Submitted Proposals (2020-2021)

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Proposal # Date Panel Title Paper Title
Proposal # 197 2021-03-28 Hume's Standard of Taste and the Future of Classics
Proposal # 194 2021-03-26 Julian of Norwich: A Medieval Perspective on Solitude and Suffering
Proposal # 192 2021-03-25 Aristotle and Islam: Honor and Rhetoric
Proposal # 190 2021-03-24 Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica
Proposal # 189 2021-03-23 J.S. Mill on Education and Homeschooling
Proposal # 188 2021-03-23 Achilles and the Dangerous Conflation of Personal and Social Justice
Proposal # 187 2021-03-23 Dialog and resistance: José Jiménez Lozano’s portrait of Fray Luis and san Juan de la Cruz
Proposal # 186 2021-03-23 Dialog and resistance: José Jiménez Lozano’s portrait of Fray Luis and san Juan de la Cruz
Proposal # 185 2021-03-22 What Core Texts Can Learn from Political Science
Proposal # 184 2021-03-22 Noticing Nineteenth-Century Epidemics: Cholera, Typhoid and Fictional Contagion in the COVID-Era Classroom
Proposal # 183 2021-03-22 Rethinking - Again - Universities, College and Hutchins
Proposal # 180 2021-03-21 Freud's Flat Conscience: Is Moral Discontent 2D or 3D?
Proposal # 178 2021-03-20 Travel and Challenging the Tragic Mulatto Archetype in Nella Larsen's Quicksand
Proposal # 176 2021-03-19 Contextualizing Injustice in Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine
Proposal # 174 2021-03-19 This world below as an abode of trial and trouble and the consolation of the union with the beloved
Proposal # 173 2021-03-18
Proposal # 171 2021-03-18 Experiential Learning Online: Practicing Mindfulness for Understanding Classics and Sustainability
Proposal # 170 2021-03-18 The Constitutional Turn in the Political Thought of Frederick Douglass
Proposal # 169 2021-03-17 Digital Literacy and Classical Mythology: Cupid and Psyche and the Animal Bridegroom
Proposal # 168 2021-03-17 Solitudes in the desert: a pilot, a prince, a fox
Proposal # 167 2021-03-17 Francis of Assisi, a Protestant Saint?
Proposal # 166 2021-03-17
Proposal # 165 2021-03-17 Antigone Now: Purgation or Nonviolent Communication?
Proposal # 164 2021-03-17 A Sutta on Global Warming
Proposal # 162 2021-03-16 "Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis" Severing the Edge: Takuan’s Immovable Wisdom for Crisis Management
Proposal # 160 2021-03-16 Machiavelli's letter on Love & Friendship: Reflections on his experiences during the Plague to a most Dear & Honored Friend
Proposal # 159 2021-03-16 Dirty Foot Desert Physician: What is Wholeness?
Proposal # 158 2021-03-16 Kafka and the Pandemic
Proposal # 157 2021-03-16 Constitution: An Unevenly Destabilized Text
Proposal # 156 2021-03-16 The Value of Liberal Education and Hesse's Glass Bead Game
Proposal # 155 2021-03-16 Plague, Civil Discord, and Human Nature in Thucydides
Proposal # 154 2021-03-16 “No Superior Devotion to Memory”: Monumental Memory in the Writings of Douglass and Nietzsche
Proposal # 153 2021-03-16 “'A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this': Resilient Students and Transformative Texts"
Proposal # 152 2021-03-16 On the Aristophanic Myth
Proposal # 151 2021-03-16 “a world of abstraction”: 
Echoes of the Southern Critique of ‘Science in the Abstract’ in Albert Camus’ La Peste
Proposal # 150 2021-03-16 Wings in the Abyss: Reading Keats in the Pandemic
Proposal # 149 2021-03-16 Socrates and the Love of Money
Proposal # 148 2021-03-15 Tragic choices in Homer and Greek Tragedy and the Limits of Autonomy
Proposal # 147 2021-03-15 Montaigne's Arguments for Tolerance
Proposal # 146 2021-03-15 Nietzsche's 'Dionysian' Hamlet: Prospects and Pitfalls
Proposal # 145 2021-03-15 Teaching the Trivium in Political Theory
Proposal # 143 2021-03-15 Socrates on the Antinomian Effects of Oligarchy
Proposal # 142 2021-03-15 “Nine Parts of Ten:” Man’s Malleable Character and the Importance of Good Education
Proposal # 141 2021-03-15 Aristotle and Arendt on the Solitary Person: Boors, Beasts, or Barely There
Proposal # 140 2021-03-15 Well...the Constitution Plainly Says... How Today’s Public Policy’s Actors Are Responding to the Corona Virus with Arguments “Found” in the United States Constitution
Proposal # 139 2021-03-15 Machiavelli on Love & Friendship: Reflections on his Letter during the Plague to a most Dear & Honored Friend
Proposal # 138 2021-03-15 Does the Origin Story of Politics in Plato’s Protagoras Still Hold True?
Proposal # 136 2021-03-15 Against Consolation. Simone Weil's reevaluation of values
Proposal # 135 2021-03-15
Proposal # 134 2021-03-15 Why the Classics Now
Proposal # 133 2021-03-15 Agriculture & the Preservation of a Republic
Proposal # 132 2021-03-15 Know thyself. Developing a teacher training course around Freedom in Quarantine
Proposal # 130 2021-03-15 the many faces of Socrates 'Paidiá' and 'Eunomía' in Plato's Republic
Proposal # 129 2021-03-15 Solitude is Power: Teaching Milton and Rousseau during the Pandemic
Proposal # 128 2021-03-14 The Plague and the Republic
Proposal # 127 2021-03-13 What kind of poets does Socrates want?
Proposal # 126 2021-03-13 The 1592 Plague and Shakespeare's return to Ovid
Proposal # 125 2021-03-13 The Invisible Man: Teaching through Lockdown
Proposal # 124 2021-03-13 ACTC Liberal Arts Institute Project: Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts. Reports on innovations in 10 institutions.
Proposal # 123 2021-03-12 Ibn Khaldun, the first sociologist?
Proposal # 121 2021-03-12 ACTC Liberal Arts Institute Project: Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts. Reports on innovations in 10 institutions.
Proposal # 120 2021-03-12 "The Present Calamity in a True Perspective": C. S. Lewis on Learning in the Time of the Pandemic
Proposal # 119 2021-03-12 Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis Solace in a Torn World - Reading the Hōjōki in the Age of Covid19
Proposal # 118 2021-03-12 Many faces of Socrates
Proposal # 117 2021-03-12 The big picture, interdisciplinarity and the role of university teaching in the training of intellectuals.
Proposal # 116 2021-03-12 The big picture, interdisciplinarity and the role of university teaching in the training of intellectuals.
Proposal # 115 2021-03-12
Proposal # 112 2021-03-11 Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis Finding Skillful Means in Seon Master Chinul's Secrets
Proposal # 111 2021-03-11 Synchronous Learning in Plato’s Phaedrus
Proposal # 110 2021-03-11 Blood and Virtue: The Role of Political Violence in Machiavelli’s Restorative Political Project
Proposal # 109 2021-03-11 "Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis"
Proposal # 108 2021-03-11 What Kind of a Teacher was Socrates?
Proposal # 104 2021-03-10 Aquinas, Locke, and Lewis on Natural Law and Tyranny
Proposal # 103 2021-03-10 Know thyself. Developing a teacher training course around Freedom in Quarantine Health, Disease and Self-knowledge
Proposal # 102 2021-03-10 Language in Dante's Divine Comedy: The Place of Praise in Paradiso
Proposal # 100 2021-03-10 Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Planning Session
Proposal # 95 2021-03-10 Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Planning Session
Proposal # 94 2021-03-10 ACTC's future in Europe
Proposal # 93 2021-03-10 ACTC's future in Europe
Proposal # 74 2021-03-10 Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Planning Session
Proposal # 101 2021-03-09 J.S. Mill on Education and Homeschooling
Proposal # 99 2021-03-07 Tyranny and Wisdom: Pandemic Politics and the Limits of Expertise
Proposal # 98 2021-03-05 ARS RHETORICA: Great Readings of the Ancient World
Proposal # 97 2021-03-04 La muerte como reflexión de vida. Notas desde la filosofía de Platón
Proposal # 96 2021-03-04 Mentoring with Core Texts in the Covid Era
Proposal # 91 2021-03-02 The Problem and Promise of the Sensual for the Ascetic in Books I and II of Celano’s "First Life"
Proposal # 90 2021-03-02 A WORLD OF WOUNDS: JOB AND THE ECOLOGIST
Proposal # 89 2021-03-02 Mrs. Dalloway as a Pandemic Text
Proposal # 88 2021-03-01 “Old People Will Die Anyway”: Senescence, Mortality, and Exiled Healer in Euripides’ Alcestis
Proposal # 86 2021-03-01 Rethinking - Again - Universities, College and Hutchins
Proposal # 85 2021-03-01 Restlessness and Contentment: Happiness in Wind in the Willows
Proposal # 83 2021-02-28 A Pure Scream
Proposal # 82 2021-02-27 Moral Evil: Lessons from Rousseau and the Lisbon Earthquake
Proposal # 81 2021-02-27 Contagion of Grief: Orphans, Theft of Language, and Loss during War and Economic Crisis
Proposal # 79 2021-02-26 What Political Science Can Offers to Core Texts
Proposal # 78 2021-02-25 Knowledge for Its Own Sake in the Thought of John Henry Newman and F. W. J. Schelling
Proposal # 75 2021-02-23 Honey in the Coffin: The Disaster that Inseminated the Talmud
Proposal # 72 2021-02-22 Core texts in Europe
Proposal # 70 2021-02-22 Core Texts in Europe
Proposal # 71 2021-02-21 Theaetetus and the History of Rhetoric: An Epistemic Counterstatement
Proposal # 57 2021-02-20 The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd: Rediscovering Solace, Wonder, and Joy in the Natural World
Proposal # 68 2021-02-19 Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Panning Session
Proposal # 67 2021-02-19 Plato's Comforts and Consolations Platonic Dialogue and the Joys of Synthesis
Proposal # 66 2021-02-18 Plato’s Comforts and Consolations The Platonic Soul of Belles Lettres
Proposal # 65 2021-02-18 Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato A Kinder, Gentler Socrates: Socrates in and through the Looking Glass of Plato’s Theaetetus
Proposal # 64 2021-02-18 “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” The Purification of Social Practice in Plato’s “Sophist”
Proposal # 62 2021-02-18 Virtue in Online Spaces: A Platonic Exploration of Culpability and Chaos
Proposal # 61 2021-02-18 Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato
Proposal # 60 2021-02-18 Plato's Comforts and Consolations Math, Metaphor, and Numerical Satisfaction in Theaetetus
Proposal # 58 2021-02-17 At the Foot of the Mount: A Meditation on Dante's <Purgatorio> as a Pandemic Vade mecum
Proposal # 56 2021-02-12 Great Books at War. Apropos Robert M. Hutchins
Proposal # 55 2021-02-11 An Introduction to Alexander Hamilton’s Political Epistemology in The Federalist
Proposal # 54 2021-02-10 Using Thomas Merton to Reframe Our Pandemic Isolation
Proposal # 53 2021-02-10 Disasters,Literature and the Value of Life: Percy's Lost in the Cosmos
Proposal # 52 2021-02-10 The Plague as Ethical Crisis in The Iliad
Proposal # 51 2021-02-09 Liberal Education and Leadership
Proposal # 50 2021-02-08 Aquinas vs.the Skeptic
Proposal # 48 2021-02-07 A Plague Book for Plague Time
Proposal # 47 2021-02-06 Virtue, Tyranny, and Political Rule in David Milch's Deadwood
Proposal # 46 2021-02-06 “You are Dearer to me if you Receive my Advice”: Cicero’s as Teacher
Proposal # 45 2021-02-03 Does Adam Smith provide a moral ground for being a front-line hero?
Proposal # 44 2021-01-29 Scott Lee's book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts
Proposal # 43 2021-01-28 Learning in Wartime or During COVID-19: Is Anything Different?
Proposal # 42 2021-01-26 Astrology in King Lear and Confessions
Proposal # 40 2021-01-26 Plague-ing a Pandemic
Proposal # 39 2021-01-26 “Black Matters” in the Humanities Canon: Toni Morrison and a Trauma-Informed Pedagogy
Proposal # 38 2021-01-26 The Misinformed Dying: Reading A Prayer for the Dying during Coronavirus
Proposal # 37 2021-01-25 Adam Smith and the Antisocial Sentiments of Social Media
Proposal # 36 2021-01-25 "As One Who Had The Plague Myself" Thucydides' Plague and Ours
Proposal # 8 2021-01-14 When Sickness is not Sickness: How the
 

