposal Number: 329
Date: 2019-03-06
Paper Title: The Capacity for Moral Perception in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
Core Text:
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
Abstract:
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle continuously raises the subject of “perception” and its importance for coming to understand human affairs. Aristotle points to our fundamental reliance on perception to understand ethical and political truth and affirms our capacity to correctly perceive such things, while exploring the several obstacles that confront such a capacity. These include the difficulty of perceiving ourselves, of perceiving objects that cannot be sensed – the things of the soul, the need for a good character in order to perceive accurately, and the need for experience and the time necessary to acquire that experience. In revealing and responding to such challenges, and in discussing the way in which our interactions with other human beings play an indispensable role in improving our perception, Aristotle shows us how perception of moral and political truths is possible.


Proposal Number: 328
Date: 2019-03-05
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Each of the four panel presentations will discuss experiences teaching courses and mentoring students in a new interdisciplinary school (department) in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership seeks to reconnect classic liberal education with substantive civic education in American higher education, and further to restore ideas of civil discourse and constructive disagreement on campus and in America’s civic life. Paul Carrese, the founding school director, will provide an overview of the school’s aims, curriculum, and programs for student leadership development and civic education, then briefly discuss his undergraduate course on “Comparative Political Thought” (classic and modern texts from Islamic thought, Hinduism and modern Indian thought, and Confucian thought). Catherine Zuckert, a visiting scholar in the School this semester, will discuss her graduate course designed primarily for teachers in classical curriculum schools, on “Literary Leadership” – addressing ideas and debates on leadership found in great literary works; she also will share observations from her vantage as a member of the School’s national advisory board of distinguished scholars. Zachary German will discuss his undergraduate courses that address American political thought and the theme of civil discourse, including on “Liberalism and Conservatism in America” and on Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Susan Carrese will discuss intensive one-week courses she has developed for undergraduates, on “Shakespeare’s Leadership Lessons” and a “global intensive experience” leadership and service course in India that includes readings by and about Mahatma Gandhi.


Proposal Number: 322
Date: 2019-02-25
Paper Title: Paper already submitted.
Core Text:

Abstract:
ibid.


Proposal Number: 321
Date: 2019-02-19
Paper Title: Philosophy and the Transcendent Center: Pico della Mirandola’s Anthropocentric Cosmos
Core Text:
Oration on the Dignity of Man
Abstract:
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola's project was to synthesize all knowledge into a comprehensive whole, specifically reconciling Plato and Aristotle. Pico achieves this synthesis in his work Oration on the Dignity of Man by reinventing human's place, not within a chain of being, but at the center of the cosmos. Additionally, he privileges the place of philosophy within the human being himself. These two are related: Pico’s argument for an anthropocentric view of the cosmos, in which human beings at the center of the cosmos transcend the created order, is a defense of the place of philosophy at the center of the human being.


Proposal Number: 320
Date: 2019-02-18
Paper Title: Writing a Reader: Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov as a Model for Core Text Study
Core Text:
The Brothers Karamazov
Abstract:
If the study of core texts is “the direct encounter with more than one point of view expressed in words,” Dostoevsky’s last novel, The Brothers Karamazov, serves as a model for reading within a core text program. Polyphony is a feature of all of Dostoevsky’s mature works, but in The Brothers Karamazov the presence of different voices mediated through a variety of texts is elevated into a central concern of the novel. As each character struggles with questions of morality and faith, each is revealed to be in some sense a writer - one of hagiography, another of lyric poetry, another of philosophical argumentation - and their conflicts are thus revealed not only clashes of ideas, but also of genres and styles. In so structuring his novel, Dostoevsky effectively trains his reader to view ideas and convictions within their textual contexts, and thus serves as a model for readers in a core texts program.


Proposal Number: 319
Date: 2019-02-18
Paper Title: Shimmy Panel
Core Text:
Diderot
Abstract:
How to expand the canon in examinations


Proposal Number: 318
Date: 2019-02-15
Paper Title: Bringing the Contemporary Into the Canon
Core Text:
Shakespeare, The Tempest
Abstract:
One of the biggest pedagogical challenges in the Great Books model is the difficulty of providing adequate historical context to guide students' reading. While Hutchins may have trusted that all the classics are directly accessible, our students often disagree! In this paper, I will discuss an approach to curricular design that helps to deepen students' historical sense while more directly connecting with the contemporary world: the use of interdisciplinary units centered on a classic text and supplemented by high-quality critical scholarship. Using my experience of teaching such a unit based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, I will show that it is possible to use frankness about the limitations and blind spots of classic texts as a way of actually increasing student engagement and investment. (Note: this is for the Shimer panel!)

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Shimer Great Books School Panel
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Stuart Patterson should have given you information about this!


Proposal Number: 54
Date: 2019-02-15
Paper Title:
Core Text:
Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida
Abstract:
This paper focuses on the Trojan debate over whether keeping Helen is worth continuing the war with the Greeks.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair?
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel examines how Shakespeare presents the relationship between love and war in two of his plays: Troilus and Cressida, and Much Ado About Nothing.


Proposal Number: 317
Date: 2019-02-14
Paper Title: Confucianism and Liberalism
Core Text:
The Analects/On Liberty
Abstract:
There is little need to justify either "The Analects" or "On Liberty" as a core text; my paper instead makes a plea for a critical reading of these two texts in tandem because each one serves as a touchstone in contemporary global debates about fundamental human values. Confucius' teachings provide a basis of argument for supporters of "Asian values" that are set in contrast, indeed, in opposition to the liberal values of Western societies. Confucius’ teachings also relate to an argument, insistently made orthodox by the current leadership of China, for human rights "with Chinese characteristics" that are set in contrast, indeed, in opposition to the universal human rights claimed by proponents of liberal democracy in the West. Asian critics of Western values are perhaps better prepared for an intercultural dialogue than are defenders of liberal values whose education has been entirely within the Western tradition. Critical readings of both "The Analects" and "On Liberty" can enhance the ability of those trained in the Western academy to engage in a global conversation about fundamental human values.


Proposal Number: 316
Date: 2019-02-12
Paper Title: Jay Gatsby: Tragic Hero or Tragic Victim?
Core Text:

Abstract:
The question of whether or not tragedy in its classical sense could exist in the modern world was much discussed in the last century. Ibsen and Arthur Miller were frequently evoked in that debate. Critics who write of the title figure in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby often refer to him as "tragic." Is it possible to see him as a character fated in the Aristotelian tradition, or is he merely a secondary victim of a society that is itself doomed to a disastrous outcome?


Proposal Number: 315
Date: 2019-02-11
Paper Title: Anecdote from Afar: On Non-Authoritative Pedagogies in the Teaching of Confucius
Core Text:
The Analects
Abstract:
In this talk, I draw upon my experiences teaching Confucius in Singapore to ask about the educational value of instruction offered from a position of real rather than feigned ignorance. I compare the implied pedagogy in the Analects to the dynamics of Socratic seminar style discussion, locating in Roberto Schwarz’s cocept of misplaced ideas a theoretical vocabulary that captures something essential about the comedy of teaching Confucius in English to students the majority of whom can read Chinese. Wallace Stevens’ “Anecdote of a Jar” further emblamatizes the tension between the teaching of the Master as taught by someone without the slightest pretencd of mastery.


Proposal Number: 313
Date: 2019-02-06
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Each of the four panel presentations will discuss experiences teaching courses and mentoring students in a new interdisciplinary school (department) in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership seeks to reconnect classic liberal education with substantive civic education in American higher education, and further to restore ideas of civil discourse and constructive disagreement on campus and in America’s civic life. Paul Carrese, the founding school director, will provide an overview of the school’s aims, curriculum, and programs for student leadership development and civic education, then briefly discuss his undergraduate course on “Comparative Political Thought” (classic and modern texts from Islamic thought, Hinduism and modern Indian thought, and Confucian thought). Catherine Zuckert, a visiting scholar in the School this semester, will discuss her graduate course designed primarily for teachers in classical curriculum schools, on “Literary Leadership” – addressing ideas and debates on leadership found in great literary works; she also will share observations from her vantage as a member of the School’s national advisory board of distinguished scholars. Zachary German will discuss his undergraduate courses that address American political thought and the theme of civil discourse, including on “Liberalism and Conservatism in America” and on Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Susan Carrese will discuss intensive one-week courses she has developed for undergraduates, on “Shakespeare’s Leadership Lessons” and a “global intensive experience” leadership and service course in India that includes readings by and about Mahatma Gandhi.


Proposal Number: 255
Date: 2019-02-06
Paper Title:
Core Text:
Bacon's Works (New Organon, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, Essays, Wisdom of the Ancients, etc.)
Abstract:
Francis Bacon appeals to the Bible in many of his works. His explicit appeals to the Bible tend to orient and justify the divisions among the sciences, along with bolstering some of his scientific speculations; he even cites in support of such claims the eternal “Logos of the Lord.” The intention of his latent appeals, however, remain difficult to interpret. The task of this essay is to provide examples of both appeals to the Bible, with a mind to discern the rhetorical role they play in seeking to unify voices behind the towering ambitions of his scientific-technological project.


Proposal Number: 307
Date: 2019-02-03
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 201
Date: 2019-02-02
Paper Title: Apology accepted: Teaching Plato and Childish Gambino
Core Text:
Plato: Apology
Abstract:
This paper will discuss the pairing of core texts with contemporary events. In this case, I pair Plato's "Apology" with Childish Gambino's "This is America." I will focus my remarks on the role of the gadfly vis a vis the community, namely the role of the individual artist in speaking to gun violence in the United States. Gambino aka Donald Glover has written lyrics referencing Plato and his video invites questioning like a philosophical dialogue.


Proposal Number: 306
Date: 2019-01-31
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 305
Date: 2019-01-31
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Each of the four panel presentations will discuss experiences teaching courses and mentoring students in a new interdisciplinary school (department) in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership seeks to reconnect classic liberal education with substantive civic education in American higher education, and further to restore ideas of civil discourse and constructive disagreement on campus and in America’s civic life. Paul Carrese, the founding school director, will provide an overview of the school’s aims, curriculum, and programs for student leadership development and civic education, then briefly discuss his undergraduate course on “Comparative Political Thought” (classic and modern texts from Islamic thought, Hinduism and modern Indian thought, and Confucian thought). Catherine Zuckert, a visiting scholar in the School this semester, will discuss her graduate course designed primarily for teachers in classical curriculum schools, on “Literary Leadership” – addressing ideas and debates on leadership found in great literary works; she also will share observations from her vantage as a member of the School’s national advisory board of distinguished scholars. Zachary German will discuss his undergraduate courses that address American political thought and the theme of civil discourse, including on “Liberalism and Conservatism in America” and on Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Susan Carrese will discuss intensive one-week courses she has developed for undergraduates, on “Shakespeare’s Leadership Lessons” and a “global intensive experience” leadership and service course in India that includes readings by and about Mahatma Gandhi.


Proposal Number: 304
Date: 2019-01-30
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: “Reconnecting Civic Education, Liberal Education, and Civil Discourse”
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Each of the four panel presentations will discuss experiences teaching courses and mentoring students in a new interdisciplinary school (department) in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership seeks to reconnect classic liberal education with substantive civic education in American higher education, and further to restore ideas of civil discourse and constructive disagreement on campus and in America’s civic life. Paul Carrese, the founding school director, will provide an overview of the school’s aims, curriculum, and programs for student leadership development and civic education, then briefly discuss his undergraduate course on “Comparative Political Thought” (classic and modern texts from Islamic thought, Hinduism and modern Indian thought, and Confucian thought). Catherine Zuckert, a visiting scholar in the School this semester, will discuss her graduate course designed primarily for teachers in classical curriculum schools, on “Literary Leadership” – addressing ideas and debates on leadership found in great literary works; she also will share observations from her vantage as a member of the School’s national advisory board of distinguished scholars. Zachary German will discuss his undergraduate courses that address American political thought and the theme of civil discourse, including on “Liberalism and Conservatism in America” and on Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Susan Carrese will discuss intensive one-week courses she has developed for undergraduates, on “Shakespeare’s Leadership Lessons” and a “global intensive experience” leadership and service course in India that includes readings by and about Mahatma Gandhi.


Proposal Number: 301
Date: 2019-01-28
Paper Title: Cordorcet, Sentimentality & Ecofeminism
Core Text:
Outlines of an Historical View of the Progress of the Human Mind
Abstract:
Ecofeminism's central claim is that environmental degradation stems from the mutually reinforcing oppression of humans and the natural world. It is not possible to discuss environmental change without addressing social change; moreover, it is not possible to address women's oppression without addressing environmental degradation. This paper argues that Condorcet's belief in progress, and its arguments for the evolutionary perfection of human, was strongly impacted by his support of feminism and its relation to nature. Condorcet, hence, was a forerunner of current day feminism.


Proposal Number: 299
Date: 2019-01-25
Paper Title: Proposal Number 249: The concept of time and the position of human beings in the world of life in On the Origin of Species and Silent Spring
Core Text:
On the Origin of Species; Silent Spring
Abstract:
In “Part II: Human Exploration of the World of Life” of our core text course In Dialogue with Nature, students are required to read “Natural Selection” of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and “Earth’s Green Mantle” of Carson’s Silent Spring, along with Watson’s “ The Double Helix” in DNA: The Secret of Life. The texts are approached mainly as science texts to lead students to reflect on the nature of life sciences, its method and its implication in human understanding on nature. However, these scientific texts also put forth questions that are highly relevant to reflection on the nature of human beings and its position in the world of life. This paper will focus on the first two texts, and discuss how the concept of time in the process of natural selection in Darwin’s text is picked up and applied by Carson to weave her concept of “web of life” where human beings may play a detrimental role.


Proposal Number: 172
Date: 2019-01-25
Paper Title: Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism.
Core Text:
Steingraber's Living Downstream / Heraclitus
Abstract:
The 2019 ACTC conference proposal references logos as a primary organizing theme. In our proposed panel, "Climate Change, Scientific Certainty, and Reason," we approach the epistemology of climate denial and science denial more broadly. In particular, I will examine the logic by which risks are taken and harm done, by whom and to whom. The incipient ecological disasters we are experiencing are an unfortunate opportunity to “be shocked by the familiar where we might least expect it.” The shock of newly established science challenges long-held and erroneous beliefs, resulting in an outright refusal of logos and truth. How is logos best re-established in the national discourse? This is too large a topic for one paper, but some of the best arguments will be examined.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 297
Date: 2019-01-24
Paper Title: The Ancient Flame
Core Text:
Virgil's Aeneid (asides to Dante)
Abstract:
Fire is used as a symbol by Virgil throughout the Aeneid. This theme is emphatic enough for Dante to make his own use of it at key points in the Divine Comedy. The function of the symbol for Virgil, though, differs in how it is used when the poem is dealing with men as opposed to women. This paper will explore the symbol and also attempt to work through what Virgil is then saying about sexed difference.


Proposal Number: 296
Date: 2019-01-24
Paper Title: To Be With Hamlet and Jesus: VR and the fate of imagination
Core Text:
Hamlet and the New Testament
Abstract:
VR technology promises immersion. The boundary between reader and text becomes permeable, and the reader is now there… with the characters, in the places that were formally available only through the work of the imagination in the act of reading. Yet most accounts of the formative power of literature rely on some notion of this imaginative work as shaping the being of the reader. What becomes of us as imaginative readers when texts become immersive images?


Proposal Number: 294
Date: 2019-01-22
Paper Title: On Whether Pride in Aristotle's "Ethics" is a Virtue of Democratic Citizenship
Core Text:
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Abstract:
In Book 4, chapter 3 of "Nicomachean Ethics," Aristotle argues that in one's accurate assessment of one's worthiness of greatness are the virtues of temperance and of pride. The vices of vanity and pusillanimously are in one's inaccurate assessment of one's worthiness of greatness. Pride, or greatness of soul, requires both good fortune and goodness. This paper will explore the virtues of democratic citizenship and its relation to the virtue of pride and ranking oneself and others as citizens more or less worthy of greatness and honor.


Proposal Number: 291
Date: 2019-01-22
Paper Title: Aristotle's "Ethics" and Whether Pride is a Virtue of Democratic Citizenship
Core Text:
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Abstract:
In Book 4, chapter 3 of "Nicomachean Ethics," Aristotle argues that in one's accurate assessment of one's worthiness of greatness are the virtues of temperance and of pride. The vices of vanity and pusillanimously are in one's inaccurate assessment of one's worthiness of greatness. Pride, or greatness of soul, requires both good fortune and goodness. This paper will explore the virtues of democratic citizenship and its relation to the virtue of pride and ranking oneself and others as citizens more or less worthy of greatness and honor.


Proposal Number: 287
Date: 2019-01-21
Paper Title: Hegel's Architectural "Bildung"
Core Text:
Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art
Abstract:
We shall explore how Hegel is educating the modern self to experience works of architecture, in light of our later experience of "the technological society". Does his view of art (and architecture) as a sensuous expression of spiritual freedom provide a check on certain tendencies inherent in modern technology (speed, repeatability, efficiency, and so on)?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Technological Ambition and the Human Condition
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Liberal education, today and for some time now, must address the role of technology (and anxieties about technology) in our lives as "moderns". We shall juxtapose texts that, explicitly and implicitly, enhance and deepen our education as thoughtful members of a technological society, defined both by our ambitions and our fears. Has, or can, technology alter in any fundamental way our underlying human condition?


Proposal Number: 285
Date: 2019-01-21
Paper Title: Logos in Conversation: Using Fiction and Theater as foils to discuss the hard evidence of Climate Change.
Core Text:
Kohlbert, E. The Sixth Extiction Kingsolver, B. Flight Behavior Stoppard, T. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Abstract:
Much denial of scientific evidence and progress is anchored in community and a constructed reality that privileges the bonds of communal knowledge over external information, no matter how well supported. To crack such constructed realities, one might use the mirrors of fact, fiction, and the absurd. This paper will address the use of three disparate core texts that engage the mind and emotion by analysis, imagination, and fear of the ineffable unknown to address resistance to climate change.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The value of reason is analysis of science has been progressively devalued for political purposes. In light of the devastating conclusions of the 4th national climate assessment and the 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is critical to reinvest logos into our understanding of the environment and climate change. This panel will mix core text classically associated with ecology and environmental themes with those from other disciplines


Proposal Number: 284
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: The (Liberal Arts) Education of Ta-Nehisi Coates: A Pedagogical Approach to Between the World and Me as Core Text
Core Text:
Between the World and Me
Abstract:
At first glance, Ta-Nehisi Coates' bestselling book Between the World and Me (2015) may not seem like a particularly valuable addition to a liberal-arts-based Core course. Writing that most of the schools he attended "did not reveal truths, but concealed them," Coates argues that much of the education system in the United States merely reflects and perpetuates the long-held interests of white America, a moniker that amounts to little more than "a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control [black] bodies." However, I contend that a deeper analysis of the book reveals it to be an account of Ta-Nehisi Coates' own liberal arts education, but a unique one that has been reimagined for twenty-first century readers. By beginning a Core course with Between the World and Me, I argue, students can better grasp the historical and moral stakes of a liberal arts education.


Proposal Number: 282
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Viola the Outsider
Core Text:
Twelfth Night
Abstract:
A notable contrast in Twelfth Night pitches the indulgence and inertia among Illyrians against the vitality of Viola. How to account for this difference? One approach is to view Viola as an outsider driven by her shipwrecked circumstances. As she quickly turns into an insider under disguise, it is nonetheless her experience, which is not dissimilar to that of an exile or a refugee, that most illustrates the moral, political and economic discrepancy between her and the Illyrians.


Proposal Number: 281
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Teaching the Bhagavad Gita, Teaching the Question of Interpretation
Core Text:
Bhagavad Gita
Abstract:
Mahatma Gandhi, the most famous Hindu of the twentieth century, claimed the Bhagavad Gita as a major inspiration. So did the assassin who shot and killed him. To call this an extreme case of differences of interpretation would be an understatement. Based on teaching the Gita over twenty years in a ‘Great Books’ program, I examine the hermeneutical issues raised by this great Indian text. I argue that reading the Gita provides an excellent entree for students to the whole question of hermeneutics. How is this text, or any text, to be interpreted?


Proposal Number: 280
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Elements of Identity; Storytelling, Recognition, and Return
Core Text:
Homer, Odyssey
Abstract:
Homer's Odyssey explores some textures of the modern concern to seek and claim "identity" under the rubric of the desire for a return. My paper examines one aspect of this exploration; the importance to Odysseus of stories and storytelling as a strategy of return. I consider several stories Odysseus tells on Ithaca when asked to identify himself, and claim that they seek a combination of social recognition and self-possession. Finally, I suggest a few ways the need for such a combination helps understand more contemporary and prosaic forms of his predicament.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity.
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
We talk a lot these days about identities, and the importance to human happiness of offering them recognition, respect, and support. Their significance can seem recent; an antidote to the flatness of atomized rights-based citizenship, a desire to return to something precious that feels left behind or lost when traditional, ethnic, religious and familial identities are fragmented by modern life, or exposed as oppressive by modern sensibility. But however modern in emphasis, the desire to be rooted on the spinning globe by recognition of a long-lost or far-off and locally authentic identity is not new. Papers on this panel share an effort to learn from the Odyssey by allowing the poem to illuminate contemporary notions of human identity and the complex of desires that combine to lend them significance.


Proposal Number: 279
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Transgressing/Transgressive Identities in the Odyssey
Core Text:
Homer's Odyssey
Abstract:
The Odyssey is full of individuals and groups who transgress proscribed or accepted behavior, in ways crude and subtle, lighthearted and horrifying, insightful and mystifying, narrowing and expansive, creative and destructive, regressive and progressive (at least by modern standards), etc. This paper will focus on two areas, in part to see if they may shed light on contemporary examples of transgressing and transgressive identities. The first area may be best characterized as transgressions related to appetite. The second is transgressions related to cleverness.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Paper proposal intended for panel proposed by David Neidorf


Proposal Number: 278
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Antony, Cleopatra, and the Unarming of Eros
Core Text:
Antony and Cleopatra
Abstract:
For "Tragedy's Curse and Gift" panel organized by Bainard Cowan In a play as beautiful as it is enigmatic, Shakespeare seems to indicate how the tragic events of Julius Caesar come to a comic conclusion with the victory of Octavius, the Universal Landlord. Yet there is definitely something deficient in a world where there is nothing remarkable under the “visiting moon.” Is Anthony and Cleopatra simply a tale of lunatic lovers or does it point towards a beauty too sublime to be depicted before “mechanic slaves with greasy aprons”? By its depiction of the end of the Greek world, this prodigal tragedy could confirm Antony’s words over dead Caesar: “the evil men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.”

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Tragedy's Curse and Gift
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 277
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Hamlet's Prophetic Suffering
Core Text:
Shakespeare's Hamlet
Abstract:
Hamlet is not the agent of the downfall of Denmark but rather chooses to accept a suffering he didn't cause per se. He is the one able to act with the clearest possible motivation under the circumstances because of the clarity he has been given. His “prophetic soul” sees that both sin and suffering have come to him and that he will have to sin and suffer to bear them away from Denmark. In short, Hamlet grasps the totality of the tragic action in a "creative intuition" as he utters, "O my prophetic soul!" before the ghost and his revelation, and the play is the unfolding and working out in time of his vision, which is inclusive of but not limited to the ghost's words.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Tragedy's Curse and Gift
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 276
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: A Good Tale from a Bad Mouth? Conflict between narrator and narrative in the Canterbury Tales
Core Text:
The Canterbury Tales
Abstract:
The Wife of Bath and Pardoner are two of Chaucer’s characters most at odds with the perspectives expressed in their tales. Is it true that, as the Pardoner says, a “vicious man” can tell a moral tale well, and is it just an accident that the Wife’s Tale portrays a relational felicity reached by the very compromises she stridently opposes in her Prologue? Towards ACTC’s goal of exploring multiple points of view and the perspective such juxtapositions create, my paper will explore the intersection between these two narrative personae and the stories they tell, analyzing Chaucer’s purpose in twice giving a narrator a better tale than he or she should be capable of telling. Chaucer’s goal is to show not only that a narrative, despite authorial intent, can carry an integral power to affect the reader, but also that one can bear the weight of a tale as a teller or hearer without being affected by it—thus raising Chaucer’s more fundamental question: how is it that the same stories change people differently, and sometimes not at all?


Proposal Number: 275
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Educating the Frenchman in Rousseau Judge of Jean-Jacques: Dialogues
Core Text:
Rousseau Judge of Jean-Jacques: Dialogues
Abstract:
In Rousseau Judge of Jean-Jacques, Rousseau divides himself into two literary characters: Jean-Jacques, the author of the oeuvre, and Rousseau, a man unfamiliar with the person of Jean-Jacques but capable of reading and thinking well. In this work Rousseau attempts to educate a Frenchman who has a negative opinion of Jean-Jacques and his works. In this paper I compare two similar images that Rousseau uses to inform the opinion of the Frenchman. I evaluate why the first image fails to have a positive influence on the Frenchman, while the second image does have a positive influence on him.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 274
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Reading E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” in the Age of Voyeurism
Core Text:
E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman”
Abstract:
At an age when our world is exploding with visual media, how do we view a text that is itself about viewing and has been viewed and reviewed multiple times? While exploring the dark depths of a human psyche, the text sheds light on the conflict between vision and illusion, inner vision and outer vision. This paper examines the issues of what is real and unreal (fake) in the field of vision through a reading of Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” in the age viewing and re-viewing.


Proposal Number: 273
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: The Birth of Tragedy through the Birth of Christianity in King Lear’s Britain
Core Text:
Shakespeare, King Lear
Abstract:
Contrary to readings that find ancient ritual or liturgical structures in Shakespeare’s great poem, King Lear contains the passion story seen solely from the human side, and it presents a vision of souls longing for justice so intensely that they are not only led but walk freely to their violent deaths. Developing his setting of early Britain, Shakespeare portrays the unannounced arrival of Christianity as a vision of souls on a journey toward discovering admiration, courage, care, self-giving, repentance, forgiveness, and sympathy in the midst of persecution. As more people threaten to awake to the virtues that divine love has anonymously inspired in some, the powerful who choose to hold their course in self-worship must resort to increasingly desperate measures until they become monstrous. Like Christianity, tragedy is portrayed as a natural process, and the births of the two are correlated and nourish each other.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Tragedy’s Curse and Gift
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
What actions may be considered tragic? May non-dramatic literary forms also be considered tragic? Following insights by Nietzsche, Maritain, and Louise Cowan, these papers explore a conception of tragedy that sees it not as arising from a certain action or chain of actions but rather as a form in the imagination. According to this view, it is an intuition of a curse in human existence, a catastrophic condition brought about by inexplicable and unthinkable evil and causing an almost unendurable strain at the heart of being. The plot itself and all the setting around it are then ways of expressing this insight as an embodied action that will affect the reader/playgoer in such a way as to experience this dark metaphysical “gift”-- and, in one way or another, to release it: “to bring the old terrible wounds to light and heal them, to make a poem of one’s life” (Cowan). Panelists will explore insight, action and effect in Euripides and Shakespeare, as well as in the literary form of the novel, exemplified by classic American authors Herman Melville and Scott Fitzgerald.


Proposal Number: 272
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: “The story shall become reality”: Competing Artists in Isak Dinesen’s “The Immortal Story” and Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park
Core Text:
Mansfield Park, The Immortal Story
Abstract:
Both Isak Dinesen’s “The Immortal Story” and Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park are narratives about artists, in fact if not in name—people attempting to design their own lives or the lives of those around them; people seeking aesthetic control over their worlds; people attempting to realize their visions of what reality should be. In both authors, these projects put the characters at in ironic disjunction from the real story, the larger narrative that is taking place both in spite of and because of their artistic efforts. The attempts of these characters to make life a piece of art, to determine and control the narrative rather than submitting to and participating in it, doom their projects—tragically for some, fortuitously for others. Both Dinesen and Austen self-consciously set up their own creative projects as alternatives to this grasping for artistic control, crafting narratives that grant independent being to their characters.


Proposal Number: 270
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Loss of the Self in Romeo and Juliet
Core Text:
Romeo and Juliet, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist sutras
Abstract:
While Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Buddhist sutras position the self as a construct that distracts us from reality, the self tends to be pretty sacrosanct in “the West”. Romeo and Juliet provides a useful examination of this problem on various fronts, but two immediately: first, in its focus on adolescents attempting to establish their identities, the play puts assumptions about and questioning of the self front and center; second, in offering the audience two people who are trying to become one, the play raises the stakes with respect to self-construction. In short, the play fails to bring two people together because it can’t even get one person together. Through a brief examination of passages explicitly addressing the nature of self/identity (including the role of language, social affiliations, and the metaphors employed for trying to locate the immaterial within the material), I will emphasize the play’s insistence on the dissolution on the self (or, really, the self’s having never existed in the first place) and suggest that Romeo and Juliet it leaves us, as in strong currents of Hindu and Buddhist thought, in a paradoxical space with “self-realization” equaling disappearance from this world.


Proposal Number: 269
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Notes on the Distaste for Allegory
Core Text:
The Faerie Queene
Abstract:
Borges was confident in 1949 that "For all of us"--that is, all modern readers--"allegory is an aesthetic mistake." His comment does seem to represent the opinions of many high-profile critics and writers of the twentieth century: a strand of modern (or modernist) literary thinking condemns allegory as an artistic tool, and for a variety of reasons. This paper will attempt to arrive at a unifying principle in critics' contempt for allegory, consider the validity of such a principle, and determine its impact on today's criticism of core texts that make use of allegory.


Proposal Number: 258
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Canons Within Canons: Contemporary Science Fiction and the Great Books
Core Text:
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Abstract:
The Western literary canon is a constantly shifting thing, and within that shifting mass, moving like tectonic plates against each other, there are canons of many different kinds. I have found that it is helpful to use a notion of sub-canons when teaching classes that are not explicitly part of a core program, or part of one of the majors offered out of the Great Books department in which I’m housed. While Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein would be considered a Great Book by most standards, many of the texts within the genre of Science Fiction (which owes so much to Shelley’s great novel) would not. In Science Fiction and Social Change, a course I’m currently teaching, I have paired Frankenstein with Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. While this latter text is definitely a classic within the genre of Science Fiction, it is not well known outside of those boundaries. By setting her work in a distant future and on a faraway planet, LeGuin is able to make provocative suggestions about gender, sexual identity, and politics, as well as the subtle ways in which these realms overlap and coincide, all the while avoiding many of the obstacles that are probably congenital in more traditional novelistic perspectives. I’m not interested in defending LeGuin’s text, or any text, as a Great Book or as a necessary element of the canon. However, some of the notions we use in defending our canon—such as “universality” or “humanism” or “identity/otherness”—can be used to explain why it is helpful, and even necessary, to be willing to teach such a text, not only in the service of expanding the boundaries of the classic texts, but of considering the question of alternate canons within and without those boundaries.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Canon as a Living Document at the Shimer Great Books School
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Co-Sponsor's Panel


Proposal Number: 72
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic as Core Text: Modelling Reading and Writing for the First-Year Student’s Paideia
Core Text:
Homer: Odyssey; Joyce: Ulysses
Abstract:
Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic provides a rich text to explore several key tenets of the core text program (Paideia) at Luther College. It is a contemporary graphic memoir written by a queer, female author, which satisfies our goals of including a diversity of voices, genres, and time periods in our core text program. It explores deep, foundational questions related to our programmatic enduring questions: “What connects and divides us?” and “What can we know and how do we know our understanding is reliable?” But perhaps most importantly, Bechdel models deep reading and active engagement with a text through reading and responding in writing (and drawing) to other core texts, most notably The Odyssey and Ulysses. Her approach allows students to not only read about her process, but also, through the unique nature of the graphic memoir format, see her process as she uses reading and writing together to find meaning in these texts and to illuminate relationships and situations in her own life. Just as Telemachus and Odysseus find connection at the end of The Odyssey through murdering the suitors and avenging their home, Bechdel finds a similar connection with her father at the end of her odyssey, not through violence, but through the development of a shared new language--core texts--and the recognition of a shared queer identity.


Proposal Number: 20
Date: 2019-01-19
Paper Title: Joseph Conrad’s Experiences in Africa and Southeast Asia: A Comparative Study
Core Text:
Heart of Darkness
Abstract:
The purpose of this paper and research is to examine the travels and works of Joseph Conrad. He spent a significant amount of time in two areas of the world: Africa and Southeast Asia. The paper will delve into Conrad’s ideas and compare and contrast the experiences of this writer in both tropical regions. His unique multi-cultural background and some of the major themes in his works will also be discussed. Joseph Conrad is probably best known for his novel Heart of Darkness and his time in the Belgian Congo. Africa was known as “The Dark Continent” and Conrad uses his novels as settings to explore the nature of colonialism and European influence on less developed areas of the world.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Joseph Conrad’s Experiences in Africa and Southeast Asia: A Comparative Study
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
I would like to have a round table and compare the experiences of Joseph Conrad in the African and Asian regions. It would be interesting to discuss Conrad's experiences in both regions for similarities and differences. In addition, a discussion of the cities and areas involved in his novels in these regions would be of interest (Congo, Singapore, Bangkok, Indonesia).


Proposal Number: 268
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Recovering the American Oratorical Tradition
Core Text:
John Quincy Adams's Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory
Abstract:
The longstanding tradition of rhetoric within the American tradition—Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy et al.—and the extraordinary wealth of primary sources—speeches, sermons, judicial decisions, poetry, letters, etc.—provide the backdrop for a new course being designed for high school students (seniors, in particular). Specifically, the authors will explore the use of John Quincy Adams’s rhetorical primer, used at Harvard in the early 19th century, as the framework for the process and design of this new rhetoric course for secondary students, providing samples of various primary sources and numerous exercises designed to teach secondary students the rudiments of rhetoric while training them to produce and deliver oral and written presentations. Both authors are employed by Great Hearts academies, Rob as the Chief Academic Officer and Ben as the headmaster of Lincoln Preparatory Academy.


Proposal Number: 267
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Conversations and 'The Great Conversation': Pedagogical Questions for an Expansive Core Curriculum
Core Text:
Hebrew Bible
Abstract:
Robert Maynard Hutchins opens his description of The Great Conversation (and thus the prefacing rationale for the Encyclopedia Britannica set of Great Books) with the contention that “No other civilization can claim that its defining characteristic is a dialogue of this sort,” by which he means a 'conversation' extending across time from its most ancient to modern texts. At first, Hutchins presents this claim as an unargued, even inarguable, premise; only in a later chapter of The Great Conversation does he turn to defending (or, at least, explaining) it. But my purpose is not to adjudicate the rightness or even the sense of Hutchins' thesis. I want rather to note first how, as a metaphor, it underwrites not only the “great books” canon but also the pedagogical commitments of most great books programs (whether collegiate or civic). Simply put, great books programs typically study the great books in classroom (or living room) conversations that are themselves momentary, microcosmic instantiations of the one (and only) 'Great' one. The question my paper will address is how we can countenance our ephemeral conversations without appealing to Hutchins' western exceptionalism and - beyond that - without simply refitting the idea of the Great Conversation to include other civilizations. That is, briefly, how can we conduct meaningful conversations about a collection of texts we do not assume are themselves in conversation? To be sure, I think we can, and to instructive ends, but doing so means radically shifting our sense of the responsibilities we have both to the texts and to each other.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: "The Canon as a Living Document at the Shimer Great Books School"
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
How might a “core text” program balance a commitment to the largely Western, “great books” canon with a commitment to works from a more diverse range of authors and concerns than that canon traditionally represents? Indeed, why would a program maintain such apparently opposed commitments at all? Answers to these questions have shaped the curriculum at the Shimer Great Books School (formerly Shimer College) for decades. A panel of faculty from Shimer will offer perspectives on the challenges and rewards of our collective commitment to what we might loosely call a “living canon,” one that seeks to keep Robert Hutchins’ ‘great conversation’ relevant by making it more inclusive."


Proposal Number: 266
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: #TimesUp: Scheherazade, Courage, and the Fight to Stop the Abuse
Core Text:
Arabian Nights
Abstract:
Many of our incoming students know very little about Islam and the Middle East; and what they “know” is often wrong--their perceptions about Islam and women is particularly ill-informed. In the frame-tale of the Arabian Nights, Scheherazade courageously puts her life on the line to stop an angry and abusive Sultan. Scheherazade provides a powerful “two-for-one” literary model and cultural corrective. First, she offers us an example of an intelligent, educated, and resourceful protagonist who stands up to a violently sexually abusive system and stops it--#TimesUp. Secondly, and most surprisingly to our students, this progressive, champion for women, is a good, Middle Eastern, Muslim woman.


Proposal Number: 265
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: “On the Basis of Sex: How Madonna Filippa Faced Down Discrimination and Won the Day.”
Core Text:
Decameron, sixth day, story seven.
Abstract:
Sometimes our female students feel as if they are fighting the battle against sexual discrimination alone. To any one of them reading story after story of sexual harassment in all walks of life, It can be liberating for them to read and discuss a story such as Boccaccio’s Decameron, Sixth Day, Story Seven. Madonna Filippa is arrested for adultery and faces death due to a law that only targets the female half of the adulterous pair. But instead of acquiescing to her fate, Madonna Filippa addresses the all-male court in a brilliant defense of her actions and a scathing indictment of the discriminatory law: a woman using her words to put an end to discrimination—Renaissance literature still has something to teach us.


Proposal Number: 263
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Abandon and Constraint: What Recognition has to do with Homecoming. for Panel How the Odyssey Illuminates Contemporary Questions of Identity
Core Text:
Homer's Odyssey
Abstract:
What might our current notions of identity bring to bear on the question of why Odysseus wants to go home? Odysseus’ sense of his own identity is at times a prison, like his stasis on Calypso’s island, and at times the ultimate adventure in narrative freedom, as when he invents the description of his travels for the Phaiakians. But the intensity of his desire to return home suggests that a particular kind of recognition is necessary to his sense of who he is. My paper will discuss what kind of recognition this is and why it’s so important.


Proposal Number: 262
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Using Chamoiseau’s Migrant Brothers as a Core in Critical Cultural Geography
Core Text:
Migrant Brothers: A Poet’s Declaration of Human Dignity
Abstract:
In the preface to the English edition to his Migrant Brothers: A Poet’s Declaration of Human Dignity, Patrick Chamoiseau acknowledges the “guilt and silent indignation” he felt when being confronted by fellow activists with proof of police violence towards immigrants in France. What follows this admission is not just a call to action to resist this in Europe, but an appeal for “a global politics of hospitality.” Although new – published initially in French in 2017 – Migrant Brothers deserved to be considered a core text for Critical Cultural Geography. In this paper, the author reflects on using Migrant Brothers in an Illicit and Illegal Geographies course to get students to consider how anti-immigrant arguments, which distanced individuals and defined them as a ‘foreign other’ can be challenged by this text which advocates for a singular universal human community where no one is called a foreigner.


Proposal Number: 261
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: “The Joyous, Heartless, Ever-Juvenile Eternities”: Holiness and the Divine Stranger in The Bacchae
Core Text:
Euripides's The Bacchae, Melville's Moby-Dick
Abstract:
In her Introduction to The Tragic Abyss, Louise Cowan, drawing on Nietzsche's delineation of a 'Dionysian' realm, indicates that the spectator of a tragedy responds less to the actual motions on the stage than he or she does to the “drama aroused in the underworld of the spirit, that deep well of darkness in the human psyche in which joy and pain are mingled.” The pain of this “deep well of darkness” is palpably present in the Thebes of Euripides’s The Bacchae, where the city's young leader Pentheus obstinately and heartbreakingly denies his cousin Dionysus’s divinity, and ends up beheaded by his own mother.  What one does not expect in this play, however, is the abiding joy brought by the young god, disguised as a foreign worshiper and prophet of his own hidden divinity; as the chorus sings at the beginning of the play, “Blest is the happy man/Who knows the mysteries the gods ordain,/And sanctifies his life.”  Like the “unwarped primal world” at “wondrous depths” where Pip (in Melville’s Moby-Dick) witnesses both the beauty and indifference of the divine, the abyss into which The Bacchae takes us holds not only horror, but unexpected lightness, even happiness; as an exploration of this tragic joy, especially as delivered by a young god who is a stranger in his own hometown, this paper concerns not only The Bacchae but the place of tragedy in core curricula.


Proposal Number: 260
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Reading More's Utopia
Core Text:
Utopia
Abstract:
Thomas More’s Utopia begins with a long conversation between the character “More” (who is distinct from the author) and Hythloday, who has visited Utopia. The conversation is followed by a detailed description of Utopia. The initial conversation is generally considered to be a long digression before the serious business of describing Utopia. But the conversation can be read as raising the problem of giving advice to rulers, while the description can be read as an example of a way to solve that problem.


Proposal Number: 257
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Canon as a Living Document at the Shimer Great Books School
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
How might a “core text” program balance a commitment to the largely Western, “great books” canon with a commitment to works from a more diverse range of authors and concerns than that canon traditionally represents? Indeed, why would a program maintain such apparently opposed commitments at all? Answers to these questions have shaped the curriculum at the Shimer Great Books School (formerly Shimer College) for decades. A panel of faculty from Shimer will offer perspectives on the challenges and rewards of our collective commitment to what we might loosely call a “living canon,” one that seeks to keep Robert Hutchins’ ‘great conversation’ relevant by making it more inclusive."


Proposal Number: 253
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Sadness is the New Pain
Core Text:
Odyssey by Homer
Abstract:
Contemporary notions of identity politics often center themselves around suffering when considering the meaning of human life - though they tend to call it by its contemporary name, trauma. So, it appears from the first pages, does the Odyssey. But this paper will argue that the Odyssey builds one of its central scenes - the calling-back of Odysseus from Calypso's island to his travels and eventual homecoming after his leave-taking from her - around a refutation of this idea, replacing the centrality of suffering with a heightened consciousness of sadness. Ultimately, the paper will explore the ways in which the epic uses sorrow as a dynamic force, for narrative progress, but also, for human action.


Proposal Number: 252
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Achille Mbembe: Epistemological Crossings, World-Thinking and Diasporic African Memory
Core Text:
Achille Mbembe "Critique of Black Reason"
Abstract:
This paper will explore The Critique of Black Reason, a landmark of African philosophy and riff on Immanuel Kant that pursues Edouard Glissant’s “tout-monde” (all-world) concept to restore the historical and epistemological contribution of the continent to the canon of contemporary thought. The essay engages in a “process of reassembling amputated parts, repairing broken links, relaunching the forms of reciprocity without which there can be no progress for humanity.” A reflection on the origin of modernity and its mutations in the era of globalization, it explores the link between exploring difference and constructing a common consciousness of the world.