Proposal Number: 197
Date: 2021-03-28
Paper Title: Hume's Standard of Taste and the Future of Classics
Core Text:
David Hume's "Of the Standard of Taste"
Abstract:
David Hume’s essay “Of the Standard of Taste” argues that, despite wide variations in individual tastes and culture values, there are properties that enable literary classics to achieve enduring success at providing pleasure to readers and that some people (astute critics) are better than others at judging whether a work has such properties. He thinks the literary merits of a work can be separated from flaws arising from the prejudices and false opinions of the age in which it was written, but he doubts that the same tolerance can be extended to moral flaws like bigotry. I propose to discuss the relevance of Hume’s essay to the concept of classics and to recent arguments by scholars like Dan-el Padilla Peralta who question whether Greek and Latin classics should have a future in light of the uses to which they have been put in constructing a narrative of white superiority.


Proposal Number: 194
Date: 2021-03-26
Paper Title: Julian of Norwich: A Medieval Perspective on Solitude and Suffering
Core Text:
Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love
Abstract:
Julian of Norwich is a central figure in the medieval Christian mystical tradition. In this paper, I will discuss the contemporary relevance of her theological vision within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. I will examine her response to solitude and isolation, which she understands as an opportunity to turn inward to find God. I will also consider the ways in which, amidst the pandemic of her own time, she finds meaning in Christ's suffering and death.


Proposal Number: 192
Date: 2021-03-25
Paper Title: Aristotle and Islam: Honor and Rhetoric
Core Text:
Aristotle, Rhetoric and Ibn Sina, Shifa'
Abstract:
Historically, honor has been embedded in customary practices that predate larger intellectual or theological traditions in the West and East. Because of its long and global history, honor has been richly contended with across disciplinary boundaries in a way that should not be overlooked in the western tradition or elsewhere. This paper offers one comparative case study in the intellectual history of honor, as both Aristotle and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) take up the question of honor in relationship to rhetoric. Comparing their ideas, especially Ibn Sina’s adaptation of Aristotle, opens up a conversation about the ongoing significance of respect for community and family as a highly translatable aspect of honor.


Proposal Number: 190
Date: 2021-03-24
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Hablaremos de la creación de la red latinoamericana de AALL y de la posibilidad de que el 2022 o 23 el congreso internacional de ACTC se realice en alguna de nuestras universidades.


Proposal Number: 189
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: J.S. Mill on Education and Homeschooling
Core Text:
John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty"
Abstract:
In the context of debates about educational delivery in the midst of pandemic-related school closures, this paper discusses how one popular alternative schooling method--homeschooling--relates to the educational philosophy of John Stuart Mill. Mill emphasizes the right of children to receive an education while criticizing the need for a state monopoly in providing that education directly. Arguably, Mill's writings on education provide a blueprint for a modern-day defense of a fairly broad right to homeschool one's children, albeit under certain regulations.


Proposal Number: 188
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: Achilles and the Dangerous Conflation of Personal and Social Justice
Core Text:
The Iliad
Abstract:
This essay examines CDC Reeve’s argument that Achilles has not “stepped outside the heroic code and become an existential hero at odds with, and critical of, the values of his society,” but is simply unable to manage conflicting allegiances. I will extend this argument using the concepts of justice (commutative, distributive, and legal) as articulated by Aquinas in order to argue that Achilles’ just protest of Agamemnon’s unjust treatment subsequently leads Achilles to an imbalance in his own conception of justice. He never quite solves this imbalance, and we witness the dangerous potential of a man who cannot integrate the Thomistic categories of justice. I will conclude with a short reflection on the relevance of this matter in modern public discourse on justice.


Proposal Number: 187
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: Dialog and resistance: José Jiménez Lozano’s portrait of Fray Luis and san Juan de la Cruz
Core Text:
San Juan de la Cruz, Cantico espiritual
Abstract:
Reading has been, for Spanish writer José Jiménez Lozano, a conversation with others, a meet between souls. Along his life these meetings became the seeds for the essays and fiction works. This paper will address his reading of Fray Luis de León and san Juan de la Cruz in the critical moment of his life to discover the lesson of resistance and isolation of both in the XVI century. And how, through documentation and imagination, Jiménez Lozano writes -El mudejarillo and Fray Luis de Leon- books that are, at the same time, portraits of these writers and a research into the deep processes of their writing.


Proposal Number: 186
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: Dialog and resistance: José Jiménez Lozano’s portrait of Fray Luis and san Juan de la Cruz
Core Text:
San Juan de la Cruz, Cantico espiritual
Abstract:
Reading has been, for Spanish writer José Jiménez Lozano, a conversation with others, a meet between souls. Along his life these meetings became the seeds for the essays and fiction works. This paper will address his reading of Fray Luis de León and san Juan de la Cruz in the critical moment of his life to discover the lesson of resistance and isolation of both in the XVI century. And how, through documentation and imagination, Jiménez Lozano writes -El mudejarillo and Fray Luis de Leon- books that are, at the same time, portraits of these writers and a research into the deep processes of their writing.


Proposal Number: 185
Date: 2021-03-22
Paper Title: What Core Texts Can Learn from Political Science
Core Text:

Abstract:
This paper examines what core texts can learn from the discipline of political science and will use Tolstoy’s War and Peace as an example.


Proposal Number: 184
Date: 2021-03-22
Paper Title: Noticing Nineteenth-Century Epidemics: Cholera, Typhoid and Fictional Contagion in the COVID-Era Classroom
Core Text:
Jane Eyre
Abstract:
In the early chapters of Jane Eyre (1848), Charlotte Brontë's heroine passes a surprisingly pleasant May rambling through the gardens of her boarding school; the normally strict rules and schedules of the institution have been relaxed because of an outbreak of typhus. In teaching Jane Eyre and other nineteenth-century texts during our own outbreak, I've found myself and my students paying closer attention to such moments of illness and health, isolation and connection, and their accompanying emotions, which range from fear to at times creativity or even freedom. This paper reflects on research done by scholars of nineteenth-century medical humanities including Pamela Gilbert, Lorenzo Servitje, Kari Nixon, and Travis Chi Wing Lau to ask specifically pedagogical questions. How might we read and teach nineteenth-century questions of health in novels like Jane Eyre differently during (and after) Covid-19?


Proposal Number: 183
Date: 2021-03-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Rethinking - Again - Universities, College and Hutchins
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will explore the distinctions as well as relationships between “great books” or “core text” curriculums and the related ideas of “inter-disciplinarity,” “general education” and the “liberal arts” altogether. Our pretext is a talk delivered at Shimer College by J Scott Lee in January 2011 on “Rethinking Universities, College and Hutchins” (collected in his book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts) on why core text programs should be part of undergraduate curricula in light of Hutchins’ arguments in The Higher Learning in America. In 2011 Lee was (as he recognized) preaching to the choir in the faculty and students of Shimer College, where the entire curriculum was based on Hutchins’ own plan for a self-contained undergraduate education through core texts. Six years later, however, Shimer College became the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College and its curriculum - still based on Hutchins’ plan - is now just one among an array of interdisciplinary programs, all of which exist in the interstices of a full complement of traditional disciplinary departments, which in turn are linked through a complex general education program that in turn marks North Central College as a liberal arts college. Our panel will be devoted to thinking through the institutional relationships between these distinct but clearly related forms of educational enterprise, partly with a view to understanding how best to chart a path forward for the Shimer School in its new guise and new home. More generally, we hope to renew Scott Lee’s and Hutchins’ questions about how to ensure the integral presence of core text programs as all universities and colleges emerge into the post-pandemic world, particularly with reference to our colleagues’ own experiences addressing such questions through their own programs.


Proposal Number: 180
Date: 2021-03-21
Paper Title: Freud's Flat Conscience: Is Moral Discontent 2D or 3D?
Core Text:
Civilization and Its Discontents
Abstract:
Freud's theory on conscience proposed in chapter 7 of Civilization and its Discontents views it as a results of the conflict between the desires of the id and cultural demands internalized in the superego. This makes it flat or two dimensional. The ego appears as a rationalizer and a manager of such conflicts between these two, but not as adding its own dimension by exercising reason as a moral truth-discerning faculty. I suggest that moral conscience arises only when reason can be seen as more than a rationalizer and manager--giving the person moral depth, as opposed to making the person merely the place of conflict between the desires of the id and the expectations of civilization.


Proposal Number: 178
Date: 2021-03-20
Paper Title: Travel and Challenging the Tragic Mulatto Archetype in Nella Larsen's Quicksand
Core Text:
Quicksand, by Nella Larsen
Abstract:
In late 19th and early 20th century American literature, mixed-race characters are frequently depicted as confused, miserable, pitiable, and perpetually in crisis because of their racial betweenness. Rejecting the pathetic and self-destructive traits inscribed by this “tragic mulatto” assumption, this paper analyzes mixed-race identity and travel scenes in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928), with the intention of extracting the protagonist from a tragic reading and repositioning her within one of agency. In other words, positing travel as a literal and metaphorical state of refuge, this paper uses geographic, cultural, and racial boundary crossing to theorize a rereading of the mixed-race character.


Proposal Number: 176
Date: 2021-03-19
Paper Title: Contextualizing Injustice in Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine
Core Text:
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Abstract:
Given the current dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, this paper suggests the urgency of teaching Julie Otsuka’s novel When the Emperor Was Divine about the internment of the Japanese in the 1940s. Primary documents from the era such as Executive Order 9066 introduce students to the historical and cultural setting. The poignantly multivalent novel introduces five perspectives within one family’s experience of incarceration. Additional primary documents such as belated presidential apologies underscore how the lingering past intersects with ongoing struggles for justice.


Proposal Number: 174
Date: 2021-03-19
Paper Title: This world below as an abode of trial and trouble and the consolation of the union with the beloved
Core Text:
Ibn Hazm: The Ring of the Dove
Abstract:
"The Ring of the Dove" is a famous typology of love in all its possible appearances dating back to the beginning of the 11th century, written by the great Andalusian Muslim scholar in theology and law, Ibn Hazm. Remarkable of this book, opposed to other classical literature on love from Islamic background, is that the descriptions of the various ways love can come to expression (or not) are embedded in the common experiences of daily life in Al-Andalus of that time. So to say: the human condition, including the hardships, are all around. That love and the beloved can be a wonderful consolation during difficult times is therefore an obvious theme of the book.


Proposal Number: 173
Date: 2021-03-18
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 171
Date: 2021-03-18
Paper Title: Experiential Learning Online: Practicing Mindfulness for Understanding Classics and Sustainability
Core Text:
The Heart of Understanding - Thich Nhat Hanh
Abstract:
Thich Nhat Hanh puts forth the idea of “interbeing” as central to the Buddhist text Heart Sutra, and proposes mindfulness as a way to look deeply into ourselves and develop compassion for others. Eric Kandel’s In Search of Memory pinpoints the central role of the amygdala in our response to fear, stress and anxiety, which could be relieved by mindfulness practices, according to recent scientific researches. Two micro-modules were produced to introduce the concept of mindfulness in Engaged Buddhism and the scientific basis of mindfulness practice, followed by three online workshops of meditation practices, guiding students to become more focused and sensitive as they enjoy each mindful moment in stretching, sitting, breathing, listening, eating and tea-drinking together, to promote students’ awareness of their “Health and Well-being (the third of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations), and compassionate understanding of the people and of the world around them. This presentation will focus on our experience in designing and implementing the experiential-learning project and initial findings on its impact.


Proposal Number: 170
Date: 2021-03-18
Paper Title: The Constitutional Turn in the Political Thought of Frederick Douglass
Core Text:
Douglass' Narrative and July Fourth Oration
Abstract:
This paper studies the series of 'turns' experienced by Frederick Douglass in his Narrative (published in 1845) and his July Fourth Oration (1852). In his first autobiography, Douglass describes his turn toward liberal education - understood as freedom of the mind, by overcoming the enslaving chains of ignorance - which is the prolegomena to his actual liberation from physical bondage through his escape. After his experience traveling in England (to avoid pursuit as an escaped slave in America) and working with the abolitionist editor William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass in his Oration articulates his turn away from the anti-constitution ideology of the Garrisonians to an open embrace of the American Constitution as a "glorious liberty document" that (far from being a pact with the enslaving devil) demands the abolition of slavery.


Proposal Number: 169
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Digital Literacy and Classical Mythology: Cupid and Psyche and the Animal Bridegroom
Core Text:
The Golden Ass, Apuleius
Abstract:
Teaching Classical Mythology during the COVID-19 pandemic presented two unique opportunities: to put to use some of the myriad digital resources available to students of the Classics, and to put to test the digital literacy skills of the so-called digital native generation. Using our class' assignments and discussions around Apuleius' Cupid and Psyche fable, this paper will argue that teaching the classics through digital resources can help students learn how to communicate, understand and navigate today's digital world.


Proposal Number: 168
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Solitudes in the desert: a pilot, a prince, a fox
Core Text:
Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince
Abstract:
Very often this book is used -at colleges and universities- as way for understanding what friendship and dialogue mean. Used in the pandemic it can hekp to understand how to overcome solitude that results from external circumstances but also from personal attitudes. In the analysis of this text in virtual classrooms the superficial reading -that is very commen- has to be substituted by a "better reading" with the consequence of a more profound understanding of the conditions for dialogue.


Proposal Number: 167
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Francis of Assisi, a Protestant Saint?
Core Text:
Paul Sabatier, Life of Francis
Abstract:
In 1893, French Protestant scholar Paul Sabatier published his ground-breaking biography of Francis of Assisi. Sabatier´s account presents the saint as an independent thinker with an unmediated connection to God. Yet what some viewed as the strength of the new more universal Francis, his independence and revolutionary spirit, others saw an insidious appropriation of a Catholic (and Italian) saint by Protestants, Modernists and agnostics (and non-Italians!) Does Sabatier's liberal Protestantism reveal in Francis elements missed by Catholic hagiographers and scholars, or does it blind him to the evidence of a more traditional observance by Francis?


Proposal Number: 166
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title:
Core Text:
Core text in Europe
Abstract:
Core text in Europe is closely connected and related to the aims of ECOLAS -- European Colleges of Liberal Arts and Science. It is important that the activities of the two branches with similar aim be inteconneced. Especially in Europe where Core Text teaching and LAS are marginal segments of the university systems.


Proposal Number: 165
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Antigone Now: Purgation or Nonviolent Communication?
Core Text:
Antigone
Abstract:
In a 2019 adaptation (by Sophie Deraspe) of the Greek tragic play Antigone, the female protagonist portrayed by Sophocles as a headstrong girl from an aristocratic family (albeit accursed) finds herself in a marginalized immigrant family in contemporary Montreal. European cities in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak inspired a short production in May 2020, in which the focus becomes "a world in strife, a nation in fear, a woman stranded, in grief" ("AntigoneNow," UC Davis). Different as the two productions may be, Antigone is presented as an "underdog" amidst troubles imminent to the audience in the respective place and time. As I introduce the play as a core-text to my students from 2019 to 2021, different crises have emerged from one semester to another, each inevitably directs or reinvents the meaning-making of the plot and of the characters. This presentation will look at some of the new possibilities in approaching the characters and the plays in response to the changing crises of our times. Aristotle's theory of purgation and certain concepts of "nonviolent communication" will be called into play.


Proposal Number: 164
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: A Sutta on Global Warming
Core Text:
Suriya Sutta
Abstract:
The “Seven Suns Sutta” in Pali Buddhism presents a scenario in which seven suns gradually destroy the earth. In the narrative Intense heat gradually destroys vegetation, lakes, oceans, and all life. The dhamma teaching is not to rely on impermanent things, since even Mount Meru is impermanent. The Suriya Sutta concludes with a contrast between Buddha’s teaching on the highest goal, nibbana, and the popular teaching of someone who taught the lesser goal of rebirth in the deva world.