Proposal Number: 251
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Antifragility and Plato's Socrates
Core Text:
Platonic Corpus (esp.Symposium, Theaetetus), Antifragile
Abstract:
One of the implications of Nassim Taleb’s concept of “antifragility” is that human beings arrive at useful knowledge through a natural epistemological process of antifragility. This knowledge is of an “opaque” sort, arrived at by “tinkering” and experiencing unexpected stressors that fail to fit one’s conceptual construct. This paper considers how Taleb’s antifragility compares to Plato’s Socrates. Namely under consideration are how we are to properly live with ignorance, and comparisons between a Talebian didactic method to some presented in the Platonic corpus (Socratic irony, Diotima’s ladder, and the maieutic image in Theaetetus).


Proposal Number: 250
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Love, Religion and other “Detestable” Things in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
Core Text:
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Abstract:
In Mrs. Dalloway (and To the Lighthouse) Virginia Woolf presents disenchantment with a disenchanted world. Many of her characters resemble what today are called “Nones,” the self-identified “Spiritual, but not religious.” Conscious of the difficulties of cultivating the spirit in a post-Christian world, and wary of formulas and organizations that threaten the integrity of the soul, Woolf nonetheless suggests through Clarissa Dalloway an example of a post-traditional spiritual practice, one centered on a re-enchantment of life.


Proposal Number: 249
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: The concept of time and the position of human beings in the world of life in On the Origin of Species and Silent Spring
Core Text:
Darwin's On the Origin of Species and Carson's Silent Spring
Abstract:
In “Part II: Human Exploration of the World of Life” of our core text course In Dialogue with Nature, students are required to read “Natural Selection” of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and “Earth’s Green Mantle” of Carson’s Silent Spring, along with Watson’s “ The Double Helix” in DNA: The Secret of Life. The texts are approached mainly as science texts to lead students to reflect on the nature of life science, its method and its implication in human understanding on nature. However, these scientific texts also put forth questions that are highly relevant to reflection on the nature of human beings and its position in the world of life. This paper will focus on the first two texts, and discuss how the concept of time in the process of natural selection in Darwin’s text is picked up and applied by Carson to weave her concept of “web of life” where human beings may play a detrimental role.


Proposal Number: 247
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Pleasure in Aristotle, Epicurus and Plato: A Phenomenological Analysis
Core Text:
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Epicurus's Documented Sayings, Plato's Republic, and Aristotle's Metaphysics
Abstract:
In their respective ethical writings, Aristotle and Epicurus's views on pleasure bear striking resemblance to one another. I will tease out this resemblance and lay special emphasis, present in both philosophers, on the contemplative pleasure that is free from any pain. I will, moreover, argue that these two philosophers' views on the relationship of the activity of contemplation and its accompanying pleasure remains solipsistic nonsense without that contemplation being directed toward some fitting object. Finally, I will employ both Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Metaphysics to develop an understanding of such an object and thus argue that the truest and greatest of pleasures crowns contemplation only on account of contemplation's being directed toward this object.


Proposal Number: 245
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Dante on the Origin of Politics
Core Text:
Inferno
Abstract:
In Canto 23 of Dante's Inferno, hypocrites are punished by walking in circles while wearing leaded robes. Much to Dante's and Virgil's shock, the greatest hypocrite of all is Caiaphas, the high priest who plotted against Jesus. I will show that in this Canto Dante reveals his views on the necessity and the tragedy of political activity in a Christian world. Dante builds on Augustine and anticipates Machiavelli, providing the bridge between the two political philosophers.


Proposal Number: 244
Date: 2019-01-18
Paper Title: Do You Dare Teach Aristotle?
Core Text:
Aristotle's Physics and Metaphysics and Categories
Abstract:
Most everyone would agree that Aristotle's works are difficult to read, understand and teach to first year students. What strategies can make the exercise of teaching these texts possible? Is it worthwhile? Are there beneficial results?


Proposal Number: 243
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Music as a Liberal Art
Core Text:
Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Boethius
Abstract:
How did the ancient Greeks conceive of music as part of a liberal education? How is music an essential liberal art? I will explore these questions through readings of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and Boethius.


Proposal Number: 242
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Education for Leadership in Machiavelli's Prince
Core Text:
The Prince - Machiavelli
Abstract:
Chapter XIV of Machiavelli's Prince calls for self-directed study, leaning heavily on experiential learning, inquiry-based reasoning, and reflective meditation on core texts, most notably on Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus. It is a holistic education aimed at developing the body, spirit, and mind towards the single purpose of political leadership, not simply on the battlefield, but in the advisory cabinet as well. A misunderstanding of Chapter XXII, which contains the reference to three levels of intellectual acumen, would have us commit the Prince, with a second-class intellect, to dependency upon expert advisers, when it is clear that the Prince has acquired a degree of prudence through autodidacticism well beyond that of his councilors and makes him rightly the key decision-maker.


Proposal Number: 241
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Enlargement of MInd as the Integration of Knowledege: Meaningful Pursuit in Newman's Idea of a University
Core Text:
John Henry Newman's Idea of a University
Abstract:
The substantive end of university education, according to John Henry Newman, is the liberally educated mind. He describes the liberally educated mind as an illuminated or enlarged mind, which consists not so much in knowing many things but, rather, in having an integrated view of things. With this in mind, one may ask: how is this integration of knowledge achieved? In this presentation I will make the case that the integrative principle is meaningfulness, that this integrative principle is consistent with his assertion that the unity of knowing is ultimately located in some real apprehension, and that the genuine pursuit of meaning is that common human endeavor which bridges difference.


Proposal Number: 240
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Broadening the Canon from Within- Unleashing New Meanings through the Marriage of Text, Vision and Performance
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The renown medieval abbess Hildegard of Bingen produced works of medicine, music, visions, and commentary. Her abbey was a lively intersection of artistic production and liberal artistry rooted in the theological conviction that Word entered the world in multivalent ways. In her core text Scivias, Hildegard first narrates, then exegetes the visions the Living Light gave her. Beyond that double move, in the scriptorum of her convent an artist or team of artists produce visual representations of the visions. In essence, they re-envision. Reading the three movements together- description, exegesis, image- helps us embody through study not just content but method. That is, through a reading of image with texts we encounter not just what Hildegard taught, but can unpack how the genre contributes to meaning. Students in an interdisciplinary great books program pair the written vision with the art in order to explore this intersection. During thispresentation, we will try this together to experience firsthand the effects. What emerges is a nuanced analysis of how visual and written work interplay in to perform medieval incarnational theology on both medieval and contemporary readers.


Proposal Number: 239
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Feminine Virtue and Augustine's Pride in Book VI of Confessions
Core Text:
Confessions
Abstract:
Book Six of Augustine's Confessions recounts Augustine renouncing pride of life, with his encounter of the drunk man being the chiastic catalyst of the breaking of Augustine's sinful chains. However, Augustine begins and ends Book Six with recalling the virtue of two women who are close to him--his mother and his long-term partner--in contrast to his own failings. Given that the vices with which both episodes are concerned align more closely with concupiscence of the flesh, one would think that these episodes are irrelevant to Book Six's purposes. However, these episodes are included because the women, precisely in their femininity, shame Augustine with their virtue and cause him to confront and humbly accept his own weakness.


Proposal Number: 238
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: St. Luke and Euripides: Creating new core texts from existing narrative frameworks
Core Text:
the Gospel of Luke
Abstract:
St. Luke’s Gospel makes use of Euripide’s Bacchae to create context for Luke’s own Marian narrative. The Marian sections take advantage not of direct reference to the Bacchae but of the narrative familiarity Luke’s audience has with the existing archetype of Bacchus and Semele, which paves the way for a paradigm shift in their spiritual understanding. This approach suggests a methodology for reading layered narrative in pre-print society not as ‘source material’ but as an author’s means of creating mental scaffolding in order to help audiences make sense of new information. This methodology turn has significant modern implications regarding the importance of narrative pattern in the education process, the necessity of familiar cultural artifacts in the generation of meaning, and the benefits of a shared social imagination in civic dialogue across the humanities.


Proposal Number: 237
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Death and the Matron
Core Text:
Augustine's Confessions and Tracy K. Smith's Ordinary Light
Abstract:
ACTC19Proposal Death and the Matron First year students in Core classes have little purchase on the concept of transcendence, yet it is a central point of departure for many of the texts they will read in Core classes. In a society in which only the material and the scientifically-verifiable seem authoritative, one of the few remaining sources for metaphors of transcendence is the experience of another's death. Augustine's account of his and Monica's respective quests for God culminate in his recounting of their "Ostia experience," which is validated as the precondition for her happy death; Tracy K. Smith's memoir begins with her mother's death, which then becomes the animating metaphor for her experience of intellectual and spiritual estrangement and then reintegration with the birth of her own children. Juxtaposing these very disparate texts anchors discussions of transcendence in the immediate experience or anticipation of the death of a parent and provides a powerful means of opening students up to the possibilities of this persistently powerful idea.


Proposal Number: 234
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: On Burk's Grammar of Motives
Core Text:
Grammar of Motives
Abstract:
Kenneth Burk's A Grammar of Motives is rife with inquiries into composed works, but is not, seemingly, a modern grammar that we would instantly recognize as such. The question we face is, why is this a grammar? Or, conversely, if we find that this is a grammar without an investigation into the usual inquiries of grammars or modern linguistics, what do we learn about grammar as a mode of inquiry?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Trivium, the Quadrivium, and Beyond
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 233
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: “Little things singer:” What Can Formalist Poetics Learn from Gertrude Stein?
Core Text:
"Sacred Emily," "Susie Asado," Tender Buttons
Abstract:
Despite being mentioned twenty times in The Cambridge Companion to Modernism (2011), the work of Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) receives little sustained attention or analysis, and her poetic work is never cited in that volume; despite the recent publication by the MLA of Approaches to Teaching the Works of Gertrude Stein (2018), those concerned with formalist poetics who wonder why anyone should bother teaching Gertrude Stein’s (in)famously experimental work in a Modern Poetry course amidst a field of other accomplished poets (Yeats, Eliot, Pound, Williams, Stevens, H.D, Frost) remain without an answer. This paper articulates several lessons for formalist prosody which can be gleaned from Stein’s work, including sections of “Sacred Emily,” “Susie Asado,” and Tender Buttons, re-orienting discussion of the work from Stein’s conception of poetry as impressionistic word-painting to a reflection on language’s character as “bodily gesture” (Merleu-Ponty), the connection between formal structure and poetry’s relation to music, and human dependence on either the printed word or syntactical context to interpret language. Even if Stein’s poetic work is, in the end, a failed experiment in the estimation of formalist critics, it contains valuable knowledge which reinforces the desire for form in a free-verse dominated “age of unmaking.”


Proposal Number: 232
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: 'I will show you my syllogisms if you show me yours': Anselm the teacher between grammar and God
Core Text:
Anselm - De Grammatico; Proslogion
Abstract:
Anselm famously and beautifully asserted in the Proslogion that God is that than which nothing greater can be imagined. It always makes the student think. Yet in his less well known and earlier de Grammatico he seemed far less sure what kind of being man is, but arguably expressed this ignorance with greater syllogistic rigour. How and why do these two texts differ? What do they tell us about the achievement of knowledge for Anselm? And what does each text tell us about the way Anselm taught and the kind of teacher he was?


Proposal Number: 231
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Aristotle, Achilles, and Anger in the Final Books of the Iliad
Core Text:
The Nicomachean Ethics and the Iliad
Abstract:
This paper uses Aristotle’s views on anger in the Nicomachean Ethics to evaluate Achilles in the final books of Homer’s Iliad. How would one categorize Achilles’ anger while he is engaged in attacking numerous Trojans on the battlefield including the great Hektor? What about Achilles’ anger after he slays Hektor? Is there a point when Achilles’ anger truly subsides?


Proposal Number: 230
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Peace in War; The Bhagavad Gita as a Guide for Democracy
Core Text:
The Bhagavad Gita
Abstract:
The Bhagavad-Gita, one of the most holy Sanskrit texts, portrays a conversation between the warrior Arjuna and his charioteer – the god Krishna – as they are about to go into battle. The main teaching of this text is to have one’s actions guided by the principle of unity with God – or Dharma – as opposed to individual gain or even the victory of one’s tribe or nation. It preaches equality based on unity with the Oneness present in everything and everyone. Bringing that element into our interactions with every human being – friends and enemies alike – requires a surrender of our preconceptions of ourselves and others, the ultimate shock to our ideas about our world.


Proposal Number: 229
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Cymbeline and the Limits of Fabrication
Core Text:
Shakespeare's Cymbeline
Abstract:
Shakespeare’s Cymbeline centers around intense questions of personal and political fidelity. There is evidence that the bard intends his audience to categorically differentiate the malicious lies of the queen from the misdirection of Pisanio, and in doing so, is inviting his audience to consider exactly what it means to faithful in a largely faithless world. This paper’s thesis is that, in the course of answering this question, Cymbeline illustrates both the desirability of good-faith fabrications and their natural limitations within the providential ordering of reality. My effort parallels that of Marguerite de Waal, who has convincingly articulated the qualities of “revelatory deceptions” in other areas of Shakespeare’s corpus


Proposal Number: 225
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: At the Dentist's: Lyric Katabasis in Elizabeth Bishop's "In the Waiting Room"
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 214
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title:
Core Text:
New Testament
Abstract:
This paper is meant to bring into dialogue an ancient writing from the New Testament and a relatively recent composition belonging to the school of thought in philosophy known as phenomenology. Namely, the biblical author we will be dealing with is Luke, an evangelist recognized especially for his well-learnedness, extensive vocabulary, and technical authorial skill, while the insight lifted from phenomenology will be that of the Event as it is spelled out in the work of Jean-Luc Marion. What this paper will attempt to do is to take Marion’s notion of the Event and to put it to work for the purpose to more clearly interpret an integral biblical passage in Luke pertaining to the “Coming of the Kingdom.” What Marion says about the study of all other phenomena as Events, we hold to apply to biblical exegesis as well: rather than obfuscating or surrendering the deepest import of the pericope to the ethereal stratospheres of ineffable insight or mystical silence, we maintain that interpreting the passage through the eyes of the Event will bring out its most authentic meaning all the more.


Proposal Number: 195
Date: 2019-01-17
Paper Title: Amazing Days
Core Text:
Genesis; The Gospel of Mark
Abstract:
The Gospel of Mark devotes a chapter to parables connected with seed and sowing and growing. Form and source critics have labored to account for the collection's order. They have overlooked clues that Mark has the Creation Account of Genesis I in mind and derives his order from God's creative week. The parabolic discourse begins with the separation of land from sea and then a sowing of seed; both are activities of the Third Day. Successive connections of parable to day require accepting a kind of cryptic allusiveness that Robert Sacks taught his students to look for.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Genesis as a Core Text: Studies in Honor of Robert Sacks
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel recalls the great contribution to core text reading made by St. John's College (Santa Fe) Emeritus Professor Robert Sacks beginning with his book about how to read the Bible, The Lion and The Ass. In his wake, panel participants have been engaged in close readings of Genesis and related core texts which they hope to discuss with other attendees. Genesis grounds much of our understanding of human beings and God as well as much of literature and political discourse. Papers will explore this claim with a variety of texts. The panel is open to any ACTC member who would like to give a paper in it on this topic and those interested are invited to contact either Terry Kleven or Ken Post with their ideas.


Proposal Number: 228
Date: 2019-01-16
Paper Title: Bob Dylan, George Orwell, and Richard Rorty on Truth and Freedom.,
Core Text:
1984
Abstract:
Bob Dylan’s line “Freedom, just around the corner for you, but with truth so far off, what good would it do?” is an example of the common view that objective truth is a necessary condition for political freedom. Perhaps the strongest literary case for this view is found in George Orwell’s 1984, particularly in the account of Obrien’s torture of Winston Smith. Richard Rorty challenges this standard interpretation, and the wider conclusion it is believed to support. When political leaders dismiss the demand for truth with statements such as “The truth isn’t true,” this controversy, and the broader question of the connection between epistemology and politcs takes on a new urgency.


Proposal Number: 227
Date: 2019-01-16
Paper Title: Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop as a "core-worthy" text
Core Text:
Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)
Abstract:
I present a case for deeming Willa Cather’s 1927 historical novel Death Comes for the Archbishop—which retells events in the lives of the Jeam-Baptiste Lamy, the first bishop and archbishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe, and his vicar general, Joseph Machebeuf—a “core-worthy” text in part because of how well Cather’s work addresses the conference theme and other paper selection criteria. Cather is obviously a women author; although neither Native American nor Hispanic, she engages both of these cultures in some of their variant forms in many of her novels—but especially in Archbishop; and there is much in this work that pertains both to civil discourse across differences of all kinds and to the cultivation of civility and democratic citizenship. I divide my remarks into three sections: (1) I, first, provide some biographical detail concerning Cather’s own life and comment briefly on her contested place among prominent twentieth century American women writers; (2) I, second, offer a brief account of Archbishop focusing on what has been referred to as the “retrograde” movement within the novel’s narrative structure; and (3) I conclude by identifying some of the many themes that emerge from critical engagement with the text. As befits a “core-worthy” text, however, I will, in this final section, highlight both what is noteworthy as well as that which is problematic when reading Cather’s Archbishop nearly a full century after its initial publication.


Proposal Number: 226
Date: 2019-01-16
Paper Title: The Spirit of Barbarian Law
Core Text:
Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws
Abstract:
Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws is about how different aspects of societies and peoples fit together to form comprehensive regimes in thought and politics. In telling this story, Montesquieu gives us a history of total revolutions, from the spread of Christianity to the commercial conquest. Often neglected in our retelling of this story is the spirit of barbarian law, which still forms a large part, with the Roman and Christian spirits, of the modern regime. In this paper, I show how Montesquieu translates the spirit of barbarian law into the modern context, in politics with the separation of powers, in society with the movable goods of commerce, and in religion with the notion of privacy of conscience.


Proposal Number: 224
Date: 2019-01-16
Paper Title: Ornithological Similes in The Odyssey
Core Text:
The Odyssey
Abstract:
Birds denote the cross-over between the divine and mortal world. They augur events to come and can characterize the nobility of warriors or the dishonorability of women. In The Odyssey, “winged words,” signifying soaring, magnificent thought, are the domain of men; and the four instances of “unwinged words” are linked with women. This paper demonstrates the power of Homer’s avian similes in the construction of women in mythic narratives.


Proposal Number: 223
Date: 2019-01-16
Paper Title: Brutus’s Centrality in the Parade of Noble Romans: An Examination of Aeneid 6.776-859
Core Text:
Aeneid
Abstract:
A structural analysis of the parade of noble Romans in book six of the Aeneid reveals that Vergil has placed Brutus at the center of this version of Roman history. His arrangement brings out tensions within the way that Romans tell their own history, especially Roman assumptions about how to prevent tyranny. Although Brutus is famous for expelling the Tarquins and establishing the Republic, Vergil's presentation hints that the Republic might have traded a dual tyranny for a single one.


Proposal Number: 197
Date: 2019-01-16
Paper Title: “The Dangers They Passed”: Doubt and the Foundations of Belief in Shakespeare’s *Othello*
Core Text:
Othello
Abstract:
"Doubt is at the heart of Shakespeare’s Othello. Presumption, self-doubt, distrust, and, of course, jealousy are the forces that drive the tragedy. In this short presentation paper , I would like to look at what triggers doubt in each of the central characters in the play and, perhaps more importantly, at what they seem to believe would assuage their skepticism. That is, I will look at what each of the main characters bases his or her confidence on and, thus, what had to be undermined in order to trigger their doubt. When one sees the different foundations for confidence embodied in each character, many new questions emerge. Is this meant to be a comprehensive list or study? Are these foundations for belief presented as equally valid or strong. If not, according to what standard(s) should they be judged? Is this implicit account of foundational assumptions descriptive, or does comparison among its elements suggest normative difference between them?”

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Shakespeare on Politics and Theology
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 220
Date: 2019-01-15
Paper Title: Plato's Trilogy: On Geometry and Philosophy
Core Text:
Theaetetus and Sophist
Abstract:
The relationship between philosophy and geometry takes on a thematic role in Plato’s trilogy. Through the characters of Theaetetus and Theodorus—their field of study being mathematics—and the conversations they have with Socrates and the Eleatic Stranger, Plato provokes his readers to ask the following question: to what extent, if at all, does geometry lead one into philosophy? Theaetetus himself is particularly prone to simplistic, or narrow thinking—that is, he seems engage questions and provide answers always in terms of the countable. In this essay (with occasional recourse to Euclid’s Elements), I explore those passages in which Socrates and the Eleatic Stranger attempt to bring Theaetetus up and out of his narrow vision of the world, paying close attention to those times when these interlocutors use the objects of geometry as a potential means to a higher mode of thinking.


Proposal Number: 219
Date: 2019-01-15
Paper Title: Incorporating an Asian Tradition into A Core Texts Course: The Tao Te Ching, the Chuang Zu and the Ancient Way of No-Action (wu wei)
Core Text:
Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu
Abstract:
The Chinese philosophers Lao Tzu Chuang Tzu ask timeless questions that are central to human existence and creation itself: How can a person lead an exemplary and fulfilled life in a world that is often violent, full of suffering, and seemingly devoid of meaning? This essay will discuss the inexhaustible nature of the Tao, its manifestations of harmony and organic wholeness in the world, and the importance of rulers moving in harmony with its currents. We will also explore several stories used by Chuang Tzu, including “Cook Ting” and “The Woodcarver” to illustrate the doctrines of yielding and no-action (wu-wei), by which one works with the forces of nature and not against them. The stories of Chuang Tzu, together with the poetic wisdom of the Tao Te Ching deserve inclusion in a 21st century Core Texts Curriculum insofar as they suggest to students a thoughtful antidote to the reliance of many governments and rulers on harsh laws, conscriptions and wars as appropriate means of achieving harmony in the world.


Proposal Number: 217
Date: 2019-01-15
Paper Title: Can There Be A Christian Prince?
Core Text:
Machiavellii Prince, Shakespeare Histories
Abstract:
Time being adjusted, Machiavelli, foreign secretary of the United Roman Republic, visiting England to secure an alliance against Spain, seeks out Shakespeare for private discussions, of all his Histories, the First Tetralogy with its unmanly Christian king resulting in a new tyrant formed by a new Christian doctrine, and the Second Tetralogy, with the irreverent Falsfaff not dying like Socrates, and then the surprise, Henry V at prayer in the dark night before Agincourt.


Proposal Number: 216
Date: 2019-01-14
Paper Title: Harmonics and Character Education
Core Text:
Pseudo-Plutarch, "On Music"
Abstract:
In K-12 liberal arts education, teachers are evaluating the place of the fine arts, especially music, as regards their relevance for character education. As it turns out, these debates have occurred before, in the 3rd century BCE. In this paper, I will discuss the Pseudo-Plutarchan work "On Music," which considers the debate between the positions of Plato, Aristotle and Aristotle's student, Aristoxenus, on the place of harmonics in character formation. In the process, I hope that we will not only find arguments relevant to contemporary debates about education, but also insight into profound questions concerning the nature of the human soul, the cosmos and virtue.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Trivium, the Quadrivium, and Beyond
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 215
Date: 2019-01-14
Paper Title: Pride, Prejudice, and Prudence: Elizabeth's Inherited Language
Core Text:
Pride and Prejudice, Aristotle's Rhetoric, Ethics
Abstract:
When Elizabeth Bennet gains independence from her family habits she ultimately fulfills, not rejects her heritage. Despite the novel's condemning the Bennet parent's habits of speech, in this work Austen shows us real generational redemption. This transcending synthesis that Elizabeth enacts on parents' speech is illuminated as a complex interdependence of moral and rhetorical perfection when considered in light of the unity of deliberation at the core of Aristotle's Ethics and his Rhetoric. That is, Elizabeth adds deliberation to her parent’s modes of speech, which is in Austen's and Aristotle’s worlds a rhetorical move that inherently engages ethical prudence.


Proposal Number: 213
Date: 2019-01-14
Paper Title: Dorothea’s Virtue in Middlemarch: Standards By Which It Is Judged
Core Text:
Middlemarch
Abstract:
Eliot frames the novel, in the Prologue and in the Finale, by holding up first Dorothea’s potential, then her achievement, to the standard of St. Teresa. Dorothea herself betrays some tension among the aspirations which she brings to her marriage with Casaubon. Her view of what virtue requires of her undergoes a harsh adjustment due to the disillusioning reality of her marriage. In her encounter with Rosamund in chapter 81, she acts out of a renewed aspiration to virtue, which might be assessed in light of several different standards.


Proposal Number: 212
Date: 2019-01-14
Paper Title: Cicero on Rhythm
Core Text:
Cicero's De Oratore
Abstract:
In Cicero’s On the Ideal Orator, Crassus argues that nothing distinguishes the “unschooled speaker” from the orator more than the orator’s ability to “tie his thoughts and words [so] that all of them are encompassed by a kind of rhythm that is at once confined and free” (3.175-76). In this essay, I will explore what Crassus means by this statement as I consider his claim that "it is impossible" for listeners to derive meaning from speakers if they cannot “measure the rhythm of the sounds that" the speakers produce (3.185-86). What I find especially worthy of note here is that Crassus is not addressing the canon of delivery at this moment, but the style of a work of prose. Please include me in panel "The Trivium, the Quadrivium, and Beyond."


Proposal Number: 211
Date: 2019-01-12
Paper Title: Borges’ Menard’s Quixote: How Not to Read a Book
Core Text:
Borges’ Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote & Husserl’s Origin of Geometry
Abstract:
The presentation will address the problem of historicism in the interpretation of texts by examining “the technique of deliberate anachronism” which “encourages us to read the Odyssey as though it came after the Aeneid,” a technique suggested by a character in a Borges’ short story who is guided by the principle that “every man should be capable of all ideas.” Such a technique with such a noble goal, as Borges’ story explains, requires an approach to history which includes the fantastic possibility of writing Cervantes’ Don Quixote again in a wholly original way by a quite peculiar method of studying and appropriating history. I intend to juxtapose this approach with Husserl’s theory of semantic “sedimentation” elaborated in his Origin of Geometry in which he argues that texts contain latent meanings passed down through a continuous historical tradition which can be traced back through a sequence of texts and reactivated with their original senses. Even though the task of interpretive desedimentation must take place though a “zig-zag” motion back and forth through the history of thought, the tradition it carefully uncovers constitutes a discernible narrative with a beginning, middle, and a projected end.


Proposal Number: 209
Date: 2019-01-11
Paper Title: Blue and Black or Gold and White? Goethe Has the Answer.
Core Text:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Theory of Colors
Abstract:
What is color? Since Sir Isaac Newton's double-prism experiment, we believe we know the answer. But Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Farbenlehre (Theory of Colors, 1810) asks us to examine our perception of color more closely. Nothing less than our true nature is at stake.


Proposal Number: 208
Date: 2019-01-11
Paper Title: Shocking uses of the familiar word "devoted" in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Core Text:
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Abstract:
In keeping with our conference theme that invites consideration of ways in which we can be "shocked by the familiar where we might least expect it," Mary Shelley's _Frankenstein_ contains many variations of the common word "devotion" that might shock or at least surprise twenty-first century readers of the classic novel. In modern usage "devotion" has lost the meaning that Shelley seems to have intended for it and its variants as descriptors for the monster in a variety of contexts. To be "devoted" in Old Testament texts describing Israelite holy warfare means to be set apart as a sacrifice to God, requiring that no person, however young or seemingly innocent, be spared from slaughter. This paper will explore how a knowledge of this now-archaic definition of "devoted" can affect our understanding of the complicated religious and ethical underpinnings of _Frankenstein._ .


Proposal Number: 207
Date: 2019-01-11
Paper Title: Critiquing the Canon From Within: Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John
Core Text:
Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
Abstract:
In this paper, I will show that Jamaica Kincaid's classic novel Annie John fits into the canon through its intertextual engagement with other "core texts" and its recognizable genre as a bildungsroman, what has been considered by various theorists to be a defining genre of the 19th and 20th centuries. At the same time, it uses these very formal qualities as a means to critique the canon as it explores the protagonist's own apprehension of her colonial education and environment as well as the African and Indigenous influences that also shape her world. These dual elements produce a complex and provocative text written in deceptively simple language that also manages to engage in a thoughtful and compelling representation of a young person's emotional and intellectual growth. As such, I argue that it is an ideal novel to include in a core text curriculum.


Proposal Number: 206
Date: 2019-01-11
Paper Title: The Turn away from the Syllogism in Bacon and Descartes
Core Text:
Bacon, Great Instauration; Descartes, Discourse on Method
Abstract:
Bacon initiates a critique of the syllogism in the Advancement of Learning, the Great Instauration, and Novum Organum. That critique culminates in the discovery of the modern law of nature, which consists of the relation of quantities—in contrast to a teleological law such as one finds in Thomas Aquinas. Descartes picks up this critique and develops his concept of the problem, in lieu of the syllogism, in his Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Discourse on Method (the introduction to his Essays), and his essay, Geometry. This brief paper will focus on brief selections from the Great Instauration and the Discourse on Method (part 2) to explore their intention in displacing the syllogism.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Trivium, the Quadrivium, and Beyond
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will explore arts and authors from the ancient world who can be fit into the schema of the Trivium and the Quadrivium, including Cicero on Rhetoric (Matt Spring), Aristoxenus on Harmonics (Matt Post). Also it will consider the trajectory of the Trivium and Quadrivium into the modern world by considering the move from the Aristotelian logical tradition focused on the syllogism to the focus on problems in Bacon and Descartes (Josh Parens). Given the breadth of this panel, we intend to accrue other papers, covering anything within this broad canvas. We're already in discussions with a colleague at Hillsdale College about joining our panel. This panel anticipates the work of the upcoming summer institute on Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts.


Proposal Number: 205
Date: 2019-01-11
Paper Title: Reading in Place: Using Literary cartographies and the spatial imagination to read texts
Core Text:
Mrs. Dalloway, Howard's End, and others
Abstract:
Using multiple texts, I explore literary cartography as a pedagogical tool that can be productive in the humanities classroom. First, I offer a brief survey of literary geography as both a spatial concept and practice. Second, I consider several texts by Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and others to demonstrate this approach. Finally, I argue that “maps are too important to be left to cartographers.”


Proposal Number: 204
Date: 2019-01-11
Paper Title: The Odyssey under the Odyssey (Katabasis I)
Core Text:
Odyssey
Abstract:
The Greek epic poets, Homer and Hesiod, make a distinction between "natural" or elemental gods (e.e.g., earth, sky, water) and Olympian gods (e.e.g., Hera, Zeus, Poseidon). The distinction is drawn much more explicitly by Hesiod than by Homer, but Homer begins his Odyssey singing in his own voice before giving his song over to the Muses in line 10. In his own voice, one might argue, he sings the gods of nature. When he turns the poem over to the Muses, they sing the Olympian gods, and henceforth the poem is theirs, but can Homer's uninspired poem be discovered beneath that of the Muses? This talk makes that attempt.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Katabasis I
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 203
Date: 2019-01-10
Paper Title: Death and the Matron
Core Text:
Augustine's Confessions and Tracy K. Smith's Ordinary Light
Abstract:
First year students in Core classes have little purchase on the concept of transcendance, yet it is a central point of departure for many of the texts they will read in Core classes. In a society in which only the material and the scientifically-verifiable are authoritative, one of the few remaining sources for metaphors of transcendence is the experience of another's death. Augustine's account of his and Monica's respective quests for God culminate in his recounting of their "Ostia experience," which is validated as the precondition for her happy death; Tracy K. Smith's memoir begins with her mother's death, which then becomes the animating metaphor for her experience of intellectual and spiritual estrangement and then reintegration with the birth of her own children. Juxtaposing these very disparate texts anchors discussions of transcendence in the immediate experience or anticipation of the death of a parent and provides a powerful means of opening students up to the contours of this persistently powerful idea.


Proposal Number: 202
Date: 2019-01-10
Paper Title: ‘The First Well-Dressed Philosopher in the History of Thought’: The Socratic Dandy in An Ideal Husband
Core Text:
Plato's Republic and Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband"
Abstract:
Oscar Wilde's play "An Ideal Husband" offers a strikingly modern combination of politics, corruption, marriage, disillusionment, and redemption; it also contains Wilde’s own moving critique of the will to power and the gospel of Mammon that pervaded Victorian politics. But for all its modernity, it reaches back to an ancient philosophical tradition: the definition of the philosopher, and his relation to justice, as embodied by Socrates through the Dialogues of Plato. I will argue that Lord Goring is Wilde’s own ideal of the philosophical dandy who can rescue the best leader from corruption, thus potentially restoring a new “Republic” to rights.Through an explicit exploration of Platonic concepts of justice, the ideal, and philosophic theoria, specifically through the character of Lord Goring, the dandy emerges not only as the “first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought” but also, I will argue, as the philosopher-king.


Proposal Number: 198
Date: 2019-01-09
Paper Title: The different language games of Buddhist Texts
Core Text:
Lyotard’s “The Postmodern Condition: The Report on Knowledge”; selected texts from the Pali Canon
Abstract:
Students in DRBU's programs read Jean-Francois Lyotard's work, which distinguishes narrative from scientific knowledge and discusses the evolving narrative and language games of western universities since the founding of the University of Bologna in 1088. This paper presents several examples of language games in the Buddhist Pali Canon and ponders an alternative narrative for a liberal arts college in the broad Buddhist tradition.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: DRBU’s “Great Books” Style Asian Core Texts Programs
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Dharma Realm Buddhist University offers two “Great Books” style programs (one MA and one BA) with a strong emphasis on Chinese and Indian core texts. The BA in Liberal Arts further aspires to integrate elements of traditional liberal arts programs--European and Mediterranean classical texts on philosophy, rhetorics, literature, mathematics, and natural sciences. This panel offers a glimpse of some of the approaches faculty members take in leading their class discussions and how students encounter and process this diverse set of core texts.


Proposal Number: 190
Date: 2019-01-09
Paper Title: The Rule of Wisdom in Locke's Second Treatise
Core Text:
Second Treatise on Civil Government
Abstract:
Locke is known for limiting the authority of the civil magistrate, by denying that any political authority is absolute. I argue that this is a superficial understanding of Locke's settled view.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 188
Date: 2019-01-09
Paper Title: Preparing to Learn: Lessons from a Buddhist Pilgrim
Core Text:
The Avataṃsaka Sūtra (Ch. Huayan jing, the Flower Ornament Sutra)
Abstract:
In contrast to a win-lose model that dominates our contemporary and often contentious public discourse, an open and reflective dialogue in a shared inquiry classroom is made possible when the participants see themselves as “learners,” mutually supporting one another with a sense of open-minded curiosity and humility. Chapter thirty-nine of the monumental Buddhist text, the Flower Ornament Sutra, chronicles the epic tale of a young pilgrim’s journey to find fifty-three awakened teachers—to learn the deeds and practices that would open him to experience a fully liberated and unbounded mind. The protagonist, the youth Sudhana, is praised for his purity of intent, steadfastness, and gentle yet resolute willingness and readiness to learn. Drawing from the example of Sudhana as a model learner, this paper explores the qualities that prepare one to be an active and effective participant in a shared inquiry classroom.


Proposal Number: 168
Date: 2019-01-09
Paper Title: Friar Laurence and Political Theology in Romeo and Juliet
Core Text:
Romeo and Juliet
Abstract:
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet features the fascinating figure of Friar Laurence, who, in consenting to marry the title couple, imagines that their romantic union will transform into love their households’ ancient quarrel. By implication, holy marriage, overseen by the holy Church, will resolve the civil strife that plagues otherwise fair Verona, where Prince Escalus’s feckless political authority has failed. When, however, Romeo’s proclaimed love for new cousin Tybalt instead incites a deadly duel, Prince Escalus finally asserts some authority and banishes Romeo for killing Tybalt, Juliet’s father forces her into a would-be adulterous marriage to County Paris, and both Romeo and Juliet threaten suicide if separated, Friar Laurence schemes to salvage his original plan with a new plot that involves the simulation of the death and the resurrection of Juliet. With Romeo and Juliet nevertheless ending in the lovers’ double suicide and, by theological consequence, their double damnation, this paper explores the meaning of love, mercy, and faith in the context of the play, especially as Friar Laurence deploys the foundational claim of Christianity, the miracle of Jesus’s resurrection, as a ruse to perpetrate a fraud against the lovers’ families and the Prince.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Shakespeare on Politics and Theology
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will discuss Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, and Othello. It will examine Shakespeare’s exploration of certain Christian theological issues, specifically, love, mercy, God’s commandments, faith and doubt, and individual conscience, with respect to the status of their influence on the affairs of political life, not the least of which, their informative role regarding decisions involving the privileges and the obligations of political authority.


Proposal Number: 156
Date: 2019-01-09
Paper Title: The Failed Aspirations of the Philosopher in Plato's Republic: A Reconsideration of the Cave Image
Core Text:
Plato's Republic
Abstract:
In Plato's Phaedo, Socrates offers a brief account of his intellectual autobiography. There, he argues that the goals of pre-Socratic science will have to be drastically lowered because human reason cannot directly access the causes of the generation and corruption of the whole. His subsequent dialectical approach is indirect, and attempts to see what can be known of the beings on the basis of what humans say about them. He claims that the turn to speeches is not second best, but, in fact, the only way forward. On the contrary, in the Republic, the promise of the image of the cave is that the philosopher can perceive the beings and cause of the whole directly and not through speech. In this paper, I will argue that the image of the cave shows us what kind of knowledge the philosopher aspires to possess, but, that Socrates shows, in both Phaedo and Republic, he cannot have.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 154
Date: 2019-01-09
Paper Title: Follies and Crimes: On Nietzsche's use of Esotericism and Exotericism in Beyond Good and Evil
Core Text:
Beyond Good and Evil
Abstract:
The goal of this paper is to explore Friedrich Nietzsche's use of exotericism and esotericism in his work Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. We will begin by exploring Section 30 of BGE where Nietzsche explicitly addresses this question of exotericism and esotericism. We will then turn to how he connects the exoteric and esoteric to his arguments about perspective. From here, we will turn to how these insights relate to Nietzsche's arguments about psychology and politics. On this foundation, we will conclude with a discussion of Nietzsche's understanding of truth.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 110
Date: 2019-01-09
Paper Title: What Does It Mean for Science When Psychology Becomes Its Queen?
Core Text:
Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil
Abstract:
Focusing primarily on book 1 of Beyond Good and Evil, this paper will articulate the skeptical implications of Nietzsche's elevation of psychology to the queen of the sciences.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 194
Date: 2019-01-08
Paper Title: The Effect of Master Narratives on Trauma-Creation: “Coriolanus” – a Case Study
Core Text:
"Coriolanus
Abstract:
In “Coriolanus”, Shakespeare challenges two interconnected master narratives: the story of the perfect and righteous polity (Rome), and the story of the perfect and indestructible masculinity (warrior hero), both of which powerful myths root themselves in fabricated and selective history and are perpetuated by self-interested power-hungry individuals, and both of which fabrications contain within them the seeds of their own demise – which becomes apparent when held up to reality. Neither of these idealistic illusions allows room for the nuances of polities or of human nature. In the end, Coriolanus does accept the nuances of being human, and thus accepts his own imminent mortality; in so doing, he also saves his beloved Rome – not as an ideal but as a city full of fellow flawed humans – and he does so not with the sword but with his tongue. By crossing the genres of literature and psychology, I hope to show, as I believe Shakespeare does, the tragic trauma that master narratives cause in those who foster and/or embrace them: men and women, adults and children, individuals and communities, yesterday and today.


Proposal Number: 193
Date: 2019-01-08
Paper Title: Art and Nature in Darwin
Core Text:
Charles Darwin. On the Origin of Species
Abstract:
Darwin begins his book not by talking about organisms in nature, but rather with a lengthy discussion of pigeon fanciers and domestic breeding. Why? One immediate answer is that he is employing a rhetorical tactic. Darwin is starting with the more known to us (selection by the art of breeding) and moving to the less known to us (selection by “nature”). While it is no doubt true that Darwin is a masterful rhetorician, I want to explore some of the deeper philosophical reconfigurations between art and nature in his text, especially by comparing it to the phusis/techne distinction in Aristotle and Pierre Hadot’s dichotomy between the Promethean and Orphic attitudes.


Proposal Number: 192
Date: 2019-01-08
Paper Title: Civil Leaders and Civil Virtue
Core Text:
Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan
Abstract:
I will write on the role of the sovereign in cultivating civil virtue in a commonwealth according to Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan. Through the use of civil honors and ignominy the sovereign defines and encourages beneficence amongst the most powerful members of the commonwealth. This use of civil honor for those who are beneficent and dishonor/punishment on the selfish will encourage the powerful members of the commonwealth to pursue beneficence due to the love of honor inherent in all men. The nature of honor will also induce the lesser members of society to be beneficent, as they in turn honor the powerful through imitation, leading to a cascading effect of civil virtue that has a deep and serious effect on the character of his commonwealth.


Proposal Number: 191
Date: 2019-01-08
Paper Title: Perfect Genuineness: The Link Between Self-cultivation and Social Relationships
Core Text:
The Doctrine of the Mean
Abstract:
In the Doctrine of the Mean, one of its key points is that self-cultivation can be perfected through attending to daily interactions in one’s relationships, and the highest attainment of self-cultivation is the perfect genuineness. Those who have achieved this goal can fully realize their inborn nature, which, as a result, enables them to effect wholesome change in others. In this course dedicated to Chinese Classics, through wrestling with connections among key terms“center/mean”, “inborn nature”, “perfect genuineness” etc., students strived to achieve a clearer understanding of their ethical significance for self-cultivation and implications for social relationships.


Proposal Number: 189
Date: 2019-01-07
Paper Title: Shared Inquiry on Purity - Applications of the Sixth Patriarch Sutra
Core Text:
The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra
Abstract:
Purity is an important teaching within Buddhist texts that is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. In his instructions on sitting meditation, Master Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Chan School in China, explains how people mistakenly attach to purity resulting in delusion and misapplication of the practice. In a course devoted to studying Buddhist classics with the theme of relationships, we found rather unexpected insights when trying to apply these reflections in our own lives: how our own fixation on purity can close us off from others. Using Buddhist contemplative exercises and Restorative Practices as skillful tools, we tried to loosen our own minds from its fixations.