Proposal Number: 162
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Severing the Edge: Takuan’s Immovable Wisdom for Crisis Management
Core Text:
Takuan Sōhō's Unfettered Mind
Abstract:
This paper is part of Robert Scott's panel, "Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis"(see below). Takuan Sōhō (1573–1645) was not only an accomplished Zen master; he was also friend and spiritual advisor to the legendary swordsman Yagyū Munenori. It was for Yagyū that Takuan wrote Fudōchishinmyōroku, “The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom,” which explains how Zen principles can enhance swordsmanship though the cultivation of fudōshin, a state of mind that remains unfettered even in the chaos of combat. This paper explores the value of fudōshin for crisis management—particularly in the time of COVID-19—along with methodologies for incorporating Takuan’s work into interdisciplinary liberal arts classes.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: "Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis"
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Robert Scott has already submitted a proposal for our panel. Here is his abstract: "This panel explore ways in which East Asian traditions offer resources for cultivating responsive virtuosity in times of crisis. Each presentation considers ways in which East Asian texts respond to crises in their historical contexts and how they offer resources for responding to the pandemic and other crises in our time. The panel includes presentations on the 13th century Japanese Buddhist monk Chōmei’s Hōjōki by James Mark Shields (Bucknell University), the 12th century Korean Buddhist monk Chinul’s “Secret on Cultivating the Mind” by Robert Scott (University of North Georgia), and the 17th century Japanese Zen master Takuan’s “The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom” by James McRae (Westminster College), and on the Confucian text The Great Learning by Yi Deng (University of North Georgia)."


Proposal Number: 160
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Machiavelli's letter on Love & Friendship: Reflections on his experiences during the Plague to a most Dear & Honored Friend
Core Text:
"Description of the Plague of Florence in the Year 1527"
Abstract:
Machiavelli's letter describing his sufferings & the events of his life during the plague in Florence is his most "erotic" work, to which little or no attention has been paid. Machiavelli speaks most effusively, not to say romantically, of his friendship & love during this time, while letting one see these relations for what they are. The author appears to turn neither to philosophy nor to God in his time of tribulation, but to some sweet consoling sentiments & pleasures which help us forget the most painful thoughts we can have.


Proposal Number: 159
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Dirty Foot Desert Physician: What is Wholeness?
Core Text:
Life of St Anthony
Abstract:
Athanasius’ describes St Anthony’s desert existence including never washing his feet with water yet was as if a physician had been given by God to Egypt. The Life of St Anthony is a description of the paradox of embracing the Christian claims of the death of Jesus Christ as being the locus of true life and wholeness. Life in the desert away from aspects of life usually viewed as being essential to life, away from social norms, away from physical comforts, wrestling with the elements, with spirits and demons, power and principalities, and with the self, resulted in clarity, vibrancy, and healing. Athanasius found consolation and healing in the life of Anthony in the midst of his own engagement with political, social, and ecclesiastical crises not unlike those of our day.


Proposal Number: 158
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Kafka and the Pandemic
Core Text:
The Metamorphosis and The Trial
Abstract:
A theme that is present throughout Kafka's work, primarily in The Trial and The Metamorphosis, is an overview of the individual's conflict with the seemingly uncontrollable and random. Such a confrontation is being experienced in the modern context due to the isolation and disruption caused by the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding Kafka's characters' conflicts can offer one a reflective moment to reach a state of catharsis during this uncontrollable and random time. This paper discusses the similarities of Kafka's themes with the individual's experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and how, through understanding these themes, one can begin to overcome such a conflict.


Proposal Number: 157
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Constitution: An Unevenly Destabilized Text
Core Text:
United States Constitution
Abstract:
Constitutions are valued for their stabilizing power, but one of the prime virtues/features of a "written" constitution is its verbal amendability - or instability. How how do constitutions plan for and adapt to amendments (especially transformational ones)? This paper will consider, in various ways, the United States Constitution textual stabilities/instabilities, particularly by considering the crisis over the very first amendments (the Bill of Rights): should they have been interwoven or supplemented? And what differences has the decision made?


Proposal Number: 156
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: The Value of Liberal Education and Hesse's Glass Bead Game
Core Text:

Abstract:
Considering the conference theme’s statement, “One of the grand claims advocates of liberal education make is that the books we teach can provide consolation and refuge in times of trouble,” this paper will examine other possible values of liberal education that are suggested by The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. One of these possibilities is that liberal education is not simply a source of consolation and refuge, but rather the most valuable thing that must be preserved during troubled times. At the other extreme, another possibility is that liberal education is a frivolity that is of no real value in troubled times--or, perhaps, any time. The paper is intended to be not merely provocative, but productively provocative.


Proposal Number: 155
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Plague, Civil Discord, and Human Nature in Thucydides
Core Text:
Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War
Abstract:
“Almost too grievous for human nature to endure” writes Thucydides about the plague that struck Athens in 430 BCE. This paper will consider the historian’s brief consideration in Book II of the plague’s effects on the Athenian population, and what he observes—or perhaps, teaches--about human nature in time of pestilence as compared with his observations in Book VIII about a population in civil conflict.


Proposal Number: 154
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: “No Superior Devotion to Memory”: Monumental Memory in the Writings of Douglass and Nietzsche
Core Text:
Frederick Douglass, Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln. April 14, 1876; Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life” 1874
Abstract:
In April of 1876, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech at the dedication ceremony for the Emancipation, or Freedman’s Monument, a sculpted piece depicting Abraham Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation while standing over a kneeling black man with broken chains. While praising the artistry and effort invested in the monument’s creation, Douglass also offers a cautionary critique of what such monuments can do to the complex memory of a complicated man. In this paper, I compare Douglass’s words of restraint with Nietzsche’s three categories of history: monumental, antiquarian, and critical. In distinct voices, both argue against a rush to memorialize any historical event or hero. History, especially history set in stone, must be simultaneously celebratory, preservative, and critical. To conclude, this paper will consider possible applications to the current monument wars taking place in the US and beyond.


Proposal Number: 153
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: “'A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this': Resilient Students and Transformative Texts"
Core Text:
multiple (Aeneid, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, etc.)
Abstract:
The foundational Transformative Texts courses in Purdue University’s Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program hold great texts out as valuable lenses through which to understand the “pains and pleasures of being human” (Course Description). When the COVID-19 pandemic came along, the Cornerstone program offered students a special chance to think through the frustrations and renewed appreciations associated with this transformational time. Specifically, Cornerstone sponsored two contests calling for essays, artwork and other creative endeavors that addressed how the ideas or characters of their course texts resonated with them in the pandemic context. This essay, focusing on the second of these contests, revealed the value of a variety of works (The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Aeneid, Beowulf, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Things Fall Apart and more) in helping students understand, cultivate and embrace Resilience in the sense of a way to cope with and counter the disorientation and sense of loss accompanying change


Proposal Number: 152
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: On the Aristophanic Myth
Core Text:
Plato's "Symposium"
Abstract:
In this essay, I will take a look at the myth created by Aristophanes during the party which serves as the setting of Plato's "Symposium". This dialogue, and in particular, this speech, raises a series of provocative questions concerning Love (or Eros) and its objects. For the moment, I am interested in only the following two: What are the great or chief differences between Socrates and Aristophanes' speeches? What does this tell us as readers, if anything, about the relationship between philosophy and property--more precisely, the relationship between philosophy comedy? I hope that a thoughtful and close reading of their respective openings will illuminate this topic.


Proposal Number: 151
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: “a world of abstraction”: 
Echoes of the Southern Critique of ‘Science in the Abstract’ in Albert Camus’ La Peste
Core Text:
La Peste (The Plague)
Abstract:
As might be expected, a number of articles have been recently published examining Albert Camus’ novel La Peste (or The Plague, 1947), emphasizing either a need for solidarity in the face of the coronavirus and other “public health crises,” the importance of healthcare workers, or contagion as a metaphor. What has not yet been noticed is the presence, within Camus’ novel, of a critique of his protagonist/narrator Dr. Bernard Rieux, which echoes the critique made by Southern Agrarian writers against ‘science’ and ‘abstract systems,’ especially embodied in the progressive-industrial complex. Although it is unlikely that Camus read I’ll Take My Stand, the Agrarian manifesto first published in 1930, he was enamored of the work of William Faulkner, in many ways their successor, and profitably read the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, which contain a similar critique of abstract thinking. This paper will provide a close reading of these echoes within La Peste, beginning with the conversation between the journalist Rambert and Rieux in Part Two, in order to elucidate that critique in reference to the Agrarian ‘Statement of Principles,’ and assess how Rieux’s reception of Rambert’s accusation shapes the form of the novel. To conclude, the paper will briefly suggest the inadequacy, and more than this, the danger of allowing abstract thinking to govern a society facing a pandemic, given the inability of the abstract mode of science to comprehend the full contours of the human good, especially under the auspices of state-sponsored atheism or agnosticism.


Proposal Number: 150
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Wings in the Abyss: Reading Keats in the Pandemic
Core Text:
John Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" and Letter to JH Reynolds (3 May 1818)
Abstract:
“The difference of high Sensations with and without knowledge,” wrote John Keats in May 1818, “appears to me this – in the latter case we are falling continually ten thousand fathoms deep and being blown up again without wings and with all [the] horror of a bare shouldered Creature – in the former case, our shoulders are fledged, and we go thro’ the same air and space without fear.” Sounds like a pretty good description of pandemic anxiety, and of the intellectual grounding we hope will help students live, and think, through it – and maybe even soar. I’ll describe how teaching Keats’s great Odes and letters on Zoom the day after the Capitol insurrection and amid the still-raging pandemic helped me, and my students, accept ambiguity and chaos while hoping to find our wings.


Proposal Number: 149
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Socrates and the Love of Money
Core Text:
Plato's Republic
Abstract:
Socrates is often pegged as a a hater of democracy via Plato's Republic. But his comments on oligarchy are at least as virulent, if not more so: he describes the rich as worthless, playing no role in his one man/one job schematic, and remarks that virtue and love of money exist in inverse proportion--the more you love money, the less you love virtue. Can the intensity of Socrates' devaluing of the wealthy be linked to his life of poverty and the poverty of his philosopher-kings? And what of Aristotle's description of the harm that poverty and wealth do to our relation to reason in Politics IV.11--does Socrates escape this, or does he somehow springboard onto greater things, via his antagonism for the rich?


Proposal Number: 148
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Tragic choices in Homer and Greek Tragedy and the Limits of Autonomy
Core Text:
Homer, Iliad; Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Isaiah Berlin; Hegel on tragedy
Abstract:
Teaching about tragic choices in Homer’s Iliad and Greek tragedy during a pandemic reveals the tension between many students’ unexamined faith in human autonomy and the Greek sense of human mortality. Plague is one of the means by which the gods maintain cosmic order as heroes contest the limits of human action. An ethical comparison of the choices made and limits revealed by different heroes helps students and readers understand the difference between ancient and modern world views and provides a forum for discussion of our own possibilities.


Proposal Number: 147
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Montaigne's Arguments for Tolerance
Core Text:
The Essays
Abstract:
What can Montaigne contribute to our understanding of the virtue of tolerance? In this essay I point to several chapters from Book One of the Essays in order to bring out Montaigne’s arguments on behalf of the kind of tolerance that he seems to take to be a necessary condition for living well with others.


Proposal Number: 146
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Nietzsche's 'Dionysian' Hamlet: Prospects and Pitfalls
Core Text:
Shakespeare's Hamlet; Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, Ecce Homo
Abstract:
Shakespeare surfaces throughout Nietzsche’s corpus as one of the paradigmatic great artists whose work is deemed worthy of critical engagement—particularly Hamlet and the suffering of its titular character. It is not surprising, then, that Nietzsche’s readers have sometimes felt an invitation to interpret Hamlet with The Birth of Tragedy’s commentary as a starting point. In this paper, I will offer an assessment of my own, drawn from across Nietzsche’s writings and posing the following three questions: 1) what does Nietzsche’s reading of Hamlet and his response to suffering essentially consist of; 2) what in Hamlet, if anything, does his reading illuminate; and 3) what might it obfuscate?


Proposal Number: 145
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Teaching the Trivium in Political Theory
Core Text:
Texts on the Trivium
Abstract:
This paper reflects on emphasizing logic, rhetoric, and grammar in an introduction to political theory course. Following the “Reinventing and Rejuvenating the Liberal Arts Seminar” significant changes were made in a western political thought class focused on liberty, justice, and the common good. Students were attracted to this approach that focused on the liberal arts as skills vital to the practical science of politics. However, at several places in the course the question of intrinsic value and the need for leisure was raised. Significant improvement was shown in writing which was stressed as a place where the liberal arts were critical.


Proposal Number: 143
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Socrates on the Antinomian Effects of Oligarchy
Core Text:
Republic
Abstract:
In Plato's Republic, Socrates presents oligarchy as the primary catalyst for political and moral decline. I attempt to clarify the main reasons for his critical assessment, and conclude by illustrating how oligarchy prepares the worst features of democratic morality. I argue that Socrates' approach is helpful for diagnosing some of our own cultural problems insofar as he compels us to consider whether we misunderstand or overemphasize the role of intellectual influence at the expense of seeing the economic roots of negative behavior.


Proposal Number: 142
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: “Nine Parts of Ten:” Man’s Malleable Character and the Importance of Good Education
Core Text:
Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Abstract:
n his work, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, John Locke muses that “of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education,” making it imperative that individuals, especially those who will engage in public life as adults, have properly supervised educations as children. His statement draws on another concept from his writings, namely, that the minds of men are blank slates when they are born, suggesting that what is written on those slates will inform what kind of person they become. This essay will expound upon Locke’s educational views to show their importance for human life. I will conclude with a brief reflection of the importance of education as a fortification against crises such as the one we have experienced as a result of Covid.


Proposal Number: 141
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Aristotle and Arendt on the Solitary Person: Boors, Beasts, or Barely There
Core Text:
Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle), The Human Condition (Arendt)
Abstract:
The lockdowns, quarantines, and social and physical distancing of the last year have highlighted again the permanent question of whether it is good for man to be alone. This question is a fixture of the human condition, and though they come to different conclusions on the appropriate hierarchy of human activity, both Aristotle and Hannah Arendt agree that the solitary person can be compared to a beast. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle gives a taxonomy of men who stand apart from their fellows—the boorish man, the insensible man, and the contemplative man—and the metaphorical family resemblance between them reveals that not even Aristotle’s contemplative philosopher remains solitary. In The Human Condition, Arendt takes issue with Aristotle ordering the contemplative life higher than the active life, but she also argues that the person who never engages in the self-disclosing action of the public realm lives a less-than-human life. Comparing Aristotle and Arendt on the figure of the solitary person gives us the occasion to affirm the good of communal life in the face of socio-political isolation.


Proposal Number: 140
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Well...the Constitution Plainly Says... How Today’s Public Policy’s Actors Are Responding to the Corona Virus with Arguments “Found” in the United States Constitution
Core Text:
The U.S. Constitution
Abstract:
The nation's public policies evolve from the collective efforts of a host of actors in the public, private, and non-profit sectors who vigorously promote “their side,” “their take” on political issues. Among them are the White House, businesses, interest groups, state and local governments, activists, lobbyists, the courts, the media, Congress and others—operating coast-to-coast within the nation’s ever-changing social, economic, political, and cultural landscapes. Using the COVID-19 virus as its foundation, this paper discusses how these actors’ responses to the virus are built on the Constitution’s seminal arguments--with each actor attempting to not only justify its point of view based on “what the Constitution plainly says,” but also attempting to shape/influence history’s take on the virus in favor of that viewpoint.


Proposal Number: 139
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Machiavelli on Love & Friendship: Reflections on his Letter during the Plague to a most Dear & Honored Friend
Core Text:
"Description of the Plague of Florence in the Year 1527
Abstract:
Machiavelli's letter describing his sufferings & the events of his life during the plague in Florence is his most "erotic" work, to which little or no attention has been paid. Machiavelli speaks most effusively, not to say romantically, of his friendship & love during this time, while letting one see these for what they are. The author appears to turn neither to philosophy nor to God in his time of tribulation, but to some sweet consoling sentiments & pleasures which help us forget the most painful thoughts we can have.


Proposal Number: 138
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Does the Origin Story of Politics in Plato’s Protagoras Still Hold True?
Core Text:
Plato’s Protagoras
Abstract:
“Death to him who cannot partake of shame and justice, for such a person is a pestilence on the community,” so Zeus is given to say in Plato’s Protagoras (emphasis added 333d). And so, the the art of politics was invented by the Gods and humans so that each citizen would have a civic voice in the life of the city. It might be argued (and this paper does) the real plague confronting the city (then and now) is not the disease but the shameful and unjust responses to it. This paper explores the ethic of virtue in face of shame, and the role that the art politics, as found in Protagoras might play in its remedy.


Proposal Number: 136
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Against Consolation. Simone Weil's reevaluation of values
Core Text:
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
Abstract:
In Gravity and Grace Simone Weil (1909-1943) undertakes what can be seen as a (non-Nietzschean) re-evaluation of values. Through her method, an intriguing combination of attention and contradiction, she analyses concepts such as 'imagination', 'void'', 'evil', and 'consolation' in a way that purifies these concepts of any selfish interpretation. A close, slow reading of this difficult text may lead to conversations not only on the concepts involved, but also on Weil's style of doing philosophy and, relatedly, to her activism and mysticism.


Proposal Number: 135
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 134
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Why the Classics Now
Core Text:
Cicero Tusculan Disputations
Abstract:
In the Tusculans Cicero makes the first real association of Soul/Mind/Will. This is a far cry from Aristotle's proairesis (Choice) which is a deliberate desire. It is desire that acts as cause not Will. Cicero opens the door to Augustine's early doctrines of free will but also the more radical modern notions which run aground in Postmodernism as Will hangs in mid-air willing ex nihilo. Knowing the tradition gives us a purchase on the ideas of our time in a way our nihilistic contemporaries would just as soon we forgot--all of which leads down a path to trying to purge the Classics of "whiteness."


Proposal Number: 133
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Agriculture & the Preservation of a Republic
Core Text:
Webster, Noah, “Miscellaneous Remarks on the Division of Property” & “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution.”
Abstract:
Noah Webster writes extensively on the nature of republicanism and the necessity of widespread property distribution in a republic. In his writing, he anticipates the politics of the Progressive Era and offers some solutions for avoiding, or at least delaying, the onset and effects of political and economic centralization. For Webster, civic virtue is inextricably bound up with the labors of property ownership. Only via property ownership and tending to the land can a citizenry long maintain its independent spirit and zeal for liberty. With extensive urbanization, citizens will tend to lose their patriotic zeal, becoming servile and obeying the ruling class with little resistance.


Proposal Number: 132
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Know thyself. Developing a teacher training course around Freedom in Quarantine
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The realist revival sparked by John Senior has done much to inspire a renewed appreciation of classical realism in education. Leonardo Polo’s philosophical project illustrates how core aspects of modern thought can be valuable additions to classical realist insights into what it means to be human. Polo is not blind to modernity's drawbacks, nor does he compromise core realist tenets. We explain why Freedom in Quarantine is an important text to facilitate the constructive interaction between realism and modernity, and how we plan to make these insights accessible to teachers at realist Great Books programs.