Proposal Number: 187
Date: 2019-01-06
Paper Title: Teaching writing as self-reflective inquiry
Core Text:
Plato’s Phaedrus & the Saṃdhinirmocana Sutra
Abstract:
Close-reading (and it’s associated writing) takes place within a relationship–there is always a subject doing the interpreting, and a text as interlocutor. Self-reflective inquiry asks students to explore the strengths and weakness of their own assumptions while in dialogue with a text, a process that requires vulnerability, uncertainty and self-transformation. This paper will look at foundations for this technique in both the Phaedrus and the Saṃdhinirmocana Sutra, exploring pedagogical implications from both a Greek and Indian basis.


Proposal Number: 186
Date: 2019-01-06
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Scientific Certainty, the Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Eco-criticism
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The 2019 ACTC conference proposal references logos as a primary organizing theme. In our proposed panel, "Climate Change, Scientific Certainty, and Reason," we approach the epistemology of climate denial and science denial more broadly. In particular, I will examine the logic by which risks are taken and harm done, by whom and to whom. The incipient ecological disasters we are experiencing are an unfortunate opportunity to “be shocked by the familiar where we might least expect it.” The shock of newly established science challenges long-held and erroneous beliefs, resulting in a outright refusal of logos and truth. How is logos best re-established in the national discourse? This is too large a topic for one paper, but some of the best arguments will be examined.


Proposal Number: 185
Date: 2019-01-05
Paper Title: On the Importance of Anne Elliot's Advice
Core Text:
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Abstract:
In my paper, I examine the times when Anne Elliot humbly offers advice and is soundly ignored, and I consider how and why the characters choose to disregard Anne's advice. I discuss how these moments vividly illustrate the characters' flaws and show that these flaws are the result of temperament, priorities, and choice. Finally, I demonstrate how, in each of these instances, Austen is inspiring or training careful readers to practice self-reflection in an effort to discover their vices and choose virtue.


Proposal Number: 184
Date: 2019-01-04
Paper Title: Montesquieu's Education for Citizenship
Core Text:
Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws
Abstract:
In Part One of Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu describes education as relative to the various governments; for example, the education needed in a monarchy is not suitable for a republic. In his preface to the entire book, however, Montesquieu expresses his hope to enlighten people of different countries, teaching them to love their homeland and laws. How is that to be accomplished by a book that considers very different political alternatives? In this paper I propose that Montesquieu's discussions of ancient republics, modern monarchies, and despotisms are intended not only for people living under those governments, but also for readers like us, who are or can be citizens of a hybrid government assembled from elements of the others.


Proposal Number: 183
Date: 2019-01-04
Paper Title: Assaults on Domestic Peace in Much Ado About Nothing
Core Text:
Much Ado About Nothing
Abstract:
Panel Title: Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair? Although Much Ado About Nothing concerns a small company of soldiers who have formed their reputations in war, Shakespeare has the audience turn their gaze from war and fix it firmly upon social troubles -- troubles which seem to promise an end as sad as that of Othello. Instead the end suggests an almost irresponsible reliance upon marriage and domestic peace to gloss over the perilous situation. This paper will explore Benedick's role in navigating this space between the unrealized violent possibilities of the plot and the happy ending which plays out on stage.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair?
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 182
Date: 2019-01-04
Paper Title: “Justice and Prudence in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War”
Core Text:
Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War
Abstract:
In this paper the author will consider two classical virtues, justice and prudence, as presented by Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War. Alongside bravery, the classical virtue readily apparent on the battlefield, to what extent do Thucydides leading figures—Perikles, Brasidas, Nicias, Alcibiades, Demosthenes—receive praise for their prudential and just acts? To what extent does Thucydides praise or blame the actions of the few (oligos) or the people (demos) with respect to justice and prudence? How does Thucydides understand justice as it relates to war?


Proposal Number: 181
Date: 2019-01-04
Paper Title: Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Stakes of the European Tradition
Core Text:
Between the World and Me, Myth of Sisyphus
Abstract:
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me was a national bestseller and major cultural phenomenon upon its release in 2015; almost immediately, it appeared on many “One Book” and First-Year Common Book reading lists, including those of the cities of New York and San Diego, the Universities of Kansas and Maryland, and the list of options for the Intellectual Heritage Program’s core course, “The Good Good Life.” Coates’ cri de coeur on the experience of racism in America today excites students with its strident social critique and iconoclasm toward traditional canons and systems of education. However, the apparent irreverence of the work hides its deep indebtedness to both the European philosophical canon and the tradition of African-American writing, many of which we read in core text courses. This paper will investigate the ways in which Coates’ text is rooted in the European confessional tradition, as well as that of the French moralistes and Existentialism; it will also reflect on the stakes of presenting this particular text to students as implicated in this European tradition.


Proposal Number: 80
Date: 2019-01-04
Paper Title: Justice and Virtue in Xenophon's Education of Cyrus
Core Text:
Education of Cyrus
Abstract:
It has long been noted that Xenophon portrayed little of the violence and brutality of war in his story of Cyrus' conquest of the known world. Yet, Xenophon seems to adopt the identical outlook on practical politics as Machiavelli did in the Prince, which relishes spectacles of violence and glories in them. Is the end for Xenophon the same as for Machiavelli, glory and wealth? Or, is there for Xenophon some more noble justification for the bloodshed of colonial conquest? A clue lies in Cyrus' desire to be the best and to be recognized as the best of men.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Justice and Virtue in the Ancient World
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 141
Date: 2019-01-03
Paper Title: Chinese Tea and the Subjectivity of Experience
Core Text:
Bai Ji Guan Tea
Abstract:
The inclusion of Chinese tea in an introductory Humanities course encourages students to consider their differences in ways that other media, such as poetry and painting, do not. Because the sense of smell and taste varies radically from person to person, a group of students will not all perceive the same qualities in a given tea. And because smell is so intimately associated with memory, even the smells which two or more students recognize will inspire different associations. All of this pushes students to embrace the challenge of developing a shared language to communicate an idiosyncratic and personalized experience.


Proposal Number: 138
Date: 2019-01-03
Paper Title: Pirates and Golden Grasshoppers: Human Nature, Sociality, and Kinship in Thucydides
Core Text:
Thucydides' War of the Peloponnesians and Athenians
Abstract:
Provinces traditionally occupied by political theory and philosophy now find their subject matter, human nature and its political consequences, under the close eye of biologists, psychologists, and evolutionary theorists. Due to a shifting focus back to the moral side of human nature, Thucydides may be instructive here. While Thucydides’ Athenians present an “enlightened” view of politics and human psychology emphasizing the primacy of self-interest, Thucydides’ work taken as a whole teaches that it is mistaken to believe moral concerns, such as kinship and family, revenge and justice, can be extirpated from politics. As social and political beings, morality will always animate any political community’s view of its relation to others despite humans also being, and seeking to be, rational animals.


Proposal Number: 180
Date: 2019-01-02
Paper Title: Power and Violence, Then and Now: Hannah Arendt’s On Violence in the Twenty-first Century
Core Text:
Arendt, On Violence; Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Washington, Du Bois, Huxley, Coates, Homer, Plato, Ovid, and Shakespeare
Abstract:
Bridging past and present, Hannah Arendt’s proposition that violence is employed by those in power at the point at which they have already lost their power in her 1970 work On Violence resonates in a world of political tension and police brutality. Arendt, who drew on her personal experience witnessing the rise of totalitarianism in Europe before World War II as a German Jew and on her observation of student protest movements in the United States as a professor, crafts a theory of power that engaged with and reframed the understanding of power dating back to the Enlightenment, as exemplified by the works of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, representing a rare female voice in a largely male-dominated field of those who study power and its political and personal implications. By repositioning the tipping point for the introduction of violence in the balance of power, Arendt’s text can be used profitably to re-evaluate on-going discussion of violence, engaging with more recent works by Washington, Du Bois, Huxley, and Coates, as well as providing a path to re-considering older works by Homer, Plato, Ovid, and Shakespeare. Exposing students to Arendt’s brief work challenges them to consider or reconsider the interaction between power and violence, the role of chance or luck in life, and the function of rage and anger as components of the human experience.


Proposal Number: 179
Date: 2019-01-02
Paper Title: Towards 'the limits of the possible': The Philosophic Ambition of Bacon's Novum Organum
Core Text:
Francis Bacon's Novum Organum
Abstract:
Francis Bacon is most famous for reorienting philosophy towards the end of 'enlarging the bounds of human empire'. Contrary to most interpreters, however, though an analysis of the first 10 aphorisms of the second book of Novum Organum I argue that Bacon does not abandon philosophy's theoretical ambition. He seeks rather to reopen nature as a question, and to this end he must postulate a metaphysical framework within which his new science will work to see past nature as it shows itself to unassisted human sense perception, ultimately to discover the 'limits of the possible'.


Proposal Number: 177
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Enlightened by Starlight -- Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius
Core Text:
Sidereus Nuncius or Starry Messenger (Galileo)
Abstract:
Historically and conceptually, science is frequently very different from what it is popularly presented to be. Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (or Starry Messenger) is a case in point. In the very early seventeenth century, Galileo Galilei pointed what was at that point called a spy glass at the heavens and through his observations completely changed the understanding of his time of the known world. What I believe was most astounding about his achievement, however, was not only what he technically observed, but what he was able to judiciously conclude from those extremely simple and primitive observations. Galileo’s great achievement I argue was not so much what he “saw” as what he was able to rationally infer and conjecture from what he saw. I contend this places Galileo solidly within the liberal arts tradition. This is in addition to the customary understanding of him as one of the principal founders of the modern empirical sciences. Furthermore, I believe this reflection very effectively fits this year’s conference theme for ACTC 25: “Logos: Here and There, Now and Then,” especially for our science (major) students. Such examinations give our students a better understanding of what science really is, its origins, and how it is conceptually related to earlier times and scholarship.


Proposal Number: 176
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: “‘Thus Esau Despised His Birthright’: Primogeniture and Natural Right in Genesis 25”
Core Text:
Genesis 25
Abstract:
Primogeniture is a generally accepted way, both in ancient and modern times, of identifying who should rule, whether it be the governance of a family, a tribe or a nation. The book of Genesis is aware of this generally accepted manner for the selection of first rulers, but repeatedly in the book there is a replacement of the rule of the firstborn by a younger sibling. In perhaps the most renowned of cases, depicted in Genesis 25, Jacob is a second son in order of birth but he gains the birthright (bǝkhōrāh, בְּכֺרָה) from his older, twin-brother Esau. In Genesis’s reversal of primogeniture, there is a rejection of the generally accepted notion of how ‘nature’ provides a criterion for a first ruler – perhaps because Genesis is reticent to accept that any philosophical science can provide an adequate account of nature and of natural right – and, thus, this passage suggests that the knowledge and practice of virtue are what most resemble ‘nature’.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Genesis as a Core Text: Studies in Honor of Robert Sacks
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Already submitted with Ken Post's submission.


Proposal Number: 175
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Reading Confucius’ Analects with and against Epictetus’ Enchiridion
Core Text:
Confucius’s Analects, Epictetus’ Enchiridion
Abstract:
How can we understand The Confucian ideal against the Stoicism of Epictetus? First year students have long read The Enchiridion at Saint Mary’s, and we are looking for ways to expand the curriculum beyond the western tradition. We are considering bringing The Analects onto the reading list, both via connections to texts we read and through differences between them. This paper considers how each of these texts recommends connecting to its traditions of learning, and how those traditions are similar and different to each other.


Proposal Number: 171
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Plato's Meno: Core Text in the Core Curriculum
Core Text:
Plato's Meno
Abstract:
When Socrates asks Meno, “Tell me this: if not only virtue but anything whatever can be taught, should there not be of necessity people who teach it and people who learn it?” (89d), he offers an invitation to the core curriculum college instructor who, after all, struggles with the questions of how best to teach the newly-minted college student—and how best to navigate the student-teacher relationship to begin with. Considering that it is a slim volume easily available online that addresses themes of knowledge, rhetoric, teaching and learning, Plato’s Meno offers an intriguing opportunity to engage undergraduate students enrolled in the core curriculum Composition I course, a place where so many students receive their first formal instruction in academic argument. This paper will consider ways in which Meno as a core text could serve as a means to explore the purposes and types of argument, the rhetorical situations and conversations inherent to argument, and appeals and strategies used by sophisticated arguers in argument--including those used and/or endorsed by the competing Socratic and sophist schools. As part of the paper, proposals for classroom activities, group work and writing assignments will be suggested, and a theme of aporia will permeate the overall project.


Proposal Number: 169
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Jane Austen's Philosophy of Marriage
Core Text:
Pride & Prejudice
Abstract:
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice examines—within the limited scope of the household—the subtleties and dynamics of the human soul, and the human situation. Within that inquiry, nothing intrigues Austen more than the spectacle of self-deception—that willful misunderstanding we have of ourselves, based on deeply entrenched and unexamined opinions that we hold, which, in turn, is the root cause of our misperceptions of others. The action of the novel argues, I would suggest, that the quest for self-knowledge is not only an essential condition for living a good life, but also the foundation for happiness in marriage. Why? Because the judgment of others that is required to ascertain their true character (and thus their worth as individuals and as potential spouses) cannot adequately, or justly, occur within us, if we ourselves are not sufficiently attentive to our own character and our capacity for understanding both ourselves and others.


Proposal Number: 167
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Seamus Heaney: Reconciling Poetic and Political
Core Text:
Seamus Heaney: Selected Poems
Abstract:
Northern Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, wrote of an "imaginative space" which allowed for the reconciliation of competing loyalties. As with other so-called "Troubles Poets," Heaney set religious, political, and geographic divides aside as he sought a higher truth of the commonality of human suffering and the complexity of identity.


Proposal Number: 166
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Ivan Going Down: Katabasis in Dostoevsky's Brother Karamazov
Core Text:
Brothers Karamazov
Abstract:
This paper explores Ivan's katabasis in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov. It considers the possible causes of his descent, asking whether in Dostoevsky's view it is rationalism that leads to his descent, or rather, a failure of some other kind. In other words, it asks whether his disintegration is caused inevitably by his intellect and its discoveries or by the difficulties he faces in in integrating the various components of his personality. At issue is the question of whether one ought to orient one's life by the "head" or by the "heart".

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 164
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Logos and the Natural Foundations of Economics in Aristotle's Politics
Core Text:
Aristotle's Politics, Nicomachean Ethics
Abstract:
In Book I of the Politics, Aristotle engages in an inquiry into the money-making art that some readers interpret as an outright dismissal of economics as something unnatural. Aristotle, however, says the money-making art arose according to logos to facilitate a natural art of exchange. A careful reading of Aristotle’s account reveals a concern with uncovering what is both natural and unnatural about economics. By looking at Aristotle’s inquiry into the money-making art with his inquiry into the human good from the Nicomachean Ethics in mind, the moral character of his own logos about economics becomes clear.


Proposal Number: 163
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Second Nature Revisited: McDowell on Man and Mind
Core Text:
Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics), Kant (Critique of Pure Reason), Hegel (Phenomenology of Spirit)
Abstract:
According to John McDowell, an important contemporary philosopher, thinking about man, mind and nature means that while we have to view nature through the lens of ‘disenchantment’, we also need to see beyond this. McDowell appeals to ‘second nature’ in order to attempt to do so. To support his efforts, he invokes Aristotle’s conception of ethical character, and as well the idea of Bildung as it is considered by some of the great German philosophers of the tradition, such as Kant and Hegel. My paper will explore McDowell’s contemporary re-interpretation of ‘second nature’ as a way to help us understand what it means to flourish, and I also hope to show how McDowell’s approach can provide students with a fresh way to see the significance of some of the great ideas and thinkers of the philosophical tradition.


Proposal Number: 161
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Discipline and Fervor, the Monkey King’s Madcap Journey through Religion to Enlightenment
Core Text:
Journey to the West
Abstract:
Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West is simultaneously hailed as a masterpiece of popular folk entertainment, a biting work of satire, and a sincere allegory of spiritual and religious development. The narrative ostensibly centers on the journey of the Buddhist monk Xuangzang to recover lost Buddhist texts, but that center is frequently stolen by one of his companions, Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, whose own story opens the whole narrative. This paper will discuss Sun Wukong as an allegory apt for today’s conversations about spirituality and its relationship to the traditions of organized religion, exploring the juxtaposition between the discipline offered by religion and the madcap freedom of the Monkey King’s own individualized passion. It is riding the edge of this juxtaposition, the paper will argue, that Journey to the West teaches us concerning human development today.


Proposal Number: 160
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Tocqueville's Critique of the Philosophes
Core Text:
Tocqueville's Old Regime and the Revolution; Aristotle's Politics
Abstract:
In The Old Regime and the Revolution, Tocqueville offers a striking critique of the French intellectuals for engaging in “abstract and literary politics” and thereby contributing to the terror of the French revolution. Tocqueville’s critique of the philosophes resembles Aristotle’s critique of Hippodamus. Like Aristotle, Tocqueville warns against reconstructing political life according to abstract and general theories divorced from the particulars of everyday political life. Indeed, such similarities have led some scholars to wonder whether Tocqueville’s thought might bear closer resemblance to that of classical political philosophy than modernity. In order to better understand Tocqueville’s project and its relation to the classics, this paper considers Tocqueville’s critique of abstract and general ideas against the backdrop of Aristotle’s similar critique.


Proposal Number: 159
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: Taking Untold Journeys: Fan Fiction Brings the Classics to Life
Core Text:
The Odyssey; The Prince
Abstract:
Studying core texts in intro-level courses provide ample opportunity for close reading and engaging conversation, however it can be challenging for students to talk about old texts from which they feel removed. Sometimes it is most productive to begin where they are, and most students are familiar with Fan Fiction, a popular means of creative engagement with literature and media. Exploring hypothetical storylines in classic texts helps stimulate ideas and interaction between students, and most importantly facilitates productive analysis of and engagement with the books' original content as part of class discussions. In this essay I explore how considering alternative narratives in Homer’s Odyssey and Machiavelli’s Prince can help engage first-time readers more deeply in class discussion of primary texts.


Proposal Number: 148
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: To Catch the Conscience: On Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Core Text:
Hamlet
Abstract:
My paper looks carefully at the double use of ‘conscience’ in Hamlet: I argue that as both a moral and rational principle, it highlights how the play turns on the distinction between action and reflection. This is perhaps most evident in the reciprocity between Hamlet’s unfolding narrative structure and the psychological unfolding of its title character. Moreover, the prince’s particular plot is mirrored in the broader political and religious context of Denmark, such that his initial state of uncertainty is reflected in turbulent and opaque international and internal conditions, and his final breath gives voice to the death of his own order and inaugurates foreign rule. The play thereby explores in the personal realm the extent to which self-knowledge is compatible with the self in action, and in the public realm whether statehood and religious identity —that is, secular and divine law—are compatible with times out of joint, which, if we take our bearing from Hamlet, rather looks like all time.


Proposal Number: 132
Date: 2019-01-01
Paper Title: From Burke to Trump: From Classical to Current Conservatism
Core Text:
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
Abstract:
Part of the power of intellectual history is in being able to examine how the ideas of the past inform contemporary debates. This is particularly true of the great "isms"--such as conservatism and liberalism--of the "long" nineteenth century and how those "isms" continue to shape approaches to contemporary concerns. This paper will look particularly at Edmund Burke's classic denunciation of the French Revolution, his Reflections on the Revolution in France, and its presentation of conservative ideas and values, how these pertain directly to civility and democratic citizenship (one of the calls for this year's conference), and how they can enlighten current debates ranging over everything from gay marriage to nationalized healthcare to immigration,


Proposal Number: 158
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Freedom of Inquiry and Toleration
Core Text:
tbd
Abstract:
University statements about freedom of inquiry (e.g., the "Chicago statement") emphasize debate and competition between viewpoints. They tacitly appeal to a marketplace of ideas that would be guided, like the market, by an invisible hand independent of every actor. This analogy is inappropriate for the classroom, where ideas are not merely juxtaposed for trade and consumption, but should be jointly analyzed and evaluated dialectically. I mean to explore, instead, the analogy of the classroom to a society practicing toleration, in which each member publicly cooperates with respect to intermediate ends, while reserving ultmate ends for private reflection.


Proposal Number: 155
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Race and Gender in Nineteenth-Century Naturalist Texts
Core Text:
Darwin's Descent of Man and Cuvier's Natural History
Abstract:
This paper looks at the intersection of race and gender in the works of nineteenth-century naturalists, Cuvier and Darwin. Drawing on theories of post-modern historians of science, it considers how nineteenth-century social values shaped representations of nature, and how, simultaneously, science informed cultural beliefs and practices—working in a feedback loop. Cuvier and Darwin took special interest in the study and classification of women of color. Cuvier’s only inclusion of the human species in his Natural History was an African woman.


Proposal Number: 153
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Breadthless Length: An Argument for Studying Euclid in the Humanities
Core Text:
Book 1 of Euclid's Elements
Abstract:
Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote that “Euclid Alone has looked on Beauty bare”. If so, students of the Humanities and Liberal Arts have much to learn from this ancient geometer. This paper will make a case for the humanistic value of studying Euclid’s geometry in an interdisciplinary Humanities survey course geared towards first-time-in-college students.