Proposal Number: 130
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: 'Paidiá' and 'Eunomía' in Plato's Republic
Core Text:
The Republic (Plato)
Abstract:
In this Paper I would like to study the relation between games and education moral education. It is interesting to notice that in ancient Greek, the words education (paideia) and playing (paizein), come from the same root: child (pais). Plato is not blind to this conections and makes playing central to his educational proposal. I will focus on the relation between paidiá and its importance for one of the aims of moral education: eunomia, affinity with the law.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: the many faces of Socrates
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The panel will involve a discussion of the different ways in which Socrates is presented as a philosopher in the Platonic dialogues. We will look at Socrates as a teacher and think about what kind of friend he is as a philosopher. We will look at Socrates' relationship to the poets and discuss his attitude towards death. We will also analyze the relationship in the Republic between moral education (paideia) and law-abidingness (eunomia).


Proposal Number: 129
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Solitude is Power: Teaching Milton and Rousseau during the Pandemic
Core Text:
Paradise Lost & The Discourse on Inequality
Abstract:
The elevation of the individual during the early modern era included an elevation of solitude that is perhaps best represented by Robinson Crusoe. Between Defoe's creation stand three characters in Paradise Lost (God the Father, Satan, and Eve) on the one hand and, on the other hand, the savage man of Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality. This paper offers a reflection on the powerful and fearsome place of solitude in these two texts. Why is solitude associated to power and happiness? How come its experience during a time like the pandemic suggest that it is different? This paper also ends with a few thoughts about teaching these texts to undergraduate during Fall 2020.


Proposal Number: 128
Date: 2021-03-14
Paper Title: The Plague and the Republic
Core Text:
Albert Camus-- The Plague
Abstract:
The characters and action of Camus' The Plague provoke reflection on the meaning and value of public action for human welfare and happiness. Through the character Rieux and his response to the plague, the novel depicts the need and reality of the public while rendering the needs and aspirations of individuals, like Rambert, as inadequate, even unimportant, to the circumstances. However, the novel itself nonetheless questions the adequacy of public action to satisfy the enduring human needs for meaning and love, as evidenced in the aftermath of the plague for even those characters who respond to the needs of the public and act for it. Camus' novel thus addresses the perennial debate about the public and the private in their respective claims on and for human life.


Proposal Number: 127
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title: What kind of poets does Socrates want?
Core Text:
Plato, Republic
Abstract:
Plato’s Republic has many surface contradictions, for example, between the abstract, idealized citizens of the city in speech and the very concrete, often personal exchanges between Socrates and his interlocutors. Another such surface contradiction emerges between Socrates’s critique of Homer’s poetry as un-philosophic and his many references to Homer’s verses, not as rhetorical flourishes, but as authorities and sources for his key insights into virtue, human nature, and the human condition. Socrates clearly argues that poetic composition and appreciation should be guided by philosophy, even if we may dispute exactly how intrusive he wants that guidance to be. However, in my paper, I will argue that Socrates also hints that there’s a kind of poet who may serve not just as a handmaiden, but as an indispensable guide, to philosophers and citizens both, a poet whose work exhibits many of the same qualities that Socrates otherwise restricts to philosophy, but whose work retains a concrete encounter with human nature that contemplative philosophy may lack.


Proposal Number: 126
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title: The 1592 Plague and Shakespeare's return to Ovid
Core Text:
Shakespeare - Venus and Adonis
Abstract:
In the summer of 1592, the twenty-eight year old actor and neophyte playwright, William Shakespeare, was confronted with the closing of the London theatres because of an outbreak of bubonic plague. His answer to this temporary – but how was he to know how long? - cessation of his revenue streams, was to revisit the work of the poet Ovid and write two long narrative poems: ‘Venus and Adonis’ and The Rape of Lucrece’. Shakespeare was returning to the classical writing that he studied as a boy at Grammar School of King Edward VI, Stratford-upon-Avon and in so doing he injected his writing with an influence that was to shape his playwriting until his death. With a particular focus on ‘Venus and Adonis’, this paper will explore this ‘brilliantly sophisticated erotic comedy’ (Wells) and the impact that Shakespeare’s debut in print, and subsequent bestseller, was to make on his subsequent playwriting.


Proposal Number: 125
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title: The Invisible Man: Teaching through Lockdown
Core Text:
Magna Carta/US Constitution
Abstract:
Through teaching core texts to pre-university UK high school students, a range of pedagogical responses and shifts occurred through the long months of lockdown. At the start of the process the focus was on the institutional expectation of methodological change and 'discovery' (or rediscovery) of student vulnerability and visibility. At the end the focus had evolved (or perhaps dissolved) to one of increasing self-awareness of the fundamentals of the invisible online setting: were the students actually there? Who was teaching who?


Proposal Number: 124
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC Liberal Arts Institute Project: Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts. Reports on innovations in 10 institutions.
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute held a two-week project at Carthage College in the summer of 2019 on "Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts." Attended by faculty from 10 institutions around the world and supported by the Institute and the Bradley Foundation, faculty members explored and discussed over fifty texts which directly shaped the purpose, structure, matter, techne, applications and productions of the trivium and quadrivium -- ancient to modern. Inquiries led beyond the trivium or quadrivium to perspective in painting, modern scientific foundations, and recent innovations in grammar and rhetoric. Faculty members discussed the use and implementation of these texts in new and projected curricula. This panel will receive reports on a wide variety of course and textual use -- rejuvenating the direct use of the liberal arts in higher education. Joshua Parens, Ben Desmidt and J. Scott Lee will co-chair the panel. Reports will be made available through ACTC and will lead to the development of a future project on the liberal arts. Faculty and administrators interested in the history, theory, and application of the liberal arts are warmly invited to attend.


Proposal Number: 123
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: Ibn Khaldun, the first sociologist?
Core Text:
Muqaddimah
Abstract:
Both long-term and recent debates about eurocentrism and decolonizing the university curriculum pose the question of how to enrich the history and practice of the social sciences without substituting one ethnocentrism for another. The paper addresses this pressing concern by exploring the various strategies of reading the sociologically relevant fragments from the Muqaddimah (Prolegomena), the wide-ranging treatise by the 14thcentury North African social theorist Ibn Khaldun. Was Ibn Khaldun a founder of sociology avant la lettre? Was he a precursor of major classical and modern social theories? Or, do these perspectives merely modernize and Westernize the ideas of a medieval thinker steeped in the Arab approaches to government and in the Islamic “religious sciences”? By looking at Ibn Khaldun’s perspectives on human difference, social solidarity (asabiyya), political power, and social change, the paper makes suggestions on how to teach the Muqaddimah and on the strategies of further revising and expanding the classical canon of sociological theory and research.


Proposal Number: 121
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC Liberal Arts Institute Project: Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts. Reports on innovations in 10 institutions.
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute held a two-week project at Carthage College in the summer of 2019 on "Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts." Attended by faculty from 10 institutions around the world and supported by the Institute and the Bradley Foundation, faculty members explored and discussed over fifty texts which directly shaped the purpose, structure, matter, techne, applications and productions of the trivium and quadrivium -- ancient to modern. Inquiries led beyond the trivium or quadrivium to perspective in painting, modern scientific foundations, and recent innovations in grammar and rhetoric. Faculty members discussed the use and implementation of these texts in new and projected curricula. This panel will receive reports on a wide variety of course and textual use -- rejuvenating the direct use of the liberal arts in higher education. Joshua Parens, Ben Desmidt and J. Scott Lee will co-chair the panel. Reports will be made available through ACTC and will lead to the development of a future project on the liberal arts. Faculty and administrators interested in the history, theory, and application of the liberal arts are warmly invited to attend.


Proposal Number: 120
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: "The Present Calamity in a True Perspective": C. S. Lewis on Learning in the Time of the Pandemic
Core Text:
C. S. Lewis's "Learning in War-Time"
Abstract:
During times of great crisis, whether a world war or a global pandemic, it may seem that scholarly pursuits, including the reading and teaching of core texts, are out of place or even unfitting---akin to fiddling while Rome burns. Drawing inspiration from C. S. Lewis's essay entitled "Learning in War-Time," which he originally delivered as a talk at the start of World War 2, I argue that, if our work was important and worthwhile before the time of crisis, it remains so during the crisis. The key premise in my argument, which I take from Lewis, is that crises create no absolutely new situation; rather, they only exacerbate the ordinary. After defending this premise and the argument of which it is a part, I explore some practical ramifications of my conclusion for teachers of core texts as well as for students.


Proposal Number: 119
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: Solace in a Torn World - Reading the Hōjōki in the Age of Covid19
Core Text:
Hojoki
Abstract:
Exactly 809 years ago, in a tiny hut measuring roughly 10x10 feet in eastern foothills of the bustling capital of Kyoto, a 57-year old ex-court poet and musician sat down to compose a short text known as the Hōjōki 方丈記, loosely-translated as An Account of My Small Hut. In this work, Kamo no Chōmei (1155–1216) reflected on the “torn world” around him—a world ravaged by natural disasters such as earthquakes, famine, fires, in addition to unrest produced by the political uncertainties of the early Kamakura Era. In this paper, I introduce the Hojoki, situating the text within the genre of Sino-Japanese recluse literature but also in relation to both Chinese Daoist and Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist thought, with a particular focus on the ways that the Hōjōki might help us to understand and engage with our current situation of overlapping crises, both natural and social.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 118
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Many faces of Socrates
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The panel will involve a discussion of the different ways in which Socrates is presented as a philosopher in the Platonic dialogues. We will look at Socrates as a teacher and think about what kind of friend he is as a philosopher. We will look at Socrates' relationship to the poets and discuss his attitude towards death. We will also analyze the relationship in the Republic between game (paidiá) and law-abidingness (eunomia).


Proposal Number: 117
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: The big picture, interdisciplinarity and the role of university teaching in the training of intellectuals.
Core Text:
Mission of the University by José Ortega y Gasset
Abstract:
In my paper I will be sharing my experiences of using Mission of the University, by José Ortega y Gasset, in my classes on Ethics for undergraduate science students - medicine, nursing, biology and chemistry. I use this text after student have read “The Revolt of the Masses” and Plato’s Apology and debated about the problem of hyper-specialization. In the conclusions I argue that the reading of Mission of the University is a fruitful way to understand why university teaching is much more than professional training.


Proposal Number: 116
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: The big picture, interdisciplinarity and the role of university teaching in the training of intellectuals.
Core Text:
Mission of the University by José Ortega y Gasset
Abstract:
In my paper I will be sharing my experiences of using Mission of the University, by José Ortega y Gasset, in my classes on Ethics for undergraduate science students - medicine, nursing, biology and chemistry. I use this text after student have read “The Revolt of the Masses” and Plato’s Apology and debated about the problem of hyper-specialization. In the conclusions I argue that the reading of Mission of the University is a fruitful way to understand why university teaching is much more than professional training.


Proposal Number: 115
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 112
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: Finding Skillful Means in Seon Master Chinul's Secrets
Core Text:
Secrets on Cultivating the Mind by Chinul
Abstract:
This paper explores ways in which the 12th century Korean monk Chinul demonstrates the Buddhist virtue of skillful means in responding to a time of crisis. While there had been an exemplary spirit of harmony and cooperation among Buddhist schools and the state in 7th-8th century Korea, by the 12th century a sense of “the degenerate age of the dharma” (Kr. malpōp) had set in, along with discord between scholastic schools and meditation schools and corruption among monks. While others had tried and failed to restore a shared sense of devotion and harmony among Buddhist schools, the Seon monk Chinul succeeded by applying skillful means in his call for renewal by recognizing the value of the texts, doctrines, and practices of other schools, in particular the Hwaeom doctrine of “gradual cultivation,” while at the same time affirming the central Seon doctrine of “sudden awakening.” Chinul’s devotion, ecumenism, and innovation helped both to renew harmony among Buddhist schools in Korea and to established a distinct identity for Korean Seon.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel explore ways in which East Asian traditions offer resources for cultivating responsive virtuosity in times of crisis. Each presentation considers ways in which East Asian texts respond to crises in their historical contexts and how they offer resources for responding to the pandemic and other crises in our time. The panel includes presentations on the 13th century Japanese Buddhist monk Chōmei’s Hōjōki by James Mark Shields (Bucknell University), the 12th century Korean Buddhist monk Chinul’s “Secret on Cultivating the Mind” by Robert Scott (University of North Georgia), and the 17th century Japanese Zen master Takuan’s “The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom” by James McRae


Proposal Number: 111
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: Synchronous Learning in Plato’s Phaedrus
Core Text:
Plato, Phaedrus
Abstract:
After Socrates’ second speech in the Phaedrus, a discussion about the nature of rhetoric commences, culminating in the distinction between the art of writing and the art of dialectic. This passage provides deep insight into the advantages of synchronous learning, especially for the liberal arts. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges made a rapid shift to online education, and depending on particular circumstances, professors had to quickly choose between synchronous and asynchronous learning. Remarkably, there is very little literature on the philosophical grounding for the advantages of in-person versus online education, nor the advantages of synchronous versus asynchronous learning. This paper uses the Phaedrus’ distinction between writing and dialectic as the basis for understanding the necessity of in-person education, or at the very least synchronous online education, for liberal learning.


Proposal Number: 110
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: Blood and Virtue: The Role of Political Violence in Machiavelli’s Restorative Political Project
Core Text:
Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Discourses on Livy
Abstract:
A key theme in Machiavelli’s thought, present in both The Prince and The Discourses on Livy, is the ordering and reordering of corrupt modern states in accord with his understanding of ancient virtue. Machiavelli proposes a number of methods to achieve this goal, but a central motif is the use of political violence. Bloodshed is repeatedly given Machiavelli’s approval in order to achieve the goal of freeing a state from its corruption and creating or restoring virtuous modes and orders. This paper examines the place of political violence in Machiavelli’s thought, paying particular attention to how Machiavelli recommends that violence ultimately be turned to restorative ends and be used to bring about the sort of regime Machiavelli views as desirable.


Proposal Number: 109
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: "Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis"
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 108
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: What Kind of a Teacher was Socrates?
Core Text:
Xenphon's Memorabilia and select Platonic dialogues
Abstract:
This paper will ask what kind of a teacher Socrates was. It will begin by examining the various types of human beings he speaks to in Plato's dialogues as well as in Xenophon's Memorabilia. Central to my inquiry will be the hypothesis that Plato never presents Socrates teaching, and Xenophon only recounts briefly what Socratic education may have looked like. What is commonly called the "Socratic method" was a proptreptic or propaedeutic.


Proposal Number: 104
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title: Aquinas, Locke, and Lewis on Natural Law and Tyranny
Core Text:
Summa Theologiae, Questions Concerning the Law of Nature & Second Treatise, The Abolition of Man
Abstract:
Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and C.S. Lewis each posit a natural law doctrine of their own. While their doctrines might differ in some regards, one thing that the three have in common is that they see the natural law as a restraint against tyranny. Aquinas, Locke, and Lewis all agree that the natural law is the basis of non-arbitrary and non-tyrannical positive law. In this paper I will consider why each of these authors hold this opinion and I will argue that it is of utmost importance for us to heed their advice.


Proposal Number: 103
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title: Health, Disease and Self-knowledge
Core Text:
"Lo Radical y la Libertad" by Leonardo Polo
Abstract:
Complex disease is difficult to handle, but paradoxically it provides a handle for knowing ourselves. In this paper we will dive into this route towards self-knowledge following insights from the recently published “Freedom in Quarantine” book, which contains a translation of core text "Lo Radical y la Libertad" by Spanish philosopher Leonardo Polo. And we will explore how self-knowledge can in turn be important to healing.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Know thyself. Developing a teacher training course around Freedom in Quarantine
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The realist revival sparked by John Senior has done much to inspire a renewed appreciation of classical realism in education. Leonardo Polo’s philosophical project illustrates how core aspects of modern thought can be valuable additions to classical realist insights into what it means to be human. Polo is not blind to modernity's drawbacks, nor does he compromise core realist tenets. We explain why Freedom in Quarantine is an important text to facilitate the constructive interaction between realism and modernity, and how we plan to make these insights accessible to teachers at realist Great Books programs.


Proposal Number: 102
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title: Language in Dante's Divine Comedy: The Place of Praise in Paradiso
Core Text:
Divine Comedy
Abstract:
In the Divine Comedy, the souls in paradise know each other's thoughts without speaking, seemingly making language unnecessary. However, since a portion of Cacciaguida’s speech in paradise is incomprehensible to Dante and the reader, it is a language proper to paradise. In contrast with Nimrod’s infernal speech and Adam’s account of natural language, Cacciaguida’s language expresses what the souls in paradise intellect through their vision of God instead of the knowledge they obtain through reason. Because the language of paradise expresses intellection, Dante indicates that the highest level of human speech is the expression of love toward the being of another through praise.


Proposal Number: 100
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Planning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 95
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Planning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 94
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC's future in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 93
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC's future in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 74
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica--Planning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 101
Date: 2021-03-09
Paper Title: J.S. Mill on Education and Homeschooling
Core Text:
John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty"
Abstract:
In the context of discussion related to educational delivery in the midst of pandemic-related lockdowns and closed schools, this paper discusses how one popular alternative schooling method--homeschooling--relates to the educational philosophy of John Stuart Mill. Mill emphasizes the right of children to receive an education while criticizing the need for a state monopoly in providing that education directly. Arguably, Mill's writings on education provide a blueprint for a modern-day defense of a fairly broad right to homeschool one's children, albeit under certain regulations.


Proposal Number: 99
Date: 2021-03-07
Paper Title: Tyranny and Wisdom: Pandemic Politics and the Limits of Expertise
Core Text:
Xenophon, Hiero
Abstract:
In our contemporary context, we can consider two sorts of issues raised by Xenophon’s Hiero, and the debate between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojeve to which it gave rise. One is the possibility of “wise rule” (e.g., by public health experts) over an “unwise” (i.e., insufficiently enlightened) populace. The second is connected with the competing claims of expertise (e.g., public health, economic, psychological and educational) that would seem to demand a comprehensive of “architectonic” art to put them in their place. What can we learn about the possibility of wise rule that Kojeve imagines as the working out of the logic of the Enlightenment?


Proposal Number: 98
Date: 2021-03-05
Paper Title: ARS RHETORICA: Great Readings of the Ancient World
Core Text:
A selection of Greek and Roman speeches and rhetorical treatises
Abstract:
Presentation of a new module of the Core Curriculum at the University of Navarra dealing with Rhetorics, the power of eloquence and the prevalence of Greek and Roman oratory in liberal education. The development of this module came as a result of the ACTC Summer Program on Rejuvenating Liberal Arts that was held at Kenosha College, WI. There are texts from Thucydides, Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, Tacitus and Lucian.


Proposal Number: 97
Date: 2021-03-04
Paper Title: La muerte como reflexión de vida. Notas desde la filosofía de Platón
Core Text:

Abstract:
Para nadie es ajena la concepción de Platón sobre la muerte. En Fedón (64a) somos testigos de que la filosofía es una preparación para la muerte. ¿Cuál es el alcance de esta afirmación?¿Qué es lo que realmente quiere decir? La concepción sobre la muerte en el pensamiento de Platón puede ayudarnos a comprender mejor cómo vivir la vida. Esta inevitable relación entre la vida y la muerte nos convoca a reflexionar constantemente sobre nuestra existencia.


Proposal Number: 96
Date: 2021-03-04
Paper Title: Mentoring with Core Texts in the Covid Era
Core Text:
various
Abstract:
The past year has been dark, difficult, and disorienting for everyone, but particularly for students navigating the already challenging transition to college, particularly students from underserved backgrounds. This paper will reflect on and explore strategies for addressing those challenges through individual core text-focused mentorship programs, as well as the challenges--and possibilities--of online learning modalities for teaching critical reading, writing, and preparing students for intellectual life in the post-covid world.


Proposal Number: 91
Date: 2021-03-02
Paper Title: The Problem and Promise of the Sensual for the Ascetic in Books I and II of Celano’s "First Life"
Core Text:
Thomas of Celano's biography of St. Francis
Abstract:
Lepers, lilies, sweet fragrant fruits, suffering, the physicality of stigmata, the shining beauty of Francis’ dead body, and lovely language itself – Thomas Celano’s First Life of Saint Francis, concerning the earthly journey of this ascetic saint, ironically abounds with evocations of the sensual world. In this, it reminds me of my children’s and grandchildren’s favorite film, The Labyrinth. The similarities between the two texts, created almost eight hundred years apart, suggests a universal subtext in Celano, a message evidently as relevant to post-Jungian audiences, and to we who endure COVID-19, as to those of the thirteenth century and long before (Achilles, Odysseus, Aeneas): One must pass through hell to achieve love and personal destiny.


Proposal Number: 90
Date: 2021-03-02
Paper Title: A WORLD OF WOUNDS: JOB AND THE ECOLOGIST
Core Text:
Bible, Job. Leopold, Essays from Round River
Abstract:
The Conference theme states, “One of the grand claims advocates of liberal education make is that the books we teach can provide consolation and refuge in times of trouble.” This talk explores connections between Job in the Hebrew Bible and the essays of Aldo Leopold. Job suffers loss and pain, apparently inflicted without reason, while Leopold finds that he “lives alone in a world of wounds." The two come to realize that humans are not the center of creation and that our conventional wisdom must be replaced by a new understanding.


Proposal Number: 89
Date: 2021-03-02
Paper Title: Mrs. Dalloway as a Pandemic Text
Core Text:
Mrs. Dalloway
Abstract:
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway has traditionally been taught in the context of postwar trauma. Elizabeth Outka’s recent monograph Viral Modernism: the Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature explores, both in the character of Clarissa Dalloway and in society at large, the presence of the “lingering physical and psychological damage the virus could inflict even months and years after the attack.” This paper will draw on my experience of teaching and discussing Mrs Dalloway through the lens of Outka’s reading and will incorporate undergraduate responses to this text in a post-pandemic time, as the world prepares for a return to “normal.”


Proposal Number: 88
Date: 2021-03-01
Paper Title: “Old People Will Die Anyway”: Senescence, Mortality, and Exiled Healer in Euripides’ Alcestis
Core Text:
Euriplides' Alcestis
Abstract:
The myth of Alcestis’ vicarious sacrifice on behalf of her husband Admetus, vividly recounted in Euripides’ tragedy, includes a vexed exchange between Admetus and his father, Pheres, whom Admetus had at a previous plot point unsuccessfully petitioned to die in his stead (Alcestis 606-740). Looming large in the exchange is the ethical question of old age’s value, negotiated in light of the survival of younger people, paternal and filial piety, and widowhood. The exiled Apollo, god of destruction as well as healing, is accomplice to the situation that results in Alcestis’ untimely death. The healing god’s exile is a mythic twist that invites reflection on our own contemporary response to the question of senescence and responsibility during pandemic.


Proposal Number: 86
Date: 2021-03-01
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Rethinking - Again - Universities, College and Hutchins
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will explore the distinctions as well as relationships between “great books” or “core text” curriculums and the related ideas of “inter-disciplinarity,” “general education” and the “liberal arts” altogether. Our pretext is a talk delivered at Shimer College by J Scott Lee in January 2011 on “Rethinking Universities, College and Hutchins” (collected in his book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts) on why core text programs should be part of undergraduate curricula in light of Hutchins’ arguments in The Higher Learning in America. In 2011 Lee was (as he recognized) preaching to the choir in the faculty and students of Shimer College, where the entire curriculum was based on Hutchins’ own plan for a self-contained undergraduate education through core texts. Six years later, however, Shimer College became the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College and its curriculum - still based on Hutchins’ plan - is now just one among an array of interdisciplinary programs, all of which exist in the interstices of a full complement of traditional disciplinary departments, which in turn are linked through a complex general education program that in turn marks North Central College as a liberal arts college. Our panel will be devoted to thinking through the institutional relationships between these distinct but clearly related forms of educational enterprise, partly with a view to understanding how best to chart a path forward for the Shimer School in its new guise and new home. More generally, we hope to renew Scott Lee’s and Hutchins’ questions about how to ensure the integral presence of core text programs as all universities and colleges emerge into the post-pandemic world, particularly with reference to our colleagues’ own experiences addressing such questions through their own programs.


Proposal Number: 85
Date: 2021-03-01
Paper Title: Restlessness and Contentment: Happiness in Wind in the Willows
Core Text:
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
Abstract:
Many works of children's literature raise eternal questions about the human condition. Fewer of these masterfully play with possible answers to those questions. The Wind in the Willows is one of these works--Grahame offers a sustained examination of the question of the proper relationship one should have to one's home, particularly in the chapters "Wayfarers All" and "Piper at the Gates of Dawn." This paper seeks to clarify what "the wind is whispering in the willows" about the restlessness of the human heart.


Proposal Number: 83
Date: 2021-02-28
Paper Title: A Pure Scream
Core Text:
Clarice Lispector's The Hour of the Star
Abstract:
Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star recounts the painfully unhappy story of an impoverished girl named Macabéa, a story that, as the author bluntly notes, “takes place during a state of emergency and a public calamity.” Yet this is not at all a tale framed by plague, insurrection, or natural catastrophe. Nor is it about the crushing powerlessness that oppresses a more-than-substantial portion of the human race at this very moment. Rather, Lispector’s Hour should be better thought as occurring within an indefinite age in which we all – rich or poor, happy or unhappy – lack the “delicate essential” to which the novella’s male narrator refers. What is this essential? And what does it have to do with the act of writing, a writing that Lispector claims “trips up” her life, but which also seems to have something to do with not having answers to life’s own questions?


Proposal Number: 82
Date: 2021-02-27
Paper Title: Moral Evil: Lessons from Rousseau and the Lisbon Earthquake
Core Text:
Rousseau, Second Discourse
Abstract:
Eighteenth-century Europeans explained the Lisbon earthquake as a natural evil, part of a providentially ordered world in which disasters were evidence of a moral order in which every sin had its consequences. What was puzzling was why the Creator allowed crimes that would require such punishment. Rousseau was the first to treat the problem of evil philosophically, and to offer something of a solution to it. He explained that if the orthodox view is true—that evils have their place in this best of all possible worlds—then there’s no need to do anything about them. His Second Discourse effectively took responsibility for evil out of God’s hands and put it in ours. In this paper I shall argue that modern disaster researchers essentially follow Rousseau’s lead. Although they have abandoned the word “evil,” they rightly argue that disasters occur in societies, not in nature. And yet, when human heedlessness causes destruction, then leaves the world’s poorest people at its mercy, it isn’t merely disastrous, it’s evil.


Proposal Number: 81
Date: 2021-02-27
Paper Title: Contagion of Grief: Orphans, Theft of Language, and Loss during War and Economic Crisis
Core Text:
The Painted Bird
Abstract:
Children living precariously during times of war are often rendered invisible by their societies, just as children in dire economic circumstances often are. These twin wars (power and economics) run through the works that this paper will juxtapose. In The Painted Bird (1965), by Jerzy Kosinski, a child is abandoned by his parents to wander through horrors in Eastern Europe at the outset of WWII - the pandemic of war in this controversial novel is newly relevant due to the release of the film of this work at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sacrifice, and rescue, of orphan children and language during a (war-like) economic pandemic are also at the core of the film Central Station (1998), as retired teacher Isadora goes from “stealing” the words of her illiterate fellow citizens— taking their money in exchange for writing their dictations of letters to loved ones, and then never mailing those letters—to rescuing an orphan named Josué.


Proposal Number: 79
Date: 2021-02-26
Paper Title: What Political Science Can Offers to Core Texts
Core Text:

Abstract:
This paper examines how the main subfields of Political Science – American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory – offer a typology to understanding core texts. This approach not only can reveal new insights about core texts but can also be adopted as a pedagogical approach to help students appreciate them.


Proposal Number: 78
Date: 2021-02-25
Paper Title: Knowledge for Its Own Sake in the Thought of John Henry Newman and F. W. J. Schelling
Core Text:
John Henry Newman, Idea of the University
Abstract:
In the 19th century, most prominent reforms in the world of higher education drew much of their inspiration from German idealists like F. W. J. Schelling. John Henry Newman wrote his Idea of the University in part as a response to these reforms. However, both Schelling and Newman state that the aim of the university is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. This paper will analyze how these two thinkers understand knowledge for its own sake and the repercussions of their thought in the university.


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


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

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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


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


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

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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


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

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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


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


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


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

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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