Proposal Number: 152
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Ta-Nehisi Coates and the European Philosophical Tradition
Core Text:
Between the World and Me; The Myth of Sisyphus
Abstract:
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me was a national bestseller and major cultural phenomenon upon its release in 2015; almost immediately, it appeared on many “One Book” and First-Year Common Book reading lists, including those of the cities of New York and San Diego, the Universities of Kansas and Maryland, and the list of options for the Intellectual Heritage Program’s core course, “The Good Good Life.” Coates’ cri de coeur about his experience of racism in America excites students with its strident social critique and iconoclasm toward traditional canons and systems of education. However, the apparent irreverence of the work hides its deep indebtedness to both the European philosophical canon and the tradition of African-American writing from which draw in core text courses. This paper will investigate the ways in which Coates’ text is rooted in the European confessional tradition, as well as that of the French moralistes and Existentialism; it will also reflect on the stakes of presenting this particular text to students as implicated in this European tradition.


Proposal Number: 151
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: “"Journey to the West:" Teaching a 16th Century Chinese Classic in a Global Literature & Arts Course.”
Core Text:
"Journey to the West" by Wu Cheng En
Abstract:
My paper will discuss the importance of Wu Cheng En’s 16th century classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West" (based on the travels to India of a Tang dynasty scholar/monk, Xuan Zang, in quest of Buddhist sacred texts) as a core text in my Cultural Foundations II course, which covers the literature of the 9th to18th Centuries from different regions. This enduringly popular adventure tale is the students’ first encounter with the narrative energies and structure of the “novel” form (whose European versions appear some centuries later), and provides students glimpses into Chinese myth, folklore, Buddhist and Taoist philosophy and social satire. It also allows valuable trans-cultural comparisons with texts from other regions, especially travel narratives, such as the Viking "The Vinland Sagas" and "The Arabian Night’s “Sinbad’s Voyages” regarding motivations for travel; and while Sinbad encompasses the extensive Indian Ocean maritime networks from the Arab world to China, "Travel to the West" introduces students to land journeys across east and central Asia, long before the arrival of European travelers. The novel’s abundant imaginative creations contribute to our course’s analysis of how social realities intersect with literary invention and fantasy, yielding a productive comparison with the Anglo-Saxon "Beowulf "story.


Proposal Number: 149
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: The Rule of Wisdom and the Rule of Law in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure
Core Text:
Shakespeare Measure for Measure
Abstract:
This paper focuses on the role of the Duke of Vienna in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. It argues that the rule of the Duke represents the rule of wisdom and that the problems the Duke faces reflect the problems associated with that species of rule. Above all the paper explores Shakespeare’s portrayal of the problems generated by the Duke’s renunciation of law and lawful punishment (the deployment of irrational force) as incompatible with the rule of wisdom or reason. In the end, the paper argues that the Duke employs the theatre, under the guise of a judicial process, in order to generate an imaginary terror in the souls of his subjects. By this means the Duke is able re-found his regime of reason, and eliminate the disorder consequent upon his renunciation of violence, without having to resort to physical terror as an instrument of governance and thereby abandon wisdom as the principle of his regime.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Shakespeare on Politics and Theology
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will discuss Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, and Othello. It will examine Shakespeare’s exploration of certain Christian theological issues, specifically, love, mercy, God’s commandments, faith and doubt, and individual conscience, with respect to the status of their influence on the affairs of political life, not the least of which, their informative role regarding decisions involving the privileges and the obligations of political authority.


Proposal Number: 147
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Teaching Race and "Citizen"-ship in a Core Course
Core Text:
Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine
Abstract:
The Intellectual Heritage Program recently added Claudia Rankine's award-winning 2014 book "Citizen: An American Lyric" to the list of core texts from which instructors may choose to teach in Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life. In spring 2019, hundreds of Temple students will be reading “Citizen"--a poetic reflection on everyday racism--alongside core texts like Homer's Odyssey, Socrates' Apology, and Dante's Inferno. We look forward to many important class discussions about the ways of being a citizen, and the realities of belonging, in America today. I will be speaking with a dozen faculty about their approaches to teaching “Citizen," and their students' responses; my talk will present an analysis.


Proposal Number: 146
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Du Bois Beyond The Souls of Black Folk: “The Conservation of Races” (1897) and “The White Masters of the World” (1965) As Core Texts
Core Text:
The Souls of Black Folk
Abstract:
W.E.B. Du Bois’s seminal The Souls of Black Folk (1903) is a feature of several core curricula, including those of Columbia College, Temple University, and Boston University. Du Bois’s masterful series of essays will continue to move and challenge students as more and more core programs pivot toward African-American literature and experience as analytical and pedagogical categories. And yet, teaching The Souls of Black Folk as the “representative” Du Bois text risks failing to help students grasp key aspects of his work, particularly his understanding of Western history and his related lifelong interests in political theory, economics, and the sciences. This presentation will discuss two essays that bookend Du Bois’s career, the pre-Souls address “The Conservation of Races” (1897) and “The White Masters of the World,” from the posthumous collection The World and Africa(1965); in particular, “The White Masters of the World” provides a robust framework through which to introduce students to a new perspective on the canonical European works we tend to cover in core programs.


Proposal Number: 145
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Reason in the Age of Informatics: A Newer Brave World
Core Text:
Aldous Huxley Brave New World
Abstract:
The demand for the products of science, better health care, new medicines, new technology, are endemic to society. Our consumer culture accelerates, threatening to steamroll those who take the time to consider environmental, social, ethical, or moral consequences of this culture. The recent claims of Chinese scientists producing the first genetically modified human, or the sale of genetic information by 23 and Me to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, are only the most recent examples of society being squarely in the midst of an age of informatics, like a fictional dystopia, designing a world similar to that of the World State motto of Huxley’s Brave New World, Community, Identity, Stability. This age of informatics threatens to eliminate emotion and empathy, and leave only a world governed by reason.


Proposal Number: 144
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: “Inventive and Mobile” Identities: Teaching Herodotus’s The Histories in the Core Classroom
Core Text:
Herodotus' The Histories
Abstract:
As numerous scholars have pointed out, Herodotus’s Histories continues to exert enormous influence on understandings of otherness, whether constructed around conceptualizations of the “barbarian,” the “feminine,” or religious practices (Blok 2002; Dewald 1981; Dominick 2007; Munson 2001). Herodotus’s narrative is particularly instructive in the core classroom, as an ancient text that raises the question of how/in what ways we perceive otherness. Herodotus’s depictions of Egyptian culture (everything from burial practices to forms of public greeting) form a particularly resonant base for discussions of the ways in which Western cultural presumptions of homogeneity and cultural superiority are both reified and rejected vis-à-vis Herodotus’s speculative narrative methodology. In a semester that includes another foundational Western text, Plato’s Republic, The Histories provides my students a useful corrective to their initial assumption that ancient texts suffer from political blind-spots that contemporary texts have resolved. Rather, as I present Herodotus to my students, this is a text that queries through its proto-ethnographic lens how and in what ways we define cultural difference/sameness and, quite clearly, what it means to look into another culture for definition of one’s own heritage and direction.


Proposal Number: 143
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Aristotle is the Aristotle of James Baldwin
Core Text:
Sonny's Blues; Aristotle's Poetics
Abstract:
My paper argues that part of James Baldwin’s expression of the experience of racism has its intellectual roots in the Western tradition, in particular in the theory of catharsis that emerges out of Aristotle’s Poetics. Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” presents the pain and suffering of racism—the racist violence of drunken white men targeting and running over the narrator’s uncle in the 1920s South, the redlining of 1950s Harlem, and heroin addiction as a manifestation of the despair of young black men at “the low ceiling of their actual possibilities” in a culture of educational and job discrimination. Yet the short story also presents a theory of jazz/the blues as an art capable of purging the African-American community of their suffering and thus renewing and restoring their ability to struggle against the racist “world” that waits “outside, as hungry as a tiger.” Sonny’s blues, like the communal storytelling of his parents’ generation and the gospel music of a Harlem street revival that he and his brother (the unnamed narrator) witness, gives form to the ill-defined feeling or emotion that Aristotle calls pathos and that in Harlem is the ill-defined effect of the trauma of racism.


Proposal Number: 142
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Justice as a Mean in Aristotle's Ethics
Core Text:
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Abstract:
Aristotle’ famously teaches in the Nicomachean Ethics that every virtue is a mean between two vices. But there is an exception to this: justice is a mean between doing injustice, which is a vice, and being done injustice, which is not; it therefore does not square with the broader doctrine of the mean that Aristotle articulates in Book II. The paper argues that this deviation is deliberate on Aristotle’s part and that he calls attention to it, and then tries to show how this problem requires one to rethink Aristotle's doctrine of moral virtue generally.


Proposal Number: 140
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Gilgamesh and Race
Core Text:
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Abstract:
The Gilgamesh Epic frequently serves as the starting point of a great books or world literature survey in the modern university. The epic’s themes of friendship, loss, and coming of age are poignant and powerful; however, the text was also used throughout Mesopotamia to justify the brutal policies of ancient empire, as attested by the numerous copies of the epic in Ashurbanipal’s library at Nineveh. This paper will exam the so-called “Taming of Enkidu” in Tablets I-II of the Gilgamesh Epic through the lens of the racial formation theory developed by Michael Omi and Howard Winant and then juxtapose this analysis with the imperial propaganda of various NeoAssyrian kings. What emerges through such a reading is a rhetoric of violence against those seen as uncivilized and a justification for the subjugation of peoples and resources deemed underutilized by the city dwellers of Mesopotamia.


Proposal Number: 136
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Nietzsche and Shafarevich: Christianity and Nihilism
Core Text:
Nietzsche's The Antichrist, Shafarevich's The Socialist Phenomenon
Abstract:
Nietzsche predicted a crisis of nihilism precipitated by the enlightenment's erosion of Christianity. Yet in his Socialist Phenomenon, Shafarevich argues socialism to be a manifestation of nihilism, compelled by the same vengeful and anti-life sentiments Nietzsche speaks of. Is modern socialism merely a new emanation of the same nihilist animus Nietzsche ascribes to Christianity, or are Christianity and socialism antithetical, as Shafarevich - and socialist ideology itself- seem to claim? I wish to explore and attempt to resolve this paradox.


Proposal Number: 134
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: A Humean Approach to Democracy in a Post-Truth Age
Core Text:
David Hume, Treatise of Hume Nature
Abstract:
There are reasons to be concerned about the quality of democratic politics in a “post-truth” age. Modes of communication such as fake/false news, rumors, hoaxes, political lying are reckoned to degrade the quality of democratic deliberation and thereby to undermine consent-based institutions. In this paper I intend to treat such arguments skeptically, as they unwittingly tend to reinforce popular exceptionalist myths about American liberal democracy. Relying instead on David Hume’s approach to politics—as elaborated in Book III of his Treatise of Human Nature and in his Essays—I argue that attention should be focused on the formation of sound political opinions as the true basis for government. The greatest danger posed by post-truth forms of communication is not that it stymies deliberation or that it erodes consent, but rather that it encourages a political partisanship that can degenerate into fanaticism and ultimately despotism.


Proposal Number: 131
Date: 2018-12-31
Paper Title: Art and Politics in Solzhenitsyn's In the First Circle
Core Text:
A.I. Solzhenitsyn _In the First Circle_
Abstract:
Solzhenitsyn's novel In the First Circle contains an extended examination of the relationship between art and politics. My paper will discuss the key aspects of his treatment, with a special emphasis on the place of art in a despotic regime and the rightful place of an artist as a leader of a "second government" in a modern, ideological tyranny.


Proposal Number: 130
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John as Canon and Critique
Core Text:
Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
Abstract:
In this paper, I argue that teaching the classic postcolonial novel Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid offers "core text" programs an opportunity to explore a text that fits within the canon but also engages in a thoughtful critique of it. Kincaid's novel takes as its intertext texts accepted as central to the Western canon, such as Paradise Lost, and is generically recognizable as a bildungsroman. At the same time, the overall structure of the novel as well as its protagonist raise important questions about what happens when the canon is used as a colonizing tool. The novel's appropriation of aspects of the canon as well as its rejection of many of its more insidious ideas and values can offer students of core texts a model for how to grapple with their own potentially fraught relationship with the canon as contemporary readers.


Proposal Number: 129
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Group Annihilation: The Roots of Genocide
Core Text:
Excerpts from Plutarch and Josephus
Abstract:
Using excerpts from the writings of Plutarch, Josephus and other ancient chroniclers, an exploration of several historical accounts of genocide or threats of genocide and their associated justifications will be pursued. These readings would facilitate group discussion of both historical and modern-day genocide and its possible root causes. Exploring the ideas of dehumanization and labeling could provoke dialogue about current day political incivility and loss of justice for individual action, with a foray into the research of Dr. Lasana Harris (University College London) and Dr. David Eagleman (Stanford University).


Proposal Number: 128
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Evil and God's Existence: Aquinas's Hope-filled Response
Core Text:
Aquinas, 'Summa theologiae'
Abstract:
In Thomas Aquinas’s treatment of God’s existence in the 'Summa theologiae' (I, q. 2, a. 3), one of the two objections he presents—and, it appears, the root objection—is the “problem of evil,” namely, the view that God’s existence is incompatible with the presence of evil in the world. Aquinas’s reply is brief, but nuanced, not so much providing a solution to the problem as opening up our thinking to a hope-filled response to evil. The obstacle in the objector’s thinking lies in a metaphysically inadequate 'logos' or 'ratio' (i.e., articulated notion) of God coupled with a too logical conception of evil. This paper explores Aquinas’s reply to the problem of evil, focusing especially on the “default limits” of our thinking the existence of a God adequately.


Proposal Number: 127
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Aristotle, Buddha, and the Contemporary American College Student: Wisdom and Morality Across Time and Space
Core Text:
Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle) and Sigalavada Sutta (Buddha)
Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to put Aristotle and the Buddha in conversation regarding the age-old question, how should I best live? Specifically, I will offer a brief analysis of Aristotle's “Nicomachean Ethics” with particular emphasis on a practical ethics firmly grounded in the realities of human nature and daily life. Just as Aristotle explored the question of what is good living, centuries before on the Indian subcontinent a wandering renunciant, the Buddha, also examined the question of “what is the good life,” arriving at startling similar conclusions to those of the later Greek philosopher. Themes that will be explored, and that particularly resonate with college students, include social relationships and friendship, conduct and actions, and the nature of happiness. By putting Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” and the Buddha’s “Sigalavada Sutta” in conversation, this paper aims to show college students how ways of seeing, understanding, and living in the world are as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago—and as applicable in the West as they are (and were) in the East.


Proposal Number: 126
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 124
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Looking for the logos of life: order and disorder
Core Text:
Erwin Schrodinger. What is Life?
Abstract:
Schrodinger’s lectures from 1943, subtitled, The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell, provide a basis for discussing aspects of biology that cross the lines between both the life sciences and the physical sciences and between the sciences and humanities. He brings up questions about living versus non-living matter, order versus disorder, chance versus necessity and information versus meaning in the course of his discussion. These issues still underlie much of the most interesting thinking about the nature of life, even after seventy-five years of revelatory biological research The question’ “What is Life?” remains compelling to twenty-first century students and teachers.


Proposal Number: 123
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Providence and Politics: Moses and Lincoln Face God During Civil War
Core Text:
Exodus 32-24, Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
Abstract:
In chapters 32-34 of the Book of Exodus (commonly called "the golden calf episode"), Moses undergoes a double transformation. As a political leader, he puts down a rebellion by violent means - effectively directing a civil war - and emerges in a far more remote position vis-a-vis the people he leads ("And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him."). As an individual man confronting his own existential condition, he demands from God a deeper encounter - and has his request partially fulfilled. I propose to examine the relationship between these two transformations by doing a close analysis of the text and by considering the analogous situation of Abraham Lincoln when he composed the Second Inaugural Address.


Proposal Number: 122
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Was Machiavelli a Necromancer?
Core Text:
The Prince
Abstract:
There is a famous letter written by Niccolò Machiavelli to his friend Francesco Vettori on December 10th, 1513 in which the political theorist describes a typical day in exile at his country home. He describes how, at the end of each day, he puts on his robes, enters his private study, and converses with the dead. We often read this famous anecdote as a romantic metaphor for what it is like to read great books. However, I would like to propose that Machiavelli is, in fact, comparing himself to a necromancer or a conjurer in this moment. How does Machiavelli’s representation of himself as someone who can “raise the dead” shape our understanding of the political philosopher’s broader project?


Proposal Number: 121
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Bringing Plato to the People: The Philosophy as a Way of Life Approach
Core Text:
Plato's Republic
Abstract:
The Philosophy as a Way of Life approach is an innovative pedagogy inspired by Hellenistic and Roman traditions. This approach helps students understand how to apply the liberal arts by making philosophy relevant to their everyday lives. This paper explores the benefits and challenges of teaching certain Core Texts using this approach at a public open enrollment university.


Proposal Number: 42
Date: 2018-12-30
Paper Title: Much Ado About Something
Core Text:
Much Ado About Nothing
Abstract:
Paper Title:Much Ado About Something The plot of Much Ado About Nothing is based on one of the loosest loose ends in Shakespeare's works. Lewis Carroll famously called it "a 'hero-ic' mystery": namely, where was Hero that night, if not in her room, and why doesn't she, or Beatrice, provide an alibi? Many critics presume it is either an oversight on Shakespeare's part, or something an audience wouldn't notice because they are captivated by the Beatrice-Benedick subplot. But a close comparison of the situation in Act I, with the upshot of the drama, reveals, I believe, a more purposeful device.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Panel: Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair?
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 120
Date: 2018-12-29
Paper Title: Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments: Wondering about the Past
Core Text:
Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments
Abstract:
In Philosophical Fragments, Soren Kierkegaard explains that we often (mistakenly) believe that the past is certain and familiar—after all, it has happened and cannot be changed—and, therefore, that the past is something that we can know with some certainty. But, he claims, when we reflect on the past, we quickly realize that the past is the most uncertain and unfamiliar thing of all and that we cannot, in fact, know it with certainty. As result, we can only truly apprehend the past through wonder (the kind of philosophical wonder that was so loved by Plato and Aristotle) and through belief. In this paper, we will explore the following questions: Why does Kierkegaard claim that we cannot know the past? Why are wonder and belief (rather than knowledge) the best means through which we can apprehend the past? How does Kierkegaard’s view of the past help us to relate to the past (both our individual past and our collective historical past) in our own present day?


Proposal Number: 119
Date: 2018-12-29
Paper Title: Seneca on Liberal Education
Core Text:
Seneca's Letter LXXXVIII
Abstract:
Liberal education is commonly defined as the pursuit of knowledge for it own sake, as opposed to the pursuit of knowledge as a means to other ends. John Henry Newman, for example, argued that liberal education is based on the principles that “Knowledge is capable of being its own end,” and that “any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward.” Seneca challenged this view of liberal education in his Letter LXXXVIII, “On Liberal and Vocational Studies”: “this unseemly pursuit of the liberal arts makes men troublesome, wordy, tactless, self-satisfied bores, who fail to learn the essentials just because they have learned the non-essentials.” Through a close reading of Seneca’s letter, this paper will argue that liberal education is best understood not as the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, but the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of wisdom.


Proposal Number: 118
Date: 2018-12-29
Paper Title: Relationships in Modern Physics and Literature
Core Text:
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse and Max Born, Einstein's Relativity Theory and its Physical Foundation
Abstract:
Both Virginia Woolf in To the Lighthouse and Max Born in Einstein's Relativity Theory and its Physical Foundations consider the internal perspective of different actors. Both examine the relationships among these various perspectives in constructing an adequate inter-personal depiction of reality, and both seek to move beyond the trap of the absolute certainty found in subjective experience. For Woolf the way out seems to be art while for Born the answer is found in measurement and mathematics. This paper will explore the ways that two very different disciplines deal with a similar problem found in modernist thought.


Proposal Number: 117
Date: 2018-12-29
Paper Title: The Transcendent Hell of Sophistry
Core Text:
Plato's Euthydemus
Abstract:
Socrates willingly plunges himself into the depths of sophistic argument (courtesy of the ludicrous pair of sophists, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus), and discovers a marvel. He later reports his discovery to Crito (at Crito's prompting), as well as his desire that he and Crito enroll in school with Euthydemus and Dionysodorus; because they are old, they will need to use Crito's children as bait. While most scholars assuming Socrates is being ironic, he never takes back his assertion that the two sophists are the wisest men alive--gods, even. Is there something serious in sophistry's frivolity, when its sarcastic narration is made into a dramatic narration?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Katabasis I: Katabasis in Antiquity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 116
Date: 2018-12-29
Paper Title: A Black Woman Speaks... to White Feminists
Core Text:
A Black Woman Speaks by B. Richards; African Religion and Philosophies by J. Mibiti
Abstract:
By combining Mbiti's s African explanation of time with the poetic performance of Richard's "A Black Woman Speaks", we solicit a candid discussion of race and power between white and black women. The performative paper lays bare racist's roots in the feminist movement, and shares the heartbreak of a divided sisterhood.


Proposal Number: 115
Date: 2018-12-28
Paper Title: Reasoned Discourse and the Love of Beauty in Plato's Phaedrus
Core Text:
Phaedrus
Abstract:
In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates illustrates that in contrast to rhetorical speech, dialectical speech, which seeks the truth, begins by providing a clear definition of the thing to be discussed, this definition being its idea or form. Grasping the idea, however, requires that one experience love. Speaking mythically rather than dialectically, Socrates says that when a person sees a particular example of beauty in the visible world, “remembering the true beauty,” reason, as a charioteer of the soul, longs to be drawn up by the horses of passion to “the region beyond heaven” where the ideas are beheld, the soul’s experience of this longing for upward flight to the idea is love. The Phaedrus, therefore, I will argue, brings to light the connection, through love, of the dialectical and the metaphysical, reasoned discourse and the ontological.


Proposal Number: 114
Date: 2018-12-28
Paper Title: Meditation, Metaphor— the discourses of the human relationship to the natural world in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Core Text:
Ceremony, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Abstract:
“The logical understanding cannot get to work without the aid of the aesthetic imagination,” wrote H. Wildon Carr. In this paper, two important works of aesthetic imagination about humanity’s relationship to nature will be compared for the ways that they speak to one another across difference, creating models for new intercultural discourses on the urgent logic of conserving and honoring the environment and animal life. Though the map of the territory of nature continues to be redrawn in the era of the Anthropocene, the language in these two core texts describes the mechanisms for renewal (in humans, and in nature) as being tied to every person’s dedication to developing an aesthetic, and moral, imagination about the natural world.


Proposal Number: 113
Date: 2018-12-28
Paper Title: “Life, Natality, Thought”
Core Text:
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
Abstract:
It may appear on an initial reading that Arendt privileges the stability of work and the novelty of action over the cyclical and often painful sphere of life and labor. Some have suggested that Arendt is simply following an Aristotelian hierarchy that demotes life to the sphere of necessity, elevating the freedom found in action and ultimately in thought. However, in this paper I hope to unearth ways in which life shows up in putatively higher kinds of human activity: in the condition of natality that grounds action and in the uncanny resemblance that bare living has to the activity of thinking. What we find in Arendt is therefore a strange affinity between the high and the low.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Hannah Arendt and the Vita Activa
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt distinguishes three basic dimensions of the vita activa: labor, work, and action. Labor maintains biological life and reproduction through the repetitious use of instruments. Work bestows durability upon made things within a human world. Action appears in speech, whether in political or social life, because of the plurality of human relations not mediated by made things or nature. This panel will consider the shapes and implications of vita activa, especially highlighting labor’s relation to natality, worldliness manifest in the work of art, and action as it shows itself in promises and forgiveness. We welcome an additional panelist.


Proposal Number: 111
Date: 2018-12-28
Paper Title: Illumination: Medieval and Modern
Core Text:
Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia
Abstract:
What does it mean to illuminate a text? This paper presents an assignment that asks students to study manuscript and illustrated editions of Dante's Divina Commedia, then to illuminate a portion of the text using their own methods. In this endeavor, students are free to follow their own insights, interests, and experience levels in their illumination--a class session is dedicated to learning to use medieval tools and materials of the trade, but they are also free to re-envision the concept of illumination for a contemporary audience. This talk will examine the ways in which the medium influences the message in an enhanced edition of Dante's epic and how the process of creating an illuminated edition can impact students' engagement with narrative.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Creativity and the Core Curriculum
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will explore the application of creative pedagogical strategies within core text courses. As the United States political climate grows ever more divisive, models for productive intellectual debate play an increasingly vital role in public welfare. Core courses that frame their syllabi as records of intellectual conversations that unfold across the divides of time, language, culture, and medium can be especially useful in this regard, showcasing elegant possibilities for discourse, disagreement, and even rebellion. Creative assignments within core courses can further encourage and empower students to add their voices to the conversation. With creative responses to texts, students go beyond the roles of witness and investigator to become authors and artists operating from within the tradition. We thereby retain the beauty of the intellectual lineage while opening its borders in vital ways to new voices, including those of populations who have been historically excluded from the boundaries of the canon.


Proposal Number: 109
Date: 2018-12-27
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Approaches to Philosophy: Ancient and Modern
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Why do the ancients and the moderns appear significantly different? There will be two potential answers to this question presented by our five panelists. Some will argue that the difference is superficial. That is, that the modern philosophers are as clear-sighted about the fundamental questions as the ancient philosophers, but have tailored their "teachings" to the changed, and changing, political situation. Other panelists will argue that the moderns are not as clear-sighted as the ancient philosophers and their impoverished view produced impoverished teachings, teachings whose end-result is a materialistic "joyless quest for joy."


Proposal Number: 108
Date: 2018-12-27
Paper Title: Why Did Raskolnikov Do It? Adventures in Existential Roleplaying in the Core Books Classroom.
Core Text:
Crime and Punishment
Abstract:
Dostoevsky's disquieting masterpiece has been described as an existential thought experiment disguised as a detective novel, a "why-did-he-do-it" that expertly appropriates the techniques of a whodunit. In order to explore, not only the ways in which Dostoevsky deploys those techniques, but also the questions about human nature that his novel gives rise to, the author of this paper designed a 2 hour roleplaying exercise in which students put Raskolnikov on trial, and attempt to assess, not whether he committed the murders, but the reason why he did what he did. This paper explains the thought process behind the design of this exercise, and also presents some of the lessons learned by both instructor and students during four years of its implementation in a Core Books class at Columbia University.


Proposal Number: 106
Date: 2018-12-27
Paper Title: Dante’s Paradiso and the Modern world
Core Text:
Dante Paradiso
Abstract:
The structure and logic of Dante’s Paradiso have been a matter of debate. This paper will argue for a logic of nature perfecting grace by which the cardinal virtues are transformed into the theological virtues, which are then the basis for an ascent of perfection and unity into a divine that exceeds the human. In this process, the ancient standpoint is transformed by an “infinitization” that, it will be argued, forms the basis for a modern notion of the self. In short, Dante will be read as completing the medieval work of ascent to the divine and by doing so forming the basis for a new Renaissance or modern self that will underline the modern world. In this the logos made flesh is seen to underlie the nature of modernity.


Proposal Number: 103
Date: 2018-12-27
Paper Title: “’Verweile doch, du bist so schön!’ The Ecstatic Gaze in Wharton’s Age of Innocence”
Core Text:
The Age of Innocence
Abstract:
Goethe’s Faust (conjured by way of Gounod’s operatic version), is the Manhattan bedrock text upon which Wharton builds her airy vision of Old New York. On his quest for the perfect mate, Newland Archer finds his virginal Diana/Gretchen in May Welland, but then shifts his gaze to Helen-like Ellen Olenksa, the novel’s dark temptress as well as Archer’s Mephistopholean gal pal. This presentation examines Archer’s focalizing gaze in the famous opera scenes, Wharton’s predilection for the visual throughout, and Archer’s doomed quest for his transcendent Ideal Moment. Edwin M Moseley (1959) has called the novel Wharton’s “Weak Faust,” and there is some truth to that label.


Proposal Number: 102
Date: 2018-12-27
Paper Title: Arendt on Forgiveness
Core Text:
Hannah Arendt The Human Condition
Abstract:
In the chapter of The Human Condition on Action, Hannah Arendt identifies two problematic features of human action: because they take place within a web of human relations, such actions are necessarily unpredictable and irreversible in their outcomes and effects. Action has a goal but can be too easily thwarted in achieving it by virtue of the very conditions under which action takes place. However, Arendt then identifies two possibilities which themselves have the character of action: promises and forgiveness. In this paper, I seek to explore that relation and the ways in which Arendt sees forgiveness as a genuinely new and spontaneous event that best displays what she calls human natality, the “central category of political thought’’ (9)

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Hannah Arendt and the Vita Activa
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt distinguishes three basic dimensions of the vita activa: labor, work, and action. Labor maintains biological life and reproduction through the repetitious use of instruments. Work bestows durability upon made things within a human world. Action appears in speech, whether in political or social life, because of the plurality of human relations not mediated by made things or nature. This panel will consider the shapes and implications of vita activa, especially highlighting labor’s relation to natality, worldliness manifest in the work of art, and action as it shows itself in promises and forgiveness. We welcome an additional panelist.


Proposal Number: 93
Date: 2018-12-27
Paper Title: The Substance of Creation: Parallels in the Navajo Creation Story and the book of Genesis
Core Text:
Genesis, Navajo Creation Story
Abstract:
This paper compares the creation story of the Navajo people with that of the Hebrews in Genesis. Sharing an extraordinary beauty, full of light, color, and images both commonplace and strange, both stories also present an elemental creation, emphasizing water, light, cloud, and seed, as well as fundamental ideas of place and of home. Philosophically, both stories assert that principles or forms of existence were prior to the actual existence of things, plants, or animals, and that, for instance, the male and female existed prior to man and woman. These physical and metaphysical parallels reveal a shared philosophical perspective, a common attitude toward the natural, a common value system, and perhaps a common humanity.


Proposal Number: 96
Date: 2018-12-26
Paper Title: The Beauty Contest
Core Text:
Xenophon’s Symposium
Abstract:
In Xenophon’s Symposium Socrates engages in a beauty contest with the handsome Critobolus, a contest in which Critobolus agrees that beautiful things include those well adapted by nature or by art “with a view to the things we need.” After Socrates argues that his own bulging eyes, upturned nose and big lips are therefore more beautiful, the contest is settled with a secret vote. But Socrates implies playfully that the preference of the voters for Critobolus is not just. In this paper I will explore the implications of the beauty contest: is beauty independent of utility?


Proposal Number: 95
Date: 2018-12-26
Paper Title: “By the Love that moves the sun and other stars”: Different Depictions of caritas in the Undergraduate Seminar from Dante to Garcia Marquez
Core Text:
Dante's Commedia, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, O'Connor's “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera
Abstract:
Dante’s Divina Commedia provides a useful context or “frame” for a discussion of caritas in literature from the Middle Ages to the present day. Dante can initiate an examination of love – lust, romantic love, caritas – and provide ways to analyze/compare depictions of love by important authors. Jane Austen, Flannery O’Connor, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez explain and define these different kinds of love, illuminating Dante’s experience and expanding our understanding of love, in particular, caritas.


Proposal Number: 92
Date: 2018-12-24
Paper Title: Teaching The Ring of the Dove in “Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy"
Core Text:
The Ring of the Dove
Abstract:
The Literature Humanities syllabus skips almost 1,000 years between Augustine’s Confessions and Dante’s Inferno. By creatively thinking about syllabus design as a method of inclusive pedagogy, I teach The Ring of the Dove by Ibn Ḥazm, a medieval Arabic-Islamic love treatise from the Iberian Peninsula, to represent the missing millennium. The inclusion of Arabic-Islamic literature within the geographic and temporal parameters of the syllabus empowers students to critically engage the syllabus. Through a literary engagement with Islam and Arabic in Europe, students raise important questions about the construction of western identity and the western canon; the idea of the Dark Ages; the role of Arabic in the medieval world and western literature; and contemporary arguments about civilizational borders.


Proposal Number: 91
Date: 2018-12-24
Paper Title: The Problem and Promise of Dignity
Core Text:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Abstract:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights begins with the principle of inherent human dignity. The primacy of that principle was a spiritual recoiling from the genocidal crimes of World War II. Did time and distance from those crimes lessen its moral and rational strength or does dignity still have an attractive force in the hearing of students today? This paper will consider the effectiveness as a collegiate seminar reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially in its advocacy of human dignity,


Proposal Number: 90
Date: 2018-12-23
Paper Title: The Fresh Prince: Generational Perspectives on American Presidents
Core Text:
The Prince
Abstract:
Those with political ambitions thrive on urgency and emotion, which makes it easy to position every election in the United States as the "most important" in a generation without the electorate taking into account the cold fact that politics has always contained elements of blatant manipulation and populism. To better understand how this works, one need only critically analyze and superimpose the themes explored in Machiavelli's masterpiece The Prince onto the American electoral process over an extended period of time. Using this core text to illumine the relationship between leaders and the led, I have merged the ideas contained therein with an oral history project spanning living memory from 1928 to the present, which was conducted to discover if there is any generational consensus on which election results have actually been pivotal and why. The resulting paper reflects the perspectives of people of various ages who have engaged in American politics over decades and thus ultimately records surprising intersections in generational memory about which politicians have really made meaningful marks on the country, while also showing the verities of a centuries-dead Italian who understood the interplay of human nature and power.


Proposal Number: 89
Date: 2018-12-22
Paper Title: Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy – The Uncertain Boundaries of Western Scientific Thought
Core Text:
Werner Heisenberg's Physics and Philosophy
Abstract:
Werner Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy is a reflection on the Western scientific tradition and a meditation on how science must change as it encounters both its own limitations and the broader non-Western world. Heisenberg points out that just as scientific understanding can influence the culture it inhabits, culture can and does influence science. This paper attempts to illustrate Heisenberg’s argument and to make a case for Physics and Philosophy as an accessible inter-disciplinary text suitable for scientists and non-scientists alike.


Proposal Number: 88
Date: 2018-12-21
Paper Title: The Work of Art and Other Minds
Core Text:
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
Abstract:
The immediate source of work of art is, in Arendt’s view, “the human capacity for thought” (168). I want to test out how a sensuous and relatively permanent art object is evidence of thought and sustains a human world. What does the artifact contribute to our understanding of ourselves as thinkers? While Arendt emphasizes the experience of makers and their things, can the work of art overcome Cartesian doubt to confirm other minds in viewers’ experience?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Hannah Arendt and the Vita Activa
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt distinguishes three basic dimensions of the vita activa: labor, work, and action. Labor maintains biological life and reproduction through the repetitious use of instruments. Work bestows durability upon made things within a human world. Action appears in speech, whether in political or social life, because of the plurality of human relations not mediated by made things or nature. This panel will consider the shapes and implications of vita activa, especially highlighting labor’s relation to natality, worldliness manifest in the work of art, and action as it shows itself in promises and forgiveness. We welcome an additional panelist.


Proposal Number: 87
Date: 2018-12-21
Paper Title: Democratic Deliberation for Aristotle to Publius and Beyond
Core Text:
Aristotle, POLITICS; THE FEDERALIST PAPERS
Abstract:
We spend a lot of time in America making political participation--that is, voting--as easy as possible. By comparing and contrasting two views of democratic "deliberation"--Aristotle's POLITICS and THE FEDERALIST PAPERS--I wish to explore the cases for and against making every effort to "get out the vote." Among the issues that will emerge from this consideration are that of the kind of good we pursue in politics (common or private) and what it means to be an "informed voter."


Proposal Number: 86
Date: 2018-12-21
Paper Title: The Multicultural City: Did Aristotle Think It Was Desirable or Even Possible?
Core Text:
Aristotle, The Politics
Abstract:
A number of contemporary political theorists view the establishment of a multi-cultural society as a desirable political good. In her award-winning and highly influential work, Justice and the Politics of Difference, Iris Marion Young argues, for example, that government cannot secure each citizen's right to self-development and self-expression outside of a multicultural environment. After providing a concise overview of Young's political theory, the paper will transition to Book III of Aristotle's Politics, which includes a discussion of what actually makes a city what it is. Finally, the paper will advance the argument that Aristotle did not think a multicultural political community was either desirable or possible.


Proposal Number: 85
Date: 2018-12-21
Paper Title: The Philosopher's Disguise: A Reflection on the Purpose of Poetry in Plato's Republic.
Core Text:
Plato, Republic
Abstract:
In Plato's city in speech, philosophy is argued to be the rightful king. However, even in this idealistic establishment, philosophy lacks the persuasive power to claim this right and is regarded as useless by the city. Because poetry bypasses reason, it has the power to inculcate teachings in its audience without their notice. This paper will explore the way in which poetry acts as a disguise by which philosophical teachings are smuggled into the city.


Proposal Number: 81
Date: 2018-12-21
Paper Title: Monsters of Modernity & Modernism: Shelley's Frankenstein and Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog
Core Text:
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Mikhail Bulgakov Heart of a Dog
Abstract:
Shelley and Bulgakov each create characters who view the modern world and its promised advances darkly. If both authors are critical, they also offer alternative views of human nature and what it requires to become human. While Shelley is damning in her critique of Dr. Frankenstein as the irresponsible creator, Bulgakov remains surprisingly playful as he whimsically imagines how modernity's evils might be reversed. What do these modern monsters show us about visions of progress and their unintended consequences?


Proposal Number: 79
Date: 2018-12-20
Paper Title: Civility and Civil Discourse: Two Ancients and a Modern
Core Text:
Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France
Abstract:
This paper explores the meaning of civility in Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. Specifically, it examines the nuanced meaning of "prejudice" in Burkean parlance, and how prejudice is not a default point of conflict in civil discourse. Burke's understanding of civility stands in the traditions of both Aristotle and Augustine. Yet, he also anticipates what the loss of prejudice civil discourse could mean for moderns.


Proposal Number: 78
Date: 2018-12-20
Paper Title: The Use and Abuse of Aristotle's Theory of Slavery
Core Text:
Aristotle's Politics
Abstract:
Aristotle's defense of slavery in the opening chapters of the Politics often alienates readers and leaves them wondering how a philosopher who held views such as these could be a source of political or philosophical insight. Scholars have tended to respond in one of several ways when they have not simply ignored the issue of slavery: by attempting to unmask Aristotle's theory as the product of a reactionary ideology; by attempting to defend Aristotle on the grounds that he does not hold the views that a superficial reading of his text would suggest; or by approaching the theory of 'natural slavery' for the light it might shed on other, more attractive aspects of Aristotle's philosophy. This paper briefly considers the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches before focusing its attention on a more fundamental issue: Aristotle's analysis of the master-slave relation itself. I argue that Aristotle incisively articulates the exploitative character of this relation, and that while his defense of this relation inevitably distances his thought from anything most readers today could accept, his analysis of it continues to offer an illuminating way to think not only about slavery, but about justice and injustice more broadly.


Proposal Number: 76
Date: 2018-12-20
Paper Title: Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes on Deliberation
Core Text:
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan
Abstract:
To understand both Aristotle’s and Thomas Hobbes’ conception of human nature, one must understand their conceptions of how man deliberates. This is because for both Hobbes and Aristotle, all voluntary actions follow the process of deliberation, which necessarily involves an end and a train of thoughts conducive to attaining that end, or until the end be found to be impossible. Both conceptions of deliberation therefore involve both reason and desire. This is not to deny that there may be differences, but the differences can be nuanced, and may in fact upon closer examination be discovered to be more superficial than fundamental.


Proposal Number: 73
Date: 2018-12-19
Paper Title: The Idea of Absolute Space By Newton
Core Text:
Principia
Abstract:
If we look around, we will see immediately that the world is full of motions. However, are they real motions? The motion could just be an illusion caused by my point of reference. This paper tries to investigate Newton's method of determining real motions and real space or place.


Proposal Number: 71
Date: 2018-12-19
Paper Title: Assessing Postwar's End with Kant's Perpetual Peace
Core Text:
Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace
Abstract:
The paper examines, and relates, two uses for Kant's Perpetual Peace in a Western Civilization II core history course. The course first uses Kant's text to evoke aspects of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment project and then returns to the text in the course's final weeks to interrogate the ideal and the reality of the postwar reconstruction of Europe. In particular, the text offers a potentially productive way to think about both periodization in history and about how historians engage contemporary developments. In short, do constellation of events such as Brexit in the United Kingdom, the apparently increasing appeal of economic nationalism, greater authoritarianism in eastern Europe, and even Putinism in the Russian Federation mark the end of the Postwar period?


Proposal Number: 70
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: From a Day to a Thousand Years: Distorted Pregnancy Durations in the Mahabharata
Core Text:
Mahabharata
Abstract:
The Mahabharata’s thousands of pages are brimming with elements of the extraordinary and fantastical. One of these many oddities is the distortion of time that often accompanies pregnancies: expectant mothers are frequently subject to either extremely short or interminably long pregnancies, ranging in duration from a single day to a thousand years. I shall argue that in a text that centers on men and warriors, this motif reveals the subjective experience of women, magnifying the often sidelined struggles of motherhood and raising a moral defense for women who falter in dharma.


Proposal Number: 68
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida and the Debate between Ancients and Moderns
Core Text:
William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida
Abstract:
How is the reader intended to understand and respond emotionally to moments in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida such as Achilles’ slaying of Hector (especially the way it’s done) or Troilus’s extreme indignation at Cressida’s infidelity? Does the answer to this question turn on some account of moral virtue and its place in human life? And what, if any, conception of nature or reality as a whole is that account bound up with? The present paper seeks to shed light on such issues through an examination of pronouncements by Ulysses (e.g., his famous “degree” speech) and Hector which draw upon or allude to certain ancient and modern philosophical teachings of vital interest.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Love and War in Shakespeare: All is Fair?
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel focuses on the themes of love and war in some of the core texts of Shakespeare.


Proposal Number: 67
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: Group Annihilation: The Roots of Genocide
Core Text:
Excerpts from Plutarch and Josephus
Abstract:
Using excerpts from the writings of Plutarch and Josephus, students can explore some historical accounts of genocide or threats of genocide and their justifications. These readings could be used to facilitate group discussion of both historical and modern-day genocide and the root causes of such actions. Exploring the ideas of dehumanization and labeling could provoke dialogue about current day political incivility and loss of justice for individual action.


Proposal Number: 66
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: Friends without Benefits
Core Text:
Augustine's Confessions
Abstract:
Against a backdrop of recapitulating the mistakes and challenges of Aeneas’ journey towards founding Rome, Augustine narrates the journey of his own life as being freed from the chains and fires of lust, romance, and the irrational love of ones own, until he can finally reach the safe harbor of friendship with friends for their own sake. In so doing Augustine provides distinctions between our own passions that today are sorely lacking.


Proposal Number: 65
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: Plutarch’s “Life of Marcellus”: Art, Rashness, and the Problem of Technology
Core Text:
Plutarch's Lives
Abstract:
Modern technology seems to have accelerated time, diminished space and filled our lives with marvelous comforts. Even so, technological innovation appears to threaten our privacy, electoral integrity, and perhaps even our lives. Plutarch’s “Life of Marcellus,” which describes the Roman conquest of Syracuse, links Marcellus’ rashness to a critique of Archimedean technology that separates mechanics from geometry, as well as his acquisition of Greek art to adorn Rome. The key to understanding Plutarch’s “Life of Marcellus” and the critique of technology lies in the relation of rashness to courage.


Proposal Number: 64
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: Bacon’s Appeals to the Bible, Explicit and Latent
Core Text:
Bacon's Works (New Organon, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, Essays, Wisdom of the Ancients, etc.)
Abstract:
Francis Bacon appeals to the Bible in many of his works. His explicit appeals to the Bible tend to orient and justify the divisions among the sciences, along with bolstering some of his scientific speculations; he even cites in support of such claims the eternal “Logos of the Lord.” The intention of his latent appeals, however, remain difficult to interpret. The task of this essay is to provide examples of both appeals to the Bible, with a mind to discern the rhetorical role they play in seeking to unify voices behind the towering ambitions of his scientific-technological project.


Proposal Number: 63
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: “Justice and Prudence in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War”
Core Text:
Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War
Abstract:
In this paper the author will consider two classical virtues, justice and prudence, as presented by Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War. Alongside bravery on the battlefield, to what extent do Thucydides' leading figures—Perikles, Brasidas, Nicias, Alcibiades, Demosthenes—receive praise for their prudential and just acts? To what extent does Thucydides praise or blame the actions of the few (oligos) or the people (demos) with respect to justice and prudence? How does Thucydides understand justice as it relates to war?


Proposal Number: 62
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: St. Augustine on the Doubtful Justice Requisite to the Greatness of Roman Virtue
Core Text:
St. Augustine's City of God
Abstract:
St. Augustine's defense of Christianity against pagan claims that the spirit of Christianity undermined Roman virtue in the face of barbarian depredations of Rome admits on the one hand the greatness of ancient Roman virtue while blaming Rome's decline on the decline of that virtue prior to the coming of Christ. In his complex treatment of Roman virtue, Augustine, following the classical Romans Cicero and Sallust, defines a republic as the affair of a built around justice. But Augustine's complex treatment of Roman virtue reveals that not only Roman justice but all political justice necessary to a people's harmonic unity falls short of true justice. Thus Augustine's analysis becomes both a Christian critique of all polities as well as a prudential warning against religious enthusiasts who seek to find the kingdom of God on earth.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Justice and Virtue in Ancient Political Thought
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Exploring Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, Thucydides Peloponnesian War, Xenophon's Education of Cyrus, and St. Augustine's City of God, this panel will identify the components of ancient virtue, in particular the place of justice. The panel will give special attention to the tensions between justice and the realities limiting the practice of justice to political justice, a defective departure from pure justice essential to human living and living well. By revealing the problematic foundation of pure justice and the dangerous results of its implementation, the great texts studied reveal both the depth of ancient thought on this issue and the perennial recurrence of this issue in human search for a justice political order.


Proposal Number: 61
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: Benjamin Franklin’s Reading of the Virtue Tradition
Core Text:
Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography
Abstract:
When Benjamin Franklin undertakes his ambitious plan for “moral perfection,” he names thirteen virtues he develops from “the various Enumerations of the moral Virtues I had met with in my Reading.” This presentation will therefore focus on Franklin’s reading of figures such as Aristotle and Aquinas, paying attention to the ways he revises previous virtue traditions to align with concepts of citizenship and success in America. By including descriptions of class activities that juxtapose Franklin with other thinkers and definitions of virtue, I will emphasize cultural changes and how core texts reflect a particular time and place.


Proposal Number: 60
Date: 2018-12-18
Paper Title: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Part 1: Socrates' Moral Insights in the Euthyphro and Apology
Core Text:
Plato's Euthyphro and Apology
Abstract:
The question "what would I do if the world was about to end?" is one way of attempting to achieve clarity about what is worth doing and what ought to be done. A second way is to consider what the good and wise have done when they faced the end of their lives and their worlds. Socrates' thoughts and actions in the Euthyphro and Apology as he approached his death are those of a good and wise person, and they are worthy of consideration because of the many moral truths they manifest.


Proposal Number: 59
Date: 2018-12-17
Paper Title: Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences I : Helping Students Find Meaning in a Brave New World
Core Text:
The Epic of Gilgamesh, Frankenstein, The Tempest, Brave New World
Abstract:
Dragging them out of the cave has never been more challenging in this technological New World in which we find ourselves. This new semester core course explores life’s biggest questions--What is Truth? What is Justice? What is it to be Human? What is the Good Life?--through a study of intellectual history. By engaging students at an open enrollment institution in an exploration of literary and philosophical core texts, I teach them how to apply a liberal arts foundation in their lifelong exploration of their own sense of meaning and purpose.


Proposal Number: 58
Date: 2018-12-17
Paper Title: Herodotus Does Study Abroad
Core Text:
Herodotus' Histories
Abstract:
Every year thousands of college students go on study abroad trips – overseas adventures that are sold as the most transformative parts of their education, a healthy challenge to their cultural assumptions, and an expansion of their worldview. But what are the real objectives of these trips, and how is a young traveler prepared to receive these experiences? This essay will turn to the father of all study abroad programs, Herodotus. It will assess the nature of wonder and the true challenge of travelling well: knowing ourselves well enough to know other peoples. Ultimately, the essay will argue for the place of travel in a liberal arts education and a life well lived.


Proposal Number: 57
Date: 2018-12-16
Paper Title: Who is a Hebrew
Core Text:
GEN 3!9
Abstract:
My question is not “Who are the Hebrews” but “Who is a Hebrew” Who uses the word? When do they use it? What do they intend when they use it?


Proposal Number: 56
Date: 2018-12-15
Paper Title: Genesis 3.19 in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
Core Text:
Genesis 3.19, Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
Abstract:
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address argues by deep biblical allusions for reconciliation, forgiveness and magnanimity. This paper inquires about his choice and use of Genesis 3.19 in that address. It attempts to explain the complexity of that verse and then trace its development in the Bible. Thereby it argues that understanding the Second Inaugural Address requires the close reading of Genesis.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Genesis as a Core Text: Studies in Honor of Robert Sacks
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel recalls the great contribution to core text reading made by St. John's College (Santa Fe) Emeritus Professor Robert Sacks beginning with his book about how to read the Bible, The Lion and The Ass. In his wake, panel participants have been engaged in close readings of Genesis and related core texts which they hope to discuss with other attendees. Genesis grounds much of our understanding of human beings and God as well as much of literature and political discourse. Papers will explore this claim with a variety of texts. The panel is open to any ACTC member who would like to give a paper in it on this topic and those interested are invited to contact either Terry Kleven or Ken Post with their ideas.


Proposal Number: 53
Date: 2018-12-12
Paper Title: Aristotle's Virtues in the Rhetoric
Core Text:
Aristotle, Rhetoric
Abstract:
Aristotle's virtues appear differently in the Rhetoric than they do in the Nicomachean Ethics. The virtue of justice, for example, is the subject of one of the three major kinds of rhetoric, though its discussion in the Rhetoric is not as comprehensive as that in the Ethics. The other virtues, moral and intellectual, are more closely related to how they appear than to how they operate. Are these things due to a rhetorical necessity? If so, why? And if not, is there a political or ethical reason for it?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Justice and Ancient Virtue
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
See Frank Rohmer, Chair


Proposal Number: 52
Date: 2018-12-11
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Civilization, Barbarism, and Rebarbarization
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Ever newer technologies and the continuing spread of equality gives the impression that this progress is somehow permanent. Yet the civilizational prerequisites which make this progress possible may disappear. This panel will use the works of several prominent thinkers (Thucydides, Montesquieu, Machiavelli, and Tolstoy) to think through 1. the nature of barbarism 2. the causes by which civilization is brought into existence, focusing specifically on the psychological transformation individuals must undergo 3. the possibility of rebarbarization and how this is brought about.


Proposal Number: 50
Date: 2018-12-11
Paper Title: John Locke and Religious Toleration
Core Text:
Letter Concerning Toleration
Abstract:
A state of confusion concerning toleration plagues contemporary democracies. Does political secularism mandate diversity or uniformity in civil life? Is “diversity” a strength or a threat to vibrant, enduring civil life? At bottom, does toleration require putting up with diverse others or affirming and celebrating habits of life alien to one’s own? Or does toleration ultimately depend on general indifference? These questions are not new. They date at least to 17th century England and the writings of John Locke. This essay will examine Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration (1689) and its account of these questions.


Proposal Number: 49
Date: 2018-12-11
Paper Title: Sickness and Healing: Student Reading Responses to The Plague, by Albert Camus
Core Text:
The Plague
Abstract:
In a Primary Texts course about Sickness and Healing, students were given a variety of ways to interact with the text, The Plague, by Albert Camus. From discussing the characters to Camus' philosophy, students struggled with the ambiguities of the text and their own reactions to the plot. Besides analyzing the text, students became in engaged in conversations about how different cultures deal with medical issues. Through the lens of my discipline, French, the class was able to learn about how health systems function in another country compared to their own, leading to larger discussion about the way we treat sickness and healing in the United States.


Proposal Number: 46
Date: 2018-12-07
Paper Title: Gained in Translation? Mitchell's Popularized World Scriptures
Core Text:
Bhagavad Gita; Tao Te Ching
Abstract:
Students and other readers often find Stephan Mitchell's "New Agey" translations of Eastern texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching more accessible and enjoyable to discuss than the translations of scholars offering translations more faithful to the original texts. This paper explores the issues and costs of raised in teaching sacred texts made more palatable to current political and philosophical sensibilities.


Proposal Number: 45
Date: 2018-12-06
Paper Title: Life Lessons from Core Texts: What I Teach and Why
Core Text:
Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Aquinas's On the Laws, Dante's Divine Comedy
Abstract:
What should students take away from an interdisciplinary Great Books course? I want my students to engage with life-enhancing ideas that can serve as guideposts in their life’s journey. What is worth learning? What is happiness? What is justice? How can you save your soul? These are lessons that Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Dante have to offer.


Proposal Number: 44
Date: 2018-12-06
Paper Title: Finding Meaning in Suffering: Teaching Frank's Man's Search for Meaning
Core Text:
Man's Search for Meaning
Abstract:
This paper will discuss my experience with teaching Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning in a primary text's course on the theme of illness, suffering and meaning. As a clinical psychologist, it was deeply meaningful to have an individual connection with each of my twenty-two students, facilitated both by whole-group discussions and individual feedback on written responses to prompts. With respect to the theme, Frankl was the father of Logotherapy, a discussion of which I will include in my paper. The paper will include a discussion of what "worked" in facilitating those individual connections, our team-taught approach, and challenges faced.


Proposal Number: 43
Date: 2018-12-05
Paper Title: Why Shakespeare has Achillles kill Hektor
Core Text:
Troilus and Cressida
Abstract:
The climax of Troilus and Cressida is Achilles' disgraceful killing of Hektor. Shakespeare's main sources depict Troilus as the victim of this act, not Hektor. This paper is an exploration of the dramatic consequences of this departure from the sources and offers some speculation for its rationale.


Proposal Number: 41
Date: 2018-12-04
Paper Title: For Love and Country: Marriage as Critique in Shakespeare's English History Tetralogies
Core Text:
Shakespeare's English History Tetralogies
Abstract:
In his English History Tetralogies, Shakespeare critiques four kings via his presentation of their decision to marry. Two of these kings--Henry VI and Edward IV--marry for love rather than for the good of their country. Two of them--Henry VII and Henry V--marry primarily for their country's wellbeing. Shakespeare presents the first choice as the improper elevation of a genuine private romantic ideal into the public realm, where it constitutes dereliction of kingly duty, whereas he presents the latter choice as the proper mode of action for a king responsible for the welfare of those under his rule.


Proposal Number: 39
Date: 2018-11-26
Paper Title: Plato’s Alcibiades: Katabatic Anabasis or Anabatic Katabasis?
Core Text:
Plato's Parmenides and Alcibiades
Abstract:
This paper will develop the connection between Plato's Parmenides and Alcibiades. The central question considered will be why Socrates' conversation with Alcibiades is the first after his conversation with Parmenides. Special attention will be paid to the connection between philosophic and political ambition and, likewise, the relationship between the problem of being and the question of what man is.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Katabasis I: Katabasis in Antiquity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Proposed by another attendant: Seemee Ali of Carthage College (sali@carthage.edu).


Proposal Number: 38
Date: 2018-11-25
Paper Title: Katabasis in Houston: The Rothko Chapel
Core Text:
Rothko Chapel
Abstract:
Entering the dark Rothko Chapel in Houston is a katabatic experience. This paper will consider the mimetic function of Mark Rothko's canvases, as well as the painter's decisive role in formulating the architecture of the space. I hope to elucidate Rothko's self-conscious participation in a tradition of artistic and philosophic representations of the tragic abyss. (The paper will be part of the "Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity" panel.)

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Katabasis I: Katabasis in Antiquity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel is the first of a two-part consideration of katabasis. This first panel will focus on themes concerning katabasis (and perhaps anabasis, too) in ancient philosophy and literature.


Proposal Number: 37
Date: 2018-11-25
Paper Title: Katabasis in Shakespeare's King Lear
Core Text:
Shakespeare's King Lear
Abstract:
In Shakespeare's _King Lear_, the theme of katabasis (with corresponding anabasis) is central, most especially for the twin characters, Edgar and Edmund. This paper will trace the movements of these characters along the vertical axis.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Katabasis II: Katabasis in Modernity This panel is the second of a two-part consideration of katabasis. This panel will focus on themes concerning katabasis (and perhaps anabasis, too) in some core texts in Modern Literature.


Proposal Number: 36
Date: 2018-11-25
Paper Title: Timeless Heroes, Timeless Stories in OER...
Core Text:
Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's Odyssey, etc.
Abstract:
The inner voice says to go out and explore; the world beckons--it’s an open road, yet society says a few things about staying around and being responsible. The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey have both themes. That’s the hero’s quest versus the village compound theme addressed by Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. So these themes, these truths, are part of the timeless currents of life, and most of what's in an ancient epic can be understood by the modern mind, for we also know that we create an identity through our story.


Proposal Number: 35
Date: 2018-11-23
Paper Title: A Text, A Painting, and A Trial: Re-Imagining Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus in an English 1302 Composition Class”
Core Text:
Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus
Abstract:
“A Text, A Painting, and A Trial: Re-Imagining Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus in an English 1302 Composition Class” In Oedipus Tyrannus, Sophocles offers multiple perspectives of the moment when Oedipus kills a man (Laius, who turns out to be his father) at the place where three roads meet. The Murder of Laius by Oedipus, a 19th century painting by Paul Joseph Blanc, is an intense and dramatic visual portrayal of this moment, and Blanc’s depiction raises questions and provides alternate perspectives about the fateful event. What happens when students compare and contrast these multiple perspectives in a search for the truth of Oedipus’s guilt or innocence? By allowing students to do so, I have witnessed the way in which a visual perspective can be a powerful catalyst for students to re-imagine, analyze, research and write about the text. My paper will discuss this assignment, which uses a hypothetical murder trial as the pretext for an argument essay in which students address an audience of jurors, analyze conflicting “eyewitness” testimony (text versus painting), and research critical commentary on possible verdicts.


Proposal Number: 33
Date: 2018-11-21
Paper Title: Real Housewives of Ithaca: Discussing the Gender Roles in The Odyssey in the Contemporary Classroom
Core Text:
Homer's The Odyssey
Abstract:
The Odyssey is filled with classic heroic characters, both male and female. In an age of shifting gender norms and fluid identities, how are these characters received by students? This short essay examines the actions of Athena, Calypso, Circe and Penelope and discusses how they subvert and reshape the roles they are born to. It is based on the class discussions of The Odyssey with a small diverse group of first time in college students.


Proposal Number: 32
Date: 2018-11-19
Paper Title: Teaching The Communist Manifesto to American Undergraduates
Core Text:
The Communist Manifesto
Abstract:
The Manifesto of the Communist Party that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published in 1848 is a problematic classic. Although its incalculable influence on 20th century history more than justifies its study as a historical document, this pamphlet no longer inspires the revolutionary fervor or reactionary fears that it once did, and there are reasons for doubting its relevance to the problems of our time. My paper defends the teaching of The Communist Manifesto to American undergraduates today as part of a core or liberal learning program and suggests strategies for demonstrating its relevance to their lives as careers-seekers and citizens.


Proposal Number: 31
Date: 2018-11-15
Paper Title: Seeking Elusive Love
Core Text:
Sappho "Hymn to Aphrodite" and Song of Solomon
Abstract:
The longing for and elusiveness of the beloved overwhelms the mind and senses of the lover. Is virtue found in such controlling passion? Can wisdom and maturity retain passion and longing? This paper reflects on the use of the poems of Sappho, particularly the “Hymn to Aphrodite” and the biblical Song of Solomon in a course on wisdom literature to explore the relationship of wisdom and seeking elusive love.


Proposal Number: 30
Date: 2018-11-14
Paper Title: Dante's Katabasis in Parallel Cantos
Core Text:
Divine Comedy
Abstract:
I will briefly discuss a couple of examples of so-called "reading by parallel cantos", i.e., readings of three cantos with the same number in the three cantiche (Inf., Purg., Par.) of Dante's Divine Comedy. I will show how this fits with other medieval aesthetic trends, and what the consequences are for understanding Dante's way of writing and thinking. I argue that such readings help us see the connection between the literary realism that many have found in his cantos and the metaphysical ideas that seem to structure the poem as a whole.


Proposal Number: 26
Date: 2018-11-10
Paper Title: Ancient Women Speak: Contemporary Rewritings of Classical Texts from the Women's Point of View
Core Text:
Iliad, Odyssey, Agamemnon, Aeneid, Metamorphoses
Abstract:
It has become a trend for women writers to reimagine classical texts and mythology from the point of view of the women. I will present my ideas for a course in which students will read The Iliad, The Odyssey, Agamemnon, The Aeneid, and parts of Metamorphoses juxtaposed with contemporary retellings of the same stories from the women's point of view. The recent texts I am considering include Christa Wolf's Cassandra (1988), Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad (2005), Margaret George's Helen of Troy (2007), Ursula Le Guin's Lavinia (2009), Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls (2018), and Madeline Miller's "Galatea" (2013) and Circe (2018). This paper will contribute to the discussion of how to incorporate more women's voices into a Great Books curriculum.


Proposal Number: 25
Date: 2018-11-06
Paper Title: Exchanging Stories: Teaching Moby Dick in China
Core Text:
Moby Dick
Abstract:
During a semester-long course on Moby Dick at a high school in Beijing, China, I found myself telling my students Bible stories, a strange necessity. In exchange, I asked them for stories from Chinese culture. We began a conversation about how stories are used that illuminated Moby Dick and made it more accessible for my Chinese students. As core text teaching globalizes, this conversation is likely to grow.


Proposal Number: 23
Date: 2018-11-01
Paper Title: "Plato's Euthyphro and the Logic of Piety"
Core Text:
Plato, Euthyphro
Abstract:
It is typically thought that Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro ends in failure. Indeed, Socrates, himself says so. “Either we were wrong when we agreed before, or if we were right then, we are wrong now. . . . So we must investigate from the beginning what piety is.” However, a careful reading of the text indicates that a good definition of piety is given, one that pushes the Greek understanding of the gods and grace. In this paper, we shall follow the series of definitions offered for piety given by Euthyphro, showing the real progress that is made. With the final definition, we find a paradoxical turn in which Socrates, who is skeptical about the goodness of the gods (with good reason), leads the conversation to an affirmation of our obligation to offer a gift to the gods which must ultimately be their gift to us.


Proposal Number: 22
Date: 2018-11-01
Paper Title: The Qur’an, the Hijab, and Laïcité: Islamophobia and French Secularism
Core Text:
Qur'an
Abstract:
This paper concerns the 2004 French statute prohibiting the wearing of signs or dress which signifies religious affiliation in French schools, directed primarily at young Muslim women (Education Code Article L141-5-1). The paper will review the Qur'anic mandate for veiling (Surahs 33:53 & 59), the French political tradition of laïcité (including the 1905 laïcité statute), the 2003 Stasi Commission Report (which recommended the ban), Articles 8, 9, and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (including respect for private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the prohibition of discrimination), and the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Dogru v. France (2008), which held that the statute did not violate the ECHR. The paper will distinguish between the French statute and the common law distinction between actus reus and mens rea and discuss the use of the French civil law tradition to advance an Islamophobic agenda.


Proposal Number: 11
Date: 2018-10-24
Paper Title: Pedagogy Under Occupation: Machiavelli in Palestine
Core Text:
Machiavelli's Prince
Abstract:
The first six chapters of Machiavelli’s Prince appear to give the prince advice on how to initiate and sustain a military occupation of another people or nation. One question that arises about Machiavelli’s account is its relevance to contemporary political and pedagogical concerns. Drawing on my experiences teaching Machiavelli at Al Quds University in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, I argue that The Prince is best taught by abstracting from Machiavelli’s examples while trying to supply one’s own. The task turns out to be as difficult as it is pedagogically rewarding.


Proposal Number: 9
Date: 2018-10-24
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract: