ACTC
The Association for Core Texts and Courses

"Supporting Liberal Arts Core Text Curricula Around the World"

 

Home | Annual Conference | Liberal Arts Institute at SMC: Help for Core Programs and Institutional Development | History of ACTC | Advisory Board and Officers of ACTC | Institutional Members | Join

Submitted Proposals for the
2010 ACTC Annual Conference

Proposal Number      Date Received      Proposal Title
282.    04-13-2010    Core Texts and Leadership for Social Justice: Exploring Hesse's Siddartha and the Dalai Lama's Becoming Enlightened
281.    04-11-2010    Different views of nature from Hobbes and Darwin to Lao Tsu
280.    03-30-2010    On the Question of Teleological Explanation in Anaxagoras’ Philosophy
279.    03-30-2010    Reconsidering Relevance: Integrating Core Texts into a Science Course Focused on Contemporary Civic Issues
278.    03-28-2010    “Bessie, Bop, or Bach”: What Langston Hughes’ Poem “Theme for English B” Might Teach Us about Core Texts and Core Teaching
277.    03-24-2010    Plato's Euthyphro and Persecution Through the Ages
276.    03-16-2010    
275.    03-11-2010    Applying G.W.F. Hegel’s 'Philosophy of Fine Art' to Modern Art
274.    03-10-2010    Interdisciplinariness in Alice MacDermott's Story, "Robert of The Desert"
273.    03-02-2010    Interdisciplinariness in Alice MacDermott's Story, "Robert of the Desert"
272.    02-26-2010    Dante and the "Fine School" of the Homeric Poets
271.    02-25-2010    Theatrical Music in Greek Settings, Then and Now
270.    02-24-2010    Quantum Feline: The Prescience of Poe's Black Cat
269.    02-22-2010    Genesis and Thucydides: Eros and the City
268.    02-22-2010    The Sins and Errors of Statius: Dante's Purgatory XXI-XII
267.    02-15-2010    "The Detective and the Cave."
266.    02-14-2010    Socrates and Crito; an encounter between the world of friends and family and the world of the Laws of the city.
265.    02-13-2010    Cosmopolitanism in Ibn Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan
264.    02-13-2010    Humanities Education and the Hidden Civic Virtue of Doubt
263.    02-05-2010    The Unfinished Drama of Faust and the Core Student
262.    02-04-2010    The Boston University Core and Departmental Resistance
261.    02-04-2010    Humanities education and the hidden civic virtue of doubt
260.    01-31-2010    Creating a Comics Core: Word and Image in the Canon
259.    01-30-2010    What We Talk About When We Talk About Core Texts: The Art of Conversation in a World of Declining Civility
258.    01-29-2010    Ciceronian or Christian? The Sources for Augustine's Views of Friendship
257.    01-28-2010    Retelling Core Texts
256.    01-28-2010    Fate, Freewill, and the Great Acceptance in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
255.    01-28-2010    "Basil the Great and Augustine on Genesis, Humanity, and the Natural World"
254.    01-25-2010    The Relevance of John Newman' Idea of a University to contemporary Global Environment
253.    01-22-2010    Learning by Heart: Teaching Writing with Plato's Phaedrus
252.    01-22-2010    The Game of the Counterfeit in the early Phaedrus
251.    01-22-2010    "Cultural context in classical notions of moral beauty: Aristotle's kalon and Cicero's honestum"
250.    01-21-2010    Early Christian texts in the core: the case of Irenaeus and the Gospel of Philip
249.    01-20-2010    Tocqueville's Civic Associations and the Canadian Constitutional Politics of Diversity
248.    01-19-2010    The Gospel of the Southern Road: Examining the Blues Aesthetic in the Works of Sterling Brown and Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
247.    01-19-2010    General Education Curriculum: Ideas and Status in China
246.    01-19-2010    “Appian, Livy, and Advice Gone Awry: The Senate’s refusal to hear Allied Emissaries on the outbreak of the Bellum Sociale, 91 BCE”
245.    01-19-2010    The tragic city
244.    01-18-2010    Conversations with Great Dead Writers
243.    01-18-2010    Reading Descartes at College: then and now
242.    01-18-2010    Retreating Dante in the Age of Totalitarianism
241.    01-18-2010    Advice-Giving in Plautus
240.    01-18-2010    The Rhetoric of Economics
239.    01-17-2010    Nestor's Advice
238.    01-16-2010    Toward the Use of Paradoxes and Virtual Teams as a Critical Thinking Pedagogy in Mathematics for Liberal Arts Majors
237.    01-16-2010    The World of Authenticity
236.    01-16-2010    A Prescient Core Text: Soren Kierkegaard's The Present Age
235.    01-16-2010    Lost-love Monologues: Prufrock and Crusoe in England
234.    01-16-2010    The 'Life-World' and the 'World of Science'
233.    01-15-2010    Advice and Cultural Assimilation in Gregory of Tours
232.    01-15-2010    "And the eyes of them both were opened": Reading Genesis after Kant
231.    01-15-2010    Connecting Disciplines and Students Through Core-Texts: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
230.    01-15-2010    A U.S. Supreme Court Case as a Core Text Studying International Law
229.    01-15-2010    Five Keys to Success for One Core Program
228.    01-15-2010    Defending the Core: Notes from the Jailhouse
227.    01-15-2010    Virtue and the Divine in the thought of Descartes and Pascal
226.    01-15-2010    Crossing Worlds in Walcott's Omeros
225.    01-15-2010    Repositioning Aristotle in the History of Economic Thought: The First Creation of an Economic Context
224.    01-15-2010    David Hume's Perspective on Cultural Relativism
223.    01-15-2010    Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Cameron's "Avatar" Through the Lens of Intercultural Competence
222.    01-14-2010    Season of Migration to the North as a Core Text
221.    01-14-2010    The Pantheon in Rome : Approaches to Architecture as Text
220.    01-14-2010    Joyce's "Ulysses" and the science of reading
219.    01-14-2010    From Tralfamadore to Athens (and back)
218.    01-14-2010    Aristotle on the Self
217.    01-14-2010    Saints in Dante's Paradise
216.    01-13-2010    The Griffin Reflected
215.    01-13-2010    Friendship Conversion(s): Augustine’s Confessions as Formation of the Common Good
214.    01-13-2010    Rousseau: What is a Person?
213.    01-12-2010    Reducining Biology to Physics: Rethinking Life
212.    01-12-2010    She-lunking Plato's Cave
211.    01-11-2010    Unamuno- A Philosopher for Today's Youth
210.    01-09-2010    "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: How Deep the Subversion?"
209.    01-09-2010    Zosima at the Piraeus--Socratic Investigations in Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov
208.    01-09-2010    Aristotle's Great Virtues
207.    01-08-2010    The Hymn of the Robe of Glory: Allegory and Alethea
206.    01-08-2010    Texts and contexts: What Athens teaches us about Plato’s Apology
205.    01-08-2010    “Who Am I? Exploring Individual and Communal Identity through Core Text Courses”
204.    01-08-2010    "Immortality in Culture": Donne's Holy Sonnets in Margaret Edson's WIT
203.    01-07-2010    Irony, ideas and the development of identity
202.    01-06-2010    The Myth of Protagoras and Modern Political Thought
201.    01-06-2010    The Male Gaze or Spiritual Regard?
200.    01-05-2010    Psyche, Soma, Polis: Sickness and Selfhood in Victorian Europe and Contemporary India
199.    01-05-2010    Reading Pericles’ Funeral Oration in the Caribbean: the challenge of integrating a core text curriculum into the Humanities program at Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar
198.    01-04-2010    “fine things to take as models, base things … to avoid”: Core Texts and Community Building in Livy’s History of Rome, Book I
197.    01-04-2010    Montesquieu's PERSIAN LETTERS and the uses of comparativism
196.    01-04-2010    Montesquieu's Niche in Western Political Philosophy
195.    01-04-2010    apestry: Christian and Classical Mélange in C. S. Lewis’ _Perelandra_ and _Till We Have Faces_
194.    01-04-2010    Thomas Aquinas on War and Charity
193.    01-04-2010    The Right of Revolution in Locke's *Second Treatise of Government*
192.    01-04-2010    Montaigne and Robert Frost, or the geography of literacy
191.    01-04-2010    The Spell of Lyric Poetry
190.    01-04-2010    Works of Art as Interdisciplinary Core Texts for the Liberal Arts
189.    01-03-2010    Morality and Advantage in Cicero's *On Duties*
188.    01-03-2010    John Locke as a Core Text for Liberal Education
187.    01-03-2010    Camus' Guests
186.    01-01-2010    Better to Have Daughters: War Through the Lens of T’ang dynasty poetry.
185.    01-01-2010    Shakespeare's Hamlet, Victorian Ophelias and Popular Culture
184.    01-01-2010    Encountering Empire in Aeneid 6
183.    12-31-2009    The Demands of Love: Awareness of Worlds in Reading St. Augustine's Confessions
182.    12-31-2009    Education Around Fireplace: Parental Role in Instilling Cultural Values and The Value of Modern Education in the Minds of Oromo Children in Western Ethiopia
181.    12-31-2009    The Un-Aristotelianism of Heidegger's Aristotle on Nature
180.    12-31-2009    Dreaming the Garden; the Roman de la Rose, Pearl and the History of Landscape Design
179.    12-31-2009    World-Weariness: Escape and Critique in Baudelaire and Camus
178.    12-31-2009    Re-thinking Scriptural Epistemology
177.    12-31-2009    Beyond the Watchmaker: Investigating Subtleties of Design in Paley's Natural Theology
176.    12-31-2009    The Importance of Subjectivity in Understanding Religious Experience
175.    12-31-2009    Human Nature and Republican Constitutionalism in The Federalist Papers
174.    12-31-2009    Machiavelli's History of Florence as a Core Text?
173.    12-31-2009    Turning and Returning to Core Texts through Cinema: An Examination of Andrey Zvyagintsev's Film *The Return* and How It Interacts and Engages with the Western Canon
172.    12-31-2009    Plato's *Ion* as a contribution to political philosophy
171.    12-31-2009    Discussing Race in the Classroom:
170.    12-31-2009    Teaching Browning’s “My Last Duchess” in the 21st Century: Challenges and Practices
169.    12-31-2009    Some Principles of Hesiod's Theogony
168.    12-31-2009    The Many Worlds of Genesis 1: Augustine on the Diversity of Scriptural Interpretations (Confessions 12)
167.    12-31-2009    Fatherhood, Criminality, and Authority in Freud's Totem and Taboo
166.    12-31-2009    "Not merely to say things which had never been said before": Originality in the Enlightenment and in the Information Age
165.    12-31-2009    The Rhetoric of Work, Wealth and Virtue in The Wealth of Nations
164.    12-31-2009    Thinking Rules and Applications: The Value of Theoretical Criticism
163.    12-31-2009    Rabelais and His Contexts
162.    12-31-2009    The Unfinished Drama of Faust and the Core Student
161.    12-31-2009    "Statesmanlike Medicine": Socratic Reflections on Justice, Communiy, and Healthcare
160.    12-31-2009    The Belt that Holds the Fate of Rome: A Reconsideration of the Final Scene in Vergil’s Aeneid
159.    12-31-2009    The Building from Horace’s Metaphorical Monument to Shakespeare’s Metaphorical Miracle in Sonnet 65
158.    12-31-2009    Tayeb Salih's "Season of Migration to the North" and the Pathologies of Moral Philosophy
157.    12-31-2009    Ovid's Metamorphoses or the Case for Spiritual Hedonism
156.    12-31-2009    Rousseau's Republican Rhetoric
155.    12-31-2009    Authority and Anonymity in Descartes' Discourse on Method
154.    12-31-2009    Integrating Core and Culture: Using Contemporary Multimedia to Complement the Literary Text
153.    12-31-2009    Integrating Core and Culture: Using Contemporary Multimedia to Complement the Literary Text
152.    12-31-2009    Tocqueville and the Challenge of Apathy
151.    12-31-2009    Newton's Principia: The unteachable core text?
150.    12-31-2009    African American aesthetics and Epistemologies in an interdisciplinary course
149.    12-31-2009    Truth, Reason, and Freedom: C. Wright Mills' The Power Elite Revisited
148.    12-31-2009    Economic Factions as Forces of Nature in Aristotle's Politics
147.    12-31-2009    Polo, Mandeville and Ricci: Polo, Mandeville and Ricci: European Intersections with China
146.    12-31-2009    The Family as the Basic Unit of Society in Lucretius
145.    12-31-2009    "A Brother's Dead Love": Learning to Tolerate Non-Erotic Love in the Non-West and in Twelfth Night
144.    12-31-2009    Revolution in Values: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Struggle for Racial Democracy
143.    12-31-2009    “Life Should Be So”: Self-Esteem and Morality in James Joyce’s Ulysses
142.    12-31-2009    The Place of Religion in Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil
141.    12-31-2009    Genre and definition in Paradise Lost
140.    12-31-2009    Dying as Socrates, killing as Arjuna, and being able to tell the difference: Varying teaching styles according to the text.
139.    12-31-2009    “Aristotle on Carl Schmitt’s Friend/Enemy Distinction”
138.    12-31-2009    An Initiation into Revelry: The Influence of Dionysian Mythology in Melville’s Moby Dick
137.    12-31-2009    The Novum Organum and the Baconian method of reasoning in a general studies science class “The Nature of Cold”
136.    12-31-2009    Virgil's Deism: Creating a World Without Gods in the Aeneid
135.    12-31-2009    The Global Contexts of More's "Utopia"
134.    12-31-2009    The Order of Hierarchy and the Order of Accordance: A Comparison of the Creation Accounts of Hesiod’s Theogony and Genesis
133.    12-31-2009    Morte d’Arthur’s Chivalric Code and the Nexus with Contemporary Military Mythmaking
132.    12-30-2009    "Bartolomé de Las Casas' Defense of Indigenous Peoples: Core Texts, Cultural Clashes, and the Liberal Arts
131.    12-30-2009    Re-examining the Other
130.    12-30-2009    Raskolnikov and Akrasia
129.    12-30-2009    Descartes' Doubt and the Beginning of the Modern World
128.    12-30-2009    "You must never divulge divine things to the uninitiated": Teaching the Mysticism of Dionysius the Areopagite
127.    12-30-2009    "Out of One’s Mind and Engaging the World: Transcending Stereotypes in The Elegance of the Hedgehog"
126.    12-30-2009    Aristotle on Self-awareness
125.    12-30-2009    Using Nussbaum to Link the Apology and Crito to the Responsible Global Citizen
124.    12-30-2009    “Paired Programming” & Disparate Gears: Engaging the World in Core-Text Education
123.    12-30-2009    Eros Disarmed: Simone Weil and Wallace Stevens
122.    12-30-2009    Arts of War: Exploring Military Virtue and Human Nature Through Multiple Cultural Lenses
121.    12-30-2009    Quomodo Scimus (How do we know)? Reading, Writing and Speaking from Primary Sources in Elementary Latin
120.    12-30-2009    Cartesian World(s)
119.    12-30-2009    Crafting the Soul across Cultures
118.    12-30-2009    Back to the Future: Core Texts and Contexts for College Writing
117.    12-30-2009    A Global Region: The Trans-national Imagination in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!
116.    12-30-2009    Aristotle, Darwin and the Origin of “Species” – Understanding Evolution through Core Texts
115.    12-30-2009    Shakespeare's Sonnet 65: A Trivial Miracle
114.    12-30-2009    Crossed Cultural and Discipline Boundries in John Banville's The Infinities
113.    12-30-2009    Kierkegaard and the Contexts of Faith: a Leap or a Hop?
112.    12-30-2009    Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose: Engaging the Medieval Franciscan World with Postmodern Undergraduates.
111.    12-30-2009    Language and Independence in Bâ's So Long a Letter
110.    12-30-2009    Human Law and Divine Law in Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah
109.    12-30-2009    Genesis 1: Generally Known but Poorly Understood
108.    12-30-2009    Translating Seneca's Tragedies in the 21st Century
107.    12-30-2009    Translating Seneca's Tragedies in the 21st Century
106.    12-29-2009    Science Illiteracy and the Degradiation of American Democracy
105.    12-29-2009    Mama Day: A "downhome” Blues Song That Sows and Reaps
104.    12-29-2009    Engaging ecology, worlds and hyper worlds of G E Hutchinson
103.    12-29-2009    Are there natural duties? The problem of moral obligation in Locke's Second Treatise
102.    12-29-2009    Blind and Beggarly Eros in Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"
101.    12-29-2009    What Hath "White Tiger" to do with Waco?
100.    12-29-2009    The Ethics of Natural Selection: From the Dao to Darwin
99.    12-28-2009    Reading in the Dark: Teaching a novel of fragmented culture in Hanover College's fragmented core.
98.    12-28-2009    Conscience, Culture, and Moral Rules in Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments
97.    12-28-2009    Machiavelli as Teacher: Teaching Readers to Read and Conspirators to Conspire
96.    12-28-2009    Cellular Diversity: A Biology Course Based in Core Texts
95.    12-28-2009    "Entirely of that World": Teaching the Greek Neo-Platonists as Core Texts
94.    12-28-2009    Translation and Intertextuality: Robert Fagles' Borrowings from W. B. Yeats
93.    12-28-2009    Cultural Remoteness and the Poetic Bridge: Latin American Core Texts and Educating Through Internationalism
92.    12-28-2009    "Affects, Character and Engaging Perspectives in Friedrich Nietzsche's `Beyond Good and Evil'"
91.    12-28-2009    The theme of emancipation of the African woman in Une si longue lettre by Mariama Bâ
90.    12-28-2009    A Journey to Self: A Psychological Analysis of Fauset’s “Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral"
89.    12-28-2009    The Use of Ironic Humor in Don Quixote
88.    12-27-2009    “…He winces not”: Teaching The Souls of Black Folk at an HBCU
87.    12-27-2009    Dante's Psychology of Human Failing and Success
86.    12-26-2009    Beauty's contexts: Symposium then and now
85.    12-26-2009    Core Texts in Mathematics: Richard Dedekind, Number and the Mind
84.    12-24-2009    A Paideia for the Millennialists: King Lear Engages The Next Great Generation
83.    12-24-2009    Compare & Contrast: Visual Texts in Art History Courses for the General Studies Curriculum
82.    12-24-2009    Intuition and Pascal's "Generation of Conic Sections"
81.    12-24-2009    Turgenev's Fathers and Sons: An Essay on Science, Social Activism, Love, and Happiness
80.    12-23-2009    Teaching Douglass as a Master Rhetorician
79.    12-23-2009    If you can read only one Enlightenment text with your students, what should it be? A case for Pope's *Essay on Man.*
78.    12-23-2009    Teaching Students About Evil and Politics
77.    12-23-2009    The Value of Core Texts in Science Education
76.    12-23-2009    Using fiction and nonfiction by Barbara Kingsolver to help students think across disciplines
75.    12-23-2009    The tradition of the thought experiment and the new science of ecology.
74.    12-23-2009    Robert Zaretsky, "Thucydides and Camus: History in a Tragic Key"; David Mikics, "Genesis and Thucydides: Eros and the City"
73.    12-22-2009    The Unity of the Good in Aristotle
72.    12-22-2009    The Problem with Engaging Worlds: E. M. Forster's Suspicion of Culture
71.    12-22-2009    the accidental core text
70.    12-22-2009    The (Ecclesiastical) Politics of the Wife of Bath
69.    12-22-2009    Negotiating Core Texts with Others
68.    12-22-2009    The Educational Value of two Different Worlds in Great Expectations
67.    12-22-2009    The Disenchantment of the West:: E.M. Forster and Max Weber on the Enlightenment Tradition
66.    12-21-2009    In Dialogue with Nature: the first core text science course in The Chinese University of Hong Kong
65.    12-21-2009    Heart Sutra at Heart of Dialogue with Humanity
64.    12-21-2009    Byron's Vision of a World Without Cultural Context: the Metaphysics of Farewell
63.    12-21-2009    After the Tower of Babel: Reassembling Mankind
62.    12-20-2009    Yes, you can love Jane Eyre
61.    12-20-2009    Rousseau's Critique of Cosmopolitanism
60.    12-18-2009    Kant, Goethe, Emerson, and the Limits of Understanding
59.    12-18-2009    Teaching Critical Thinking by Reconstructing Descartes Meditations
58.    12-18-2009    Tragedy, Evil, and Politics: Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History
57.    12-18-2009    Bayle and Enlightenment Views of China
56.    12-18-2009    "Delta Autumm Engulfed: Faulkner's Culture Shock"
55.    12-17-2009    The Detective and the Cave
54.    12-17-2009    Meantime: A Period of Worldlessness in Shakespeare's King Lear
53.    12-17-2009    Modern environmental texts as central/core to campus conversation
52.    12-17-2009    Silko's Ceremony as a Core Text: Natural and Unnatural Worlds
51.    12-17-2009    Deerly Beloved: Into the Woods with Generation Y
50.    12-16-2009    John Clarke Murray on Human Dignity within the Context of Labour and Property Reform
49.    12-16-2009    The Man Meets the Myth: Heracles Furens
48.    12-15-2009    If You Had Any Empathy at All, You Would Ditch Empathy as a Moral Concept
47.    12-15-2009    Augustine's Trinity
46.    12-15-2009    Works of Art as Interdisciplinary Core Texts for the Liberal Arts
45.    12-15-2009    Euclid and the Broadening of Lincoln’s Mind
44.    12-15-2009    "The True Ground of All These Piteous Woes"
43.    12-14-2009    Timeo Danaos et Dona Ferentis: The Status of Greek Culture in Cicero’s De Oratore
42.    12-11-2009    Odysseus, The Original Gangster: The Case for a Student-Friendly "Rap Translation" of Homer's Epic
41.    12-11-2009    The ‘World’ Outside the Text: Using Art in Teaching The Iliad
40.    12-10-2009    B.F. Forever: Inscribing Core Values into a Historicized Reading of Franklin’s Autobiography
39.    12-09-2009    Using George Herbert's Christian Humanism; Robert Pinsky's "Shirt."
38.    12-09-2009    "The Core Text Seen Through Art: Three Examples"
37.    12-09-2009    The Core Text Seen Through Art: Three Examples
36.    12-08-2009    Responsibilities to Future Generations: What's in it for me?
35.    12-08-2009    Covering the Defects of Naked Nature: The Pleasing Illusions of Human Artifice
34.    12-08-2009    On the Question of Teleological Explanation in Anaxagoras’ Philosophy
33.    12-07-2009    The Pastoral Mode in Paradise Lost: Ecological Restoration and Human Reconciliaiton
32.    12-04-2009    The Sterile Fruit of Individualism in Early 1960s England: Allusions to Paradise Lost in Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach.
31.    12-03-2009    Engaging Worlds: Multiple and Generational Views on the Writings of W.E.B DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
30.    12-03-2009    
29.    12-03-2009    Teaching Arendt’s "Eichmann in Jerusalem" as an Introduction to Philosophy
28.    12-01-2009    A Confrontation of Moral Realisms: Kant and Machiavelli
27.    11-30-2009    Critical Thinking: Contexts and Bernard Lonergan’s "Insight"
26.    11-30-2009    Engaging Cultures: Is the Melting Pot Still Cooking?
25.    11-30-2009    “Micromanaging the Absurd: Football, Pizza and Camus”
24.    11-29-2009    William Wordsworth: Apostle of Pleasure
23.    11-25-2009    Reading Core Texts as an Exercise in Otherness
22.    11-25-2009    Appropriation of Universalization: Reading Brook Reading the Mahabharata
21.    11-25-2009    Melville Was No Fluke
20.    11-25-2009    Unveiling Lucretia: achieving a new order through the feminine
19.    11-24-2009    Icarus Then and Now
18.    11-24-2009    "'The Beautiful Necessity': Idealism and Science in Emerson's 'Fate'"
17.    11-20-2009    Teaching Pascal in Modern and Postmodern Contexts
16.    11-18-2009    Hélène Berr’s "Journal" and Wole Soyinka’s "You Must Set Forth at Dawn" as core texts for a discussion of “Engaging Worlds: Core Texts and Cultural Contexts.”
15.    11-13-2009    Orhan Pamuk's "Implied Reader" for the novel SNOW
14.    11-03-2009    Alas! Things Fall Apart is a Core Text
13.    10-30-2009    The Cultural Assumptions of Core Text Programs
12.    10-26-2009    "Wrestling with the god(s)"
11.    10-20-2009    The Role of Mathematics in a Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
10.    10-20-2009    Wrestling with the god
9.    10-19-2009    Drama and religion or religious drama?
8.    10-07-2009    Tocqueville on Political and Civilian Society
7.    10-07-2009    Why read Walden?
6.    09-27-2009    Teaching the Qur'an, Learning the Culture
5.    09-22-2009    Retelling Core Texts: A Teacher's and Writer's Perspective
4.    09-15-2009    How to Illustrate Blind Ambition to a Business Student
3.    09-15-2009    Is Honor Dead? Hobbes's Impact
2.    09-09-2009    Hunger as Appetite and Metaphor
1.    09-09-2009    Egoism Confronting Itself: Hobbes Versus the Fool

Number: 282.

Title of Paper Proposal: Core Texts and Leadership for Social Justice: Exploring Hesse's Siddartha and the Dalai Lama's Becoming Enlightened

Core text discussed: Hesse's Siddartha

Date Submitted: 04-13-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In a first-year seminar titled “Leadership for Social Justice,” I challenge students to examine the values, knowledge and skills demonstrated by effective leaders for the public good, such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Recognizing the considerable influence of Buddhist philosophy on many social justice activists, I employ the Dalai Lama’s Becoming Enlightened as a required text, in which the author advocates altruistic practices as essential for achieving enlightenment by serving others on a vast scale. Which of the Dalai Lama’s “altruistic practices”, if any, offer practical solutions to contemporary leaders attempting to solve social justice problems? Can a core text such as Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, combined with the Dalai Lama’s text be useful in helping students to explore and clarify their values as potential social justice leaders?

Back to Top


Number: 281.

Title of Paper Proposal: Different views of nature from Hobbes and Darwin to Lao Tsu

Core text discussed: Lao Tsu, Darwin, Hobbes

Date Submitted: 04-11-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Abstract: The theme that links these readings is the concept of nature.  Hobbes and Darwin are at one end of the spectrum, whereas Lao Tsu takes a completely different approach.  My approach  will be to dissect each author’s approach to nature and break it down to its simplest form.

Back to Top


Number: 280.

Title of Paper Proposal: On the Question of Teleological Explanation in Anaxagoras’ Philosophy

Core text discussed: Anaxagoras fragment 4a & 12, Plato's Phaedo

Date Submitted: 03-30-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Anaxagoras affirms that MIND (nous) is responsible for the structure of our cosmos, insofar as it initiates a formative rotary motion within the heavens. Socrates, in Plato’s Phaedo, insists that Anaxagoras’ MIND is a blind efficient cause. Yet, in recent years, a number of scholars have argued that MIND is a planning and purposive cause: a teleological cause. In this paper, I offer a critical examination of the arguments that have been advanced in support of the teleological interpretation and I show that these arguments lack any real force. Thus, I suggest that Socrates’ interpretation (that is, Plato’s interpretation) is correct: Anaxagoras does not posit MIND as a purposive, planning, cause.

Back to Top


Number: 279.

Title of Paper Proposal: Reconsidering Relevance: Integrating Core Texts into a Science Course Focused on Contemporary Civic Issues

Core text discussed: Lovelock's Gaia work

Date Submitted: 03-30-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
As part of our campus’ participation in the SENCER program (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities), we developed an interdisciplinary science course for General Education that is focused on linking science content to significant, unresolved public issues. A key emphasis of the course is on students’ abilities to make connections – connections among the concepts from different scientific disciplines, between the science content and social concerns, between the science course activities and other aspects of curricular and co-curricular learning, and to the engaged civic lives of “citizen leaders.” A recent addition to the course challenged students to reflect on a semester of connections by working with Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis. His work focused on meta-connectivity served as a fitting course capstone that required students to consider this 20th century core text and connect it to their own scientific learning.

Back to Top


Number: 278.

Title of Paper Proposal: “Bessie, Bop, or Bach”: What Langston Hughes’ Poem “Theme for English B” Might Teach Us about Core Texts and Core Teaching

Core text discussed: "Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes

Date Submitted: 03-28-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Presently Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B” is the first text first-year students read, discuss, and write about in the Valparaiso University Core program. This paper offers a reading of that poem, with analysis of both formal and thematic elements, to highlight what serious issues it raises about so many aspects of any typical college classroom encounter involving students, teachers, and texts, but especially a course attempting to address certain core issues or values using texts of lasting worth and importance with students coming from a wide variety of cultural and educational backgrounds.

Back to Top


Number: 277.

Title of Paper Proposal: Plato's Euthyphro and Persecution Through the Ages

Core text discussed: Plato's Euthyphro

Date Submitted: 03-24-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Socrates posed a direct threat to the traditional power of the Athenian government, simply by questioning the basis of that tradition. In the same way, the Baha'i religious minority in Iran creates, by its very existence, an enormous problem for the Iranian theocracy. The persecution of both Socrates and the Baha'i can be seen as a self-preserving act of a government whose authority derives from religious tradition. The current oppression of the Baha'i can and should be understood in the light of Socrates' classic dilemma.

Back to Top


Number: 276.

Title of Paper Proposal:

Core text discussed:

Date Submitted: 03-16-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A presentation by faculty course chairs and other faculty on the components of Columbia's Core, their inter-connections and aims.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Columbia's Core Curriculum:

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Core faculty will discuss the aims and structure of the course comprising the Columbia Core today, the ways in which the courses connect and the rich educational and intellectual terrain it constitutes.

Back to Top


Number: 275.

Title of Paper Proposal: Applying G.W.F. Hegel’s 'Philosophy of Fine Art' to Modern Art

Core text discussed: Philosophy of Fine Art by G.W.F Hegel

Date Submitted: 03-11-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
I will discuss G.W.F Hegel's "Philosophy of Fine Art" and his concept of the Ideal. I will also explain how Hegel’s concept of the Ideal applies to modern artworks. I will discuss the correlation between the concept of art and its form. I will also explain how I have implemented this text into my understanding of what is art.

Back to Top


Number: 274.

Title of Paper Proposal: Interdisciplinariness in Alice MacDermott's Story, "Robert of The Desert"

Core text discussed: short story: "Robert of the Desert"

Date Submitted: 03-10-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
What constitutes a core text that invites various interpretations, a text that opens the students' minds to those various frames for understanding and interpreting texts, for interpreting meaning of human behavior, and for decoding a character's unstated conflicts that lie beneath the surface of human interactions? In the stories of Alice MacDermott we find such possibilities for interdisciplinary interpretations that blend the psychological and the feminist lenses for understanding what is really being said by characters through their dialogue, and how they measure up in their moral development. In one short story by MacDermott, "Robert in the Desert," published in summer 1989 in Savvy, MacDermott develops her plot to show what appears to be a variation on what Annis Pratt might term "archetypal patterns" of women's fiction: the plot about initiation into adulthood, entry into a relationship, the journey into sexuality, and finally, a "rebirth" or desire for personal change or transformation except what happens is less satisfying for the female character. The societal. Familial, and religious norms prevent the female character from experiencing fully what she desires, and as an effect, the female character experiences a sense of powerlessness in comparison to the males in the story. In this paper, Dr. Colleen McDonough will analyze how Lois, the female protagonist in MacDermott's story shows her anxiety, and her powerlessness amidst the assertiveness of her brother and in her memory of what her mother has revealed to her. Dr. Gail Corso, will analyze how Lois's desire to be reborn as an assertive communicator, one who is more decisive, and less controlled by the norms of society, less intimidated by the values and beliefs of her family, and more like her own brother, more like Robert of the Desert, is undermined by her own final retreat to her idealistic dreams for civility, for people to be like Robert. She does not look to herself for a solution.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Feminizing the Core

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
What constitutes a core text that invites various interpretations, a text that opens the students' minds to those various frames for understanding and interpreting texts, for interpreting meaning of human behavior, and for decoding a character's unstated conflicts that lie beneath the surface of human interactions? In the stories of Alice MacDermott we find such possibilities for interdisciplinary interpretations that blend the psychological and the feminist lenses for understanding what is really being said by characters through their dialogue, and how they measure up in their moral development. In one short story by MacDermott, "Robert in the Desert," published in summer 1989 in Savvy, MacDermott develops her plot to show what appears to be a variation on what Annis Pratt might term "archetypal patterns" of women's fiction: the plot about initiation into adulthood, entry into a relationship, the journey into sexuality, and finally, a "rebirth" or desire for personal change or transformation except what happens is less satisfying for the female character. The societal. Familial, and religious norms prevent the female character from experiencing fully what she desires, and as an effect, the female character experiences a sense of powerlessness in comparison to the males in the story. In this paper, Dr. Colleen McDonough will analyze how Lois, the female protagonist in MacDermott's story shows her anxiety, and her powerlessness amidst the assertiveness of her brother and in her memory of what her mother has revealed to her. Dr. Gail Corso, will analyze how Lois's desire to be reborn as an assertive communicator, one who is more decisive, and less controlled by the norms of society, less intimidated by the values and beliefs of her family, and more like her own brother, more like Robert of the Desert, is undermined by her own final retreat to her idealistic dreams for civility, for people to be like Robert. She does not look to herself for a solution.

Back to Top


Number: 273.

Title of Paper Proposal: Interdisciplinariness in Alice MacDermott's Story, "Robert of the Desert"

Core text discussed: short Story: "Robert of the Desert"

Date Submitted: 03-02-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
What constitutes a core text that invites various interpretations, a text that opens the students’ minds to those various frames for understanding and interpreting texts, for interpreting meaning of human behavior, and for decoding a character’s unstated conflicts that lie beneath the surface of human interactions? In the stories of Alice MacDermott we find such possibilities for interdisciplinary interpretations that blend the psychological and the feminist lenses for understanding what is really being said by characters through their dialogue, and how they measure up in their moral development. In one short story by MacDermott, “Robert in the Desert,” published in summer 1989 in Savvy, MacDermott develops her plot to show what appears to be a variation on what Annis Pratt might term “archetypal patterns” of women’s fiction: the plot about initiation into adulthood, entry into a relationship, the journey into sexuality, and finally, a “rebirth” or desire for personal change or transformation except what happens is less satisfying for the female character. The societal. Familial, and religious norms prevent the female character from experiencing fully what she desires, and as an effect, the female character experiences a sense of powerlessness in comparison to the males in the story. In this paper, Dr. Colleen McDonough will analyze how Lois, the female protagonist in MacDermott’s story shows her anxiety, and her powerlessness amidst the assertiveness of her brother and in her memory of what her mother has revealed to her. Dr. Gail Corso, will analyze how Lois’s desire to be reborn as an assertive communicator, one who is more decisive, and less controlled by the norms of society, less intimidated by the values and beliefs of her family, and more like her own brother, more like Robert of the Desert, is undermined by her own final retreat to her idealistic dreams for civility, for people to be like Robert. She does not look to herself for a solution.

Back to Top


Number: 272.

Title of Paper Proposal: Dante and the "Fine School" of the Homeric Poets

Core text discussed: Dante's Comedy

Date Submitted: 02-26-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper analyzes a unique event in Inferno 4 of the Comedy--Dante's admission into what he calls the "fine school" of poets led by Homer--and argues that this episode is a clue to Dante's understanding of his function as a poet and his intention in the Comedy.

Back to Top


Number: 271.

Title of Paper Proposal: Theatrical Music in Greek Settings, Then and Now

Core text discussed: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Date Submitted: 02-25-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Artifacts of Greek culture survive to illuminate adequately the practice of theatre and its cultural underpinnings, but little of the actual music survives. A work such as Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream invites musical contributions to its production; but how best to support the play with music that is consonant with the playwright's design and faithful to the nature of ancient Greek music? This paper examines Elizabethan and more modern approaches to the problem and considers recent recreations of music from ancient Greece and its role in informing the music of new productions of classic works.

Back to Top


Number: 270.

Title of Paper Proposal: Quantum Feline: The Prescience of Poe's Black Cat

Core text discussed: Poe's "The Black Cat"

Date Submitted: 02-24-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Edgar Allan Poe’s tale “The Black Cat” there comes a moment in the reading wherein the cat ceases to be observed by the reader, effectually relegating it to the state of quantum superposition: the cat is consigned to a combination of all its possible states. The cat, both alive and dead at the same time, remains in this state until the reader arrives at the point in the narrative when he or she, based upon the recollection of the narrator , hears the cat’s scream and thus observes and measures the cat, collapsing the superposition into a definite state. My paper will examine this curious narrative example of Schrödinger’s box from several perspectives, including reader response theory, Japanese translations of Poe’s tale, and how cultural constructs affect the reading/observation of the tale and of the cat itself. Finally, I will note Poe’s use of 19th century scientific concerns in his tale and his prescience in anticipating both Schrödinger and 20th century novels based on quantum mechanics.

Back to Top


Number: 269.

Title of Paper Proposal: Genesis and Thucydides: Eros and the City

Core text discussed: Genesis; Thucydides' History

Date Submitted: 02-22-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Both Genesis (in its portrait of Pharaoh's/ Joseph's Egypt) and Thucydides, in his picture of Athens, present cities that show the connection between desire, violence and self-deceptive aggrandizement. Egypt and Athens are both sophisticated, centralized civilizations; and both repress contrasting—perhaps incompatible--virtues. Athens and Sparta, Israel and Egypt might well form eternal opposites. Genesis and Thucydides' History reflect on different ways to think about political membership: what is it to be a citizen of these states, or tribes (if citizenship is even an appropriate category in the case of Egypt and Israel)? How do individuals achieve civic identity in them?

Back to Top


Number: 268.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Sins and Errors of Statius: Dante's Purgatory XXI-XII

Core text discussed: Dante's Purgatorio

Date Submitted: 02-22-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the second half of his Purgatorio Dante introduces the reader to his version of the great Latin poet Statius. Unlike Dante's Virgil, his Statius is one among the troop of souls who are on their way to taking their place among the blessed of the Christian Paradise. Statius explains this curious fact by revealing to Dante and Virgil that he was a crypto-Christian even during the composition of his Thebaid and that his conversion was effected by his reading of Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, which he understands to be prophecy of the coming of Christ. Dante makes clear elsewhere that Statius' reading of Virgil's Eclogue cannot be correct. Statius has been converted to the Christian faith then on the basis of a misreading of what is for him an authoritative text. It proves to be the case that Statius believes himself to have been converted to the correct practice of moral virtue also through a reading of Virgil's poetry, in this case a passage from the Aeneid. That his reading of this passage is also an error is clear on the face of it. Through Statius' errors in the reading of Virgil, Dante directs the reader to the error in regard to the nature of moral virtue that is at the heart of the Christian moral teaching. This error, it becomes clear, determines the structure of Mount Purgatory and the moral education putatively embodied in this structure and experienced by those who make the ascent up its seven terraces. On this basis it becomes necessary to discriminate between Dante's teaching regarding the nature and purposes of moral virtue and the Christian account of the nature and purposes of moral virtue.

Back to Top


Number: 267.

Title of Paper Proposal: "The Detective and the Cave."

Core text discussed: Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (+ Plato)

Date Submitted: 02-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The paradigm of the detective story can be related to Western culture's embrace of an objectivity that assumes that behind the confusing world appearances lies a world of clear reality. The detective, with his fundamental individualism and his scientific method, represents a successful "Guardian" of society. The Chinese tradition of detective fiction implies a quite different assumption about reality.

Back to Top


Number: 266.

Title of Paper Proposal: Socrates and Crito; an encounter between the world of friends and family and the world of the Laws of the city.

Core text discussed: Plato's Crito

Date Submitted: 02-14-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The Crito has two levels of dialogue. There is Socrates dialogue with his friend, Crito, and there is the dialogue Socrates reconstructs between himself and the Laws of Athens. Both involve coming to a resolution about whether he should escape from prison and thus save his life. Socrates introduces the Laws of Athens as an interlocutor who places loyalty to the laws of the city as having greater significance for, and putting a greater demand on, Socrates than loyalty to his family, friends and students. In a sense, the Laws introduce a world other than the empirical community of Crito’s appeal. What are the implications of this world introduced by the Laws for Crito’s world? In what way does this encounter force a reflection on the world that most of us take to be the primary reality?

Back to Top


Number: 265.

Title of Paper Proposal: Cosmopolitanism in Ibn Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan

Core text discussed: Ibn Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan

Date Submitted: 02-13-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper examines the theme of cosmopolitanism in the classic, medieval Islamic book, Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, "Living Son of the Awake," by Ibn Tufayl. Hayy, the story's hero, is born miraculously alone on a desert island. He comes to self-knowledge entirely on his own through his own reason, but when introduced to society he fails to enlighten its inhabitants with his "natural" philosophy. His attempt to replace their parochial beliefs and habits with a universal, cosmopolitan standard of justice and toleration that transcends their tribal and regional beliefs ends in failure. This paper explores why.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Scott: as discussed, I shall join the panel with Mark Kremer. I forget the name of the panel, sorry!

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
See above comment

Back to Top


Number: 264.

Title of Paper Proposal: Humanities Education and the Hidden Civic Virtue of Doubt

Core text discussed: Dante, _Inferno_, Arendt, _The Human Condition_

Date Submitted: 02-13-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Dante’s _Inferno_ presents students with an account of love as that which ideally binds together the political community and unites it with the divine. Hannah Arendt, in _The Human Condition_ and elsewhere, treats love as a distinct danger in political life: love collapses the space of appearance between people upon which freedom is based. As students read across these two accounts they are first presented with a radically different vision of the unity of community than one finds in a dominant, and often assumed, liberal view of interest as that which unifies political community, and then with an account that complicates the unity of a Dante’s medieval view without accepting interest as the basis of political community. The net potential effect of this movement – and more generally of a liberal arts education that allows such comparisons outside of the students’ comfort zones – is that students can develop the hidden virtue of doubt, a virtue that I will argue using Claude Lefort’s thought, is vital for modern democratic citizenship.

Back to Top


Number: 263.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Unfinished Drama of Faust and the Core Student

Core text discussed: Goethe/Faust

Date Submitted: 02-05-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In a series of texts included in the Literature Humanities syllabus of Columbia University, from Oedipus and Job to the Symposium, the Confessions, and Faust, I follow the theme of the human struggle to find meaning while simultaneously resolving the problem of authority and of the limits of human knowledge. Goethe’s seminal work resonates with students because in all his existentialist contradictions, Faust, no matter what the time, has always been the metaphor of modern man – a person who in a struggle with him/herself looks into the future and becomes a co-creator of the world.

Back to Top


Number: 262.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Boston University Core and Departmental Resistance

Core text discussed:

Date Submitted: 02-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
From my experience at Boston University I believe what we are facing is a problem that also affects many other Core programs, which is an organizational bias against the Core. Despite the longstanding and devoted efforts of the Directors of the Boston University Core we are suffering from a constant difficulty in recruiting tenured or tenure-track faculty into the program. The problem stems, I believe, less from the availability of interested and qualified faculty than from the fact that the organization of the University makes departments responsible for promotion and tenure, and thereby creates a de facto bias against the Core.

Back to Top


Number: 261.

Title of Paper Proposal: Humanities education and the hidden civic virtue of doubt

Core text discussed:

Date Submitted: 02-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
As a political theorist, concerned with questions of democratic citizenship, who teaches in a ‘great books’ degree program and in a Clemente Course in the Humanities, I have puzzled over the question of the inherent value of such an education for democratic citizenship. While I appreciate the arguments about generic skills and ‘critical thinking,’ these are not specific to the teaching of the western tradition. Many thoughtful commentators turn to Aristotle and/or Plato for the central account of virtue and reason that provides the answer to what content is brought from this particular form of education to democratic citizenship. Again, while I am supportive of the return to the ancients, the question of how an education that goes through the tradition, from antiquity to modernity, should be of value informing citizens remains; unless, that is, one argues that the value of the intellectual journey lies in locating some general ancient perspective as site of criticism of modernity – a claim that is less about the inherent value of the journey than about the value of the chronological starting place. Claims about the value of historical-cultural self-knowledge for a fuller citizenship are valuable but could be said of any tradition. I propose to begin to answer my question by looking at the role of doubt both in modern democratic citizenship and in a humanities education that focuses on the western cultural heritage. I will briefly suggest, following Claude Lefort’s claim that modern democracy asks that we value a legitimacy that must be held as an empty-place, that scepticism is of particular value for modern democratic citizenship. Then, I will suggest that reading the ‘western tradition’ allows us to engage in a deepening process of self-scrutiny. This value is found less in particular texts than in (a) the movement from one text to another and (b) the movement between acceptance and rejection that students often experience as they read across the western tradition. In short, doubt about one’s own reactions to a cultural heritage that is often rejected or hallowed can become a slowly-acquired virtue. To briefly illustrate this potential and illusive movement, I will talk about teaching Dante and the political promise of love followed by the teaching of Arendt’s Aristotelian-influenced worry about the role of love, the most “apolitical” of sentiments, in the realm of political action. The movement across these two positions spans the western tradition and students are invited to respond – whatever they decide in the end – through a process of resistance, acceptance, and then doubt.

Back to Top


Number: 260.

Title of Paper Proposal: Creating a Comics Core: Word and Image in the Canon

Core text discussed: Bayeaux Tapestries; Hogarth; Art Spiegelman; others

Date Submitted: 01-31-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in comics, graphic narrative and the graphic novel. But the juxtaposition of text and image has a long history. This paper explores both a genealogy of comics and the place comics may have in a core curriculum. For students, the hybrid juxtaposition of the verbal and visual can be a seductive way into the world of word and image.

Back to Top


Number: 259.

Title of Paper Proposal: What We Talk About When We Talk About Core Texts: The Art of Conversation in a World of Declining Civility

Core text discussed: Emerson, "Circles"(1841),"Thoreau"(1862); Thoreau, "On Walden Pond."

Date Submitted: 01-30-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Bowling Alone: The Collapse & Revival of American Community (2005), Putnam describes the decline of social capital and social bonds in American society today. What can reading Core Texts together do for the production and refinement of social capital? How do Emerson and Thoreau (mere examples) draw us into conversations about the value of shared conversation--and solitude/silence? Why do core texts contribute to civility and good manners?

Back to Top


Number: 258.

Title of Paper Proposal: Ciceronian or Christian? The Sources for Augustine's Views of Friendship

Core text discussed: Augustine's Confessions et al.

Date Submitted: 01-29-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Augustine's views on friendship often make for great discussion. Typically omitted from the discussion, however, is a detailed analysis of his sources--both classical and Christian. After making such an analysis, this paper will attempt a summary of Augustine's views in both classical and Christian terms. It will conclude with selected observations about how crucial excerpts from all three sources (classical, Christian, & Augustine himself) might be combined on one syllabus to the advantage of humanities students.

Back to Top


Number: 257.

Title of Paper Proposal: Retelling Core Texts

Core text discussed: Dante's Inferno

Date Submitted: 01-28-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
As someone who taught Inferno for years, and who has now written a novel retelling Dante's journey, I reflect on the different ways we interact with the core texts, and the different ways we invite and engage others to do so. We are often caught between our training (and interest) in talking about the text, and our longing to experience or even revel in what the text is about. And, if we do create our own work of art based on a core text, we and our audience always wonder how much should be a departure or even a reversal of the original, and how much should be "faithful" - too much of the latter and there's not much reason for the new version, too much of the former and there's no reason to connect it to the original.

Back to Top


Number: 256.

Title of Paper Proposal: Fate, Freewill, and the Great Acceptance in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway

Core text discussed: Mrs. Dalloway

Date Submitted: 01-28-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, via Clarissa Dalloway, accepts fate to manage, in the words of Joan Didion, “the phantasmagoria of waking life.” And befitting her heroine, Woolf confronts death though the construction of the narrative, while Clarissa, participant, does so only somewhat vicariously as she never meets Septimus Warren Smith, her dead doppelganger. It is enough, for the purpose of the narrative, that Clarissa stand by the open window during her party after learning of his untimely death. And she is not alone, for “…the old lady (opposite) stared straight at her!” This moment of reflection mixed with being seen, and so, exposed, allows her to re-enter the swirl and swing of dresses and ties. Her past and future by turns.

Back to Top


Number: 255.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Basil the Great and Augustine on Genesis, Humanity, and the Natural World"

Core text discussed: Genesis and Basil's and Augustine's commentaries on Genesis

Date Submitted: 01-28-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper discusses how chapers 1 and 2 of the book of Genesis serve, for Basil the Great and Augustine of Hippo, as guides to the proper relationship between humans and the natural world. Both writers explore the ways in which the content of Genesis informs their view of plants, animals, and insects and guides their aesthetic and spiritual responses to the material realm. As these fourth- and fifth-century thinkers endeavor to merge their readings of Genesis with their observations of nature, they develop accounts of how humans should understand their relationship to the rest of creation.

Back to Top


Number: 254.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Relevance of John Newman' Idea of a University to contemporary Global Environment

Core text discussed: "The Idea of a University

Date Submitted: 01-25-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
John H. Newman challenged educators to transform pedagogy from mere job find purpose. Education that navigated the three essential environments - the Social, the Natural and the Humane. This was founded on critical thinking. It provided a more meaningful foundation of existence.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Revevance of Core Texts to contemporary global education Concerns

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
The panel seeks to return students to the old scholarly habits of learnig through consultation with old core texts that are sui generis.They teach academic rigor. They emphasize consulting with primary sources. They encourage application of time honored values to changing times. The teach excellence through personal sacrifice. The goal of education is to move the individual from scientia - the itch to know, to techne - the itch to do and finally praxis the itch to transform. Education becomes an instrument for transformation

Back to Top


Number: 253.

Title of Paper Proposal: Learning by Heart: Teaching Writing with Plato's Phaedrus

Core text discussed: Phaedrus

Date Submitted: 01-22-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Plato's Phaedrus is at once an example of a core text and a commentary on what a core text is, at least insofar as a core text is something one carries in one's heart. As an exploration of the relationship between writing and ethics, it is also a meaningful text for students to write about. Ultimately, the dialogue can be taught as one specifically addressing the role writing plays in the ethical development of the self.

Back to Top


Number: 252.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Game of the Counterfeit in the early Phaedrus

Core text discussed: Phaedrus

Date Submitted: 01-22-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
While the Phaedrus is a well-appreciated core text, students most often attend to Socrates' three rebuttal speeches and separation of speech and writing from the myth of Theuth. This attention comes at the expense of the outset of the text and the Lysias/Phaedrus oration on friendship. By drawing attention to the dialogue itself as a game (following Klein), the importance of the setting and early exchange between Phaedrus and Socrates becomes integrated into the major points about sophistic rhetorical persuasion, fixed language, and the ethic of active interpretation.

Back to Top


Number: 251.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Cultural context in classical notions of moral beauty: Aristotle's kalon and Cicero's honestum"

Core text discussed: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Cicero's De Officiis

Date Submitted: 01-22-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Cicero's De Officiis, moral evaluations of actions and agents are unavoidably aesthetic evaluations of the beauty or nobility of the action or agent. But although moral beauty occupies a central place in both authors--in the notion of kalon for Aristotle, and honestum for Cicero--their respective notions of moral beauty are largely situated in the cultural context in which the authors produced their works. In my paper, I explore the similarities and differences between Aristotle and Cicero's notions of moral beauty and consider the extent to which their respective accounts transcend their Athenian and Roman cultural contexts.

Back to Top


Number: 250.

Title of Paper Proposal: Early Christian texts in the core: the case of Irenaeus and the Gospel of Philip

Core text discussed: Irenaeus’s On the Apostolic Preaching and the Gospel of Philip.

Date Submitted: 01-21-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
My argument rests on three points, all of which have to do with the importance of core texts interpreting earlier core texts. First, both Irenaeus and Philip continue the work of Biblical interpretation that was begun in the New Testament. Second, these texts interpret the Bible with the aid of Greek learning, which our students have likely encountered in our classes already. And third, both are particularly anxious about their own status as core texts. Irenaeus was famously concerned about canonicity, and a discussion of Irenaeus and Philip shows that our contemporary concern with great works is itself part of an enduring conversation.

Back to Top


Number: 249.

Title of Paper Proposal: Tocqueville's Civic Associations and the Canadian Constitutional Politics of Diversity

Core text discussed: Democracy in America

Date Submitted: 01-20-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
What does civic associationalism contribute to the development of character necessary for healthy democratic self-government? This is a Tocquevillian theme involving robust voluntary associational life as that rich setting of human interaction in which skills are acquired, human nature becomes known, and the virtues of reciprocity, independence, and fellow-feeling are fostered. But Canadians are afraid of robust associations, especially those that appear illiberal in their internal principles and functioning. Canadian Supreme Court decisions like Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36 (2002) bring this issue to the fore. We seem to prefer to remake associations in the image of the liberal polity itself.

Back to Top


Number: 248.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Gospel of the Southern Road: Examining the Blues Aesthetic in the Works of Sterling Brown and Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

Core text discussed: Sterling Brown's Southern Road

Date Submitted: 01-19-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Sterling Brown's first book and American core text, Southern Road, he examines American culture and the blues that permeates it. This text helped solidify Brown's place as the major "blues poet" of the twentieth century and served as a basis for the formation of the blues aesthetic in African-American poetry. Contemporary blues poet, Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, has adapted the blues aesthetic to address southern and feminist issues in her works The Gospel of Barbecue, Outlandish Blues and Red Clay Suite. Employing the blues forms, lyric and formal verse, Jeffers engages and interrogates the history of the American South and questions what will come of its future.

Back to Top


Number: 247.

Title of Paper Proposal: General Education Curriculum: Ideas and Status in China

Core text discussed: The structure, content, experience and problems of General Education

Date Submitted: 01-19-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Introducing the idea of Chinese General Education. Describing the overall current status of General Education in China. Analysising the problems in teaching General Education courses. Comparing between Chinese General Education with that in the US.

Back to Top


Number: 246.

Title of Paper Proposal: “Appian, Livy, and Advice Gone Awry: The Senate’s refusal to hear Allied Emissaries on the outbreak of the Bellum Sociale, 91 BCE”

Core text discussed: Appian, Livy

Date Submitted: 01-19-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In 91 BCE, Rome's Italian Allies sent an emissary to the Senate to try and negotiate their way out of what was very quickly becoming a war. The Senate curtly dismissed the ambassadors, and as the text of Appian makes clear, did not even give them a hearing. In spite of that fact, some modern historians insist that Livy knew what the ambassadors were going to say (although how he would have done so without their demands being written down - as they would not have been if the emissary was dismissed unheard - writing almost a century later is a mystery) and put those terms in his own text as the demands made by the Latins in Book 8.4. This paper will investigate why this is unlikely, and show how the episode offers a unique chance for teachers of the core texts to convey to students how things are read into texts that frankly are not there.

Back to Top


Number: 245.

Title of Paper Proposal: The tragic city

Core text discussed: Oedipus the King and the Wire

Date Submitted: 01-19-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
David Simon, the creator of The Wire, a critically acclaimed HBO tv series, aims to comment on the contemporary city in a manner modeled on Greek tragedy. Like ancient drama, the series mirrors the conflicts of our community in order to educate it. The purpose of this paper is to assess how The Wire’s debt to Greek tragedy, with Oedipus the King as the exemplar. On the one hand, ancient drama is used to present an uncharacteristically tragic insight into modern America; on the other hand, Simon’s understanding of tragedy does not fully appreciate the ancient understanding of justice in relation to the gods.

Back to Top


Number: 244.

Title of Paper Proposal: Conversations with Great Dead Writers

Core text discussed: Spinoza, Blake, Dickinson, Faulkner, Darwin

Date Submitted: 01-18-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Recently I persuaded four colleagues to write ficitonal interviews with Great Dead Writers whose texts pose challenges for their undergraduate students. In my paper I will discuss the nature of the interviews and the role they have and may play in helping students engage and understand difficult primary texts.

Back to Top


Number: 243.

Title of Paper Proposal: Reading Descartes at College: then and now

Core text discussed: Meditations on First Philosophy/Discourse on Method

Date Submitted: 01-18-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Descartes' texts caused quite a stir in 17th-century Oxbridge colleges, and at the heart of their notoriety was as much the authorial 'style' as the doctrines expounded. The method of radical doubt which promised/threatened to draw the reader into a suspension of trust in all that had hitherto been known, read and respected, was keenly felt by an academic and Collegiate polity that placed the experience of faithful reading at the heart of its mission, a mission at once intellectual, spiritual and political, in the widest sense. My paper will paint a portrait of some of these early modern English reactions, and will reflect on resonances and dissonances to teaching Cartesian texts in my own contemporary(English-speaking) core text programme. The common ground Descartes offers us for comparing the experience of undergraduate philosophy and science--then and now--is not the least of the claims for his exalted status within ‘core text’ approaches to education.

Back to Top


Number: 242.

Title of Paper Proposal: Retreating Dante in the Age of Totalitarianism

Core text discussed: Dante's Divine Comedy

Date Submitted: 01-18-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
My paper will be devoted to an examination of some key twentieth-century quarrels with Dante in the effort to think about evil in the context of totalitarianism. As has been forcefully argued by political theorist Hannah Arendt (whose argument has been subsequently taken up by Giorgio Agamben), totalitarianism necessitates a concept of ‘radical evil’ which goes beyond the Augustinian-Dantean understanding of evil as a privation of good or as the expression of a perverted will. Though this would seem to minimize Dante’s significance in the work of forging a new path for thinking about evil, the multiple references to the Divine Comedy in Agamben’s work suggest that Dante possesses greater force than is explicitly acknowledged by the author. Finally, the tension identified in Agamben’s work vis-à-vis Dante will be put in relation to 20th century Russian poet Osip Mandelstam’s essay “A Conversation with Dante,” a work that was written in Stalinist Russia and that emerges out of a life-long engagement with the Divine Comedy.

Back to Top


Number: 241.

Title of Paper Proposal: Advice-Giving in Plautus

Core text discussed: Plautus' comedies

Date Submitted: 01-18-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The Roman playwright Plautus took Greek New Comedy and transplanted the genre onto Roman soil. The hybrid that resulted can tell us quite a bit about Roman social institutions—especially about advice-giving in general and the Roman institution of the consilium, the advisory council, in particular. What is most striking about advice-giving in the plays of Plautus is how slaves are depicted as using the consilium for humorous effect. This talk looks at how requesting and giving of advice is one of the dominant means of interaction between both free and non-free characters.

Back to Top


Number: 240.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Rhetoric of Economics

Core text discussed: N/A

Date Submitted: 01-18-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The gravity of the decision of which introductory economics textbook to use in higher education is not well understood. Most such textbooks are poorly written, often in a manner that makes humanistic inquiry unnecessary or irrelevant. This paper will touch on a few of the ways in which popular contemporary textbooks belittle non-data driven disciplines.

Back to Top


Number: 239.

Title of Paper Proposal: Nestor's Advice

Core text discussed: The Iliad

Date Submitted: 01-17-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Nestor embodies an intentionally humorous advice-giver. He is not in the pivotal embassy to Achilles, and is a rambling old man both in the Iliad and the Odyssey. He is intended to be a type that anyone in any epoch could recognize, perhaps even a bit of comic relief, a la Hephaistos in Iliad I. I will show how the framing of advice through this character is especially significant to his role, as well as the context of the Homeric epics. I will also argue that H. Roisman, in “Nestor the Good Counselor,” misses an important part of the picture when she argues that “outcomes are ultimately in the hands of the ever arbitrary and fickle gods…heroes are not necessarily viewed as responsible when things go awry.” Indeed, beyond the humor in his presentation, there is tragedy imminent in advice he gives to the Greeks at Troy.

Back to Top


Number: 238.

Title of Paper Proposal: Toward the Use of Paradoxes and Virtual Teams as a Critical Thinking Pedagogy in Mathematics for Liberal Arts Majors

Core text discussed: Classic Mathematical Paradoxes (i.e., Simpson's Paradox)

Date Submitted: 01-16-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
As communication technologies advance, so do the opportunities to bring experts and skilled workers together to complete authentic tasks at low costs for businesses. However more recently, at many schools and universities internationally, this model has evolved into what is sometimes referred to as virtual learning communities or “think tanks.” Such a pedagogical infrastructure enables students with busy lives to be interdependent as well as individually accountable. Thus, in this paper begin by positing the virtual team model and conclude by discussing how it was used as a device to promote critical thinking by engaging students in a discussion of a statistical anomaly first described in 1951 by Edward Simpson. After further insight was added by Karl Pearson and Udny Yule, the phenomenon became known as the amalgamation paradox or the Yule-Simpson effect, but is commonly referred to today as Simpson’s paradox.

Back to Top


Number: 237.

Title of Paper Proposal: The World of Authenticity

Core text discussed: Heidegger's Being and Time

Date Submitted: 01-16-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Heidegger's concept of authentic Being-toward-death is often interpreted as a withdrawl from worldliness and connection with others. I challenge this interpretation and argue that authenticity is neither a kind of solipsism (or heroic voluntarism) nor is it a submersion of the individual into a collectivity. Rather, Being and Time is describing a mode of being-with others in the world that simultaneously recognizes the mortality of the singular Dasein. This is an important conversation to have at a time when Heideggers legacy is a matter of great controversy with the publication of the English translation of Emmanuel Faye's book on Heidegger.

Back to Top


Number: 236.

Title of Paper Proposal: A Prescient Core Text: Soren Kierkegaard's The Present Age

Core text discussed: The Present Age by Soren Kierkegaard

Date Submitted: 01-16-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
An indictment of the social trends of his era, Kierkegaard's The Present Age (1846) predicts trends in modern discourse that have implications not merely for current majors in mass media, but contemporary journalists and academics. Recent ideas from critics of academe such as Philip Rieff and Marc Edmundson will be examined through the lens of Kierkegaard. Expressing similar misgivings about the "leveling" effects of public discourse, some analogues from 20th-century literature will also be noted.

Back to Top


Number: 235.

Title of Paper Proposal: Lost-love Monologues: Prufrock and Crusoe in England

Core text discussed: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Crusoe in England"

Date Submitted: 01-16-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Elizabeth Bishop’s “Crusoe in England” are dramatic monologues in a tradition more Tennysonian than Browningesque in that they invite us to identify their speaking characters as masks for the poets. Just as crucially—-or more crucially if we read Bishop’s monologue as a revision of Eliot’s—-the two American poems offer ambiguous responses to Tennyson’s famous lines from _In Memoriam_, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost/ Than never to have loved at all.” “Prufrock” imagines a life lived without having felt love returned; “Crusoe” looks back on life after the loss of a once-in-a-lifetime love. Neither poem offers easy wisdom; both poems express personal feelings in impersonal ways. Age, nationality, sexuality, biography all seem displaced and yet powerful present in the monologues. Even genre is displaced: these love lyrics borrow dramatic and narrative modes but in the end don’t avoid being love lyrics. Wonderfully rich on their own, “Prufrock” and “Crusoe” form a great pair for examining everything from literary tradition and genre to eros and biography.

Back to Top


Number: 234.

Title of Paper Proposal: The 'Life-World' and the 'World of Science'

Core text discussed: Edmund Husserl: The Crisis of European Sciences

Date Submitted: 01-16-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In his writings from the 1930's, Edmund Husserl suggests that the concern with truth and objectivity characteristic of science and philosophy arises in an historical context in which the familiar "life-world" of a people is defamiliarized, a development that Husserl associates with the ancient Greeks. The "world of science" arises from the life-world by means of mathematical abstraction and written transmission, but this process tends to involve the occlusion of the dependence of the world of science on the life-world. In this paper I will argue that, for Husserl, the central task of philosophy is to recall this dependence and thus to demonstrate the irreducibility of the world of culture and ideality, or what Husserl calls "spirit," to the world as described by natural science.

Back to Top


Number: 233.

Title of Paper Proposal: Advice and Cultural Assimilation in Gregory of Tours

Core text discussed: History of the Franks

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Gregory of Tour’s History of the Franks is a microcosm of many of this conference’s sub-topics arising out of the main theme of Engaging Worlds: Core Texts and Cultural Contexts. Indeed, the world of Gregory’s History of the Franks stood at the precipice of multiple, fragmenting, and reconstituting pluralisms and syntheses: cultural, religious, political. This paper will investigate numerous instances of advice in Gregory’s work: how it worked, how it functioned, and why it was important to Gregory. This leads to a consideration of what modern students stand to gain from advice in ancient texts in general and advice from Gregory in particular.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Advice in Ancient Texts

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
This panel/session with Drs. Marshall Johnston, Pamela Johnston, Seth Kendall, and Richard Rawls will focus on “Advice in Ancient Texts.” Professor Marshall Johnston’s paper on the figure of Nestor in the Iliad and Odyssey anchors the most ancient end of the spectrum. Richard Rawls' paper on Gregory of Tours anchors the other end of the spectrum, the Late Antique period. The other papers fill in between the chronological parameters of 800 B.C.E. and 650 C.E. Of particular interest are the many instances of advisors, advisory figures, the advice they give, and the cultural, social, and even generational mediation that often occurred in the dispensing of advice. Of equal interest will be the following question: what do students stand to gain from the advice of our intellectual (to borrow a phrase from the Romans) "mos maiorum" (customs of our predecessors).

Back to Top


Number: 232.

Title of Paper Proposal: "And the eyes of them both were opened": Reading Genesis after Kant

Core text discussed: Genesis 2-3

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Kant’s seldom read “Conjectural Beginning of Human History” masterfully argues that the transgression in Genesis 3, as a turn against the implanted voice of God, represents the inauguration of self-conscious freedom and so the beginning of genuinely human history. Taking off from Kant’s central argument, the present essay re-reads Genesis 2-3 as a narrative of the emergence of self-consciousness. Kant’s account emphasizes the visual appeal of the fruit in motivating the transgression and so argues that the move to self-consciousness is something that each individual may achieve alone. In contrast, I argue that the Genesis narrative suggests that self-consciousness emerges essentially in response to another self-consciousness, and, indeed, that its origin is importantly different for the woman and for the man—the woman desiring to know what God knows, the man desiring to know what the woman knows.

Back to Top


Number: 231.

Title of Paper Proposal: Connecting Disciplines and Students Through Core-Texts: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

Core text discussed: Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper will outline Spalding University’s School of Liberal Studies’ interdisciplinary foundations course, Inquiry, Discovery, and Practice, and how the course utilizes core texts, specifically focusing on The Woman Warrior. Maxine Hong Kinston’s childhood memoir readily lends itself to an interdisciplinary approach by examining issues of gender and power, cross-cultural differences, family dynamics, and the conflict between Confucian philosophy and American individualism.

Back to Top


Number: 230.

Title of Paper Proposal: A U.S. Supreme Court Case as a Core Text Studying International Law

Core text discussed: The Paquette Habana-The Lola (1900)

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Since 9/11 the necessity for understanding foreign policy and international law has intensified.Students preparing for careers in business, law and politics must not only have a foundational understanding of the dynamics of international law, but must be prepared to supplement this understanding with an interdisciplinary analysis of the legal elements affecting problem resolution. This foundation is provided by an analysis of the United States Supreme Cour case of The Paquete Habana-The Lola, 175 US 677, 20 S.Ct.290, 44 L.Ed.320(1900). The case explains the nexus between international law and national(domestic) law. Students can study a progression of related topics including histroy, economics, politics and war/security in addition to law. Upon this basis, recent decisions on the legality of war, international crime, terrorism and human rights can be assessed.

Back to Top


Number: 229.

Title of Paper Proposal: Five Keys to Success for One Core Program

Core text discussed: Tacitus, Livy, Herodotus

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
I will elaborate on five reasons for the smooth functioning and stellar reputation of Yale's freshman core program, Directed Studies. Those reasons include its uninspired name, a physical location outside of any academic department, blurred content, crisis-ridden staffing,and finally, its competitive status. Under the category of "blurred content" I will highlight the texts of Tacitus, Livy, and Herodotus as illustrative of the hybrid "History/Politics."

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Departmental Resistance to Core Texts and Programs

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
This panel will present three different views of how established academic departments work to discourage broad humanistic practices. Two of the panelists will discuss their experiences in teaching in their core programs, and the third is a second-semester Yale College senior who will analyze how standard economic textbooks used in higher education belittle humanistic inquiry by establishing their wholly quantifiable standards of evidence.

Back to Top


Number: 228.

Title of Paper Proposal: Defending the Core: Notes from the Jailhouse

Core text discussed: Plato, Crito / Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The purpose of a liberal education is to set the educated person free. The fact that defenders of liberal education generally embrace the need for core texts and even a well-defined core curriculum often appears as a paradox to students and observers who assume that the principle of educational choice is the essential precondition of freedom. Indeed, they may even see core texts and courses as a form of intellectual bondage. The thesis of this paper is that texts, such as Plato’s Crito and Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, teach us from the depths of bondage and the extremity of human suffering the importance of valuing core texts and courses as part of a genuine liberal education. The paper contends that these insights are equally meaningful in contemporary cultural contexts, concerning which Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and The Autobiography of Malcolm X provide examples.

Back to Top


Number: 227.

Title of Paper Proposal: Virtue and the Divine in the thought of Descartes and Pascal

Core text discussed: Pascal’s Pensées and Descartes’ Passions

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
My paper centers on the radical break that both Descartes and Pascal see between the human and divine and how each thinker treats virtue in light of this fact. I plan to show that Descartes’ account of virtue is defensible and is deeply indebted to theological concepts that he never acknowledges. Pascal opposed these very concepts and as such they are at the root of the divergent positions taken by Pascal and Descartes with respect to human virtue.

Back to Top


Number: 226.

Title of Paper Proposal: Crossing Worlds in Walcott's Omeros

Core text discussed: Iliad, Odyssey, Paradise Lost, Divine Comedy

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
“Allusion” comes from the Latin, ludo, “to play,” and Derek Walcott plays brilliantly with allusion to western epic in Omeros: to Homer in the triangulated relationship of Helen, Achille(s) and Hector and the allusions to ants; to Virgil in Achille’s trip to the underworld and the allusion to shades; to Milton in the temptation plaguing Maud and Dennis and the allusion to paradise; to Dante in the poet’s vatic stance. A ludic and lucid epic, Omeros makes fisherman and housemaids heroes and heals the sins of empire. Walcott literally crosses the world and the epic tradition to sing this Antillean song of survival.

Back to Top


Number: 225.

Title of Paper Proposal: Repositioning Aristotle in the History of Economic Thought: The First Creation of an Economic Context

Core text discussed: Aristotle's Ethics, and Poetics

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper argues that Aristotle's economics is of such substance, and apropos to today's economic theory, that a reassessment of his stature in the history of social and economic thought is in need of review. Particulary, by way of his systemic treatment of political economy, Aristotle correctly creates both "worlds" and "cultural contexts" within which to blend diverse philosophical and public policy recommendations; anticipating timeless arguments for centuries to come. Ultimately, this paper will show that Aristotle is the economic discipline's first "systems thinker."

Back to Top


Number: 224.

Title of Paper Proposal: David Hume's Perspective on Cultural Relativism

Core text discussed: "A Dialogue"

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A difficulty one may encounter in discussing core texts from other cultures is students’ resistance to the values that inform the text. I had such an experience with a class of Westerners discussing the Chushingura, the puppet play by Takeda Izumo upon which subsequent versions of the Forty-Seven Ronin story have been based. It occurred to me at the time that our class discussion would have been enriched immeasurably if the students were familiar with David Hume’s “A Dialogue,” a short work on moral philosophy that attempts to mediate between cultural relativism and ethical absolutism. I will argue, first, that reading lists limited to particular cultural traditions may, paradoxically, prevent the works from being taken seriously in their own right, and, second, that Hume’s perspective on moral philosophy is particularly suited to an increasingly cosmopolitan world.

Back to Top


Number: 223.

Title of Paper Proposal: Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Cameron's "Avatar" Through the Lens of Intercultural Competence

Core text discussed: Joseph Conrad- Heart of Darkness

Date Submitted: 01-15-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper considers Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness in two contexts : 1) as an illustration of intercultural competence as described in the Developmental Model of Intercultural Competence (DMIS) (Bennett, 1986, 1993) and 2) as viewed in terms of popular culture in James Cameron's film "Avatar". The paper will compare and describe characters from Conrad's novel and "Avatar" in terms of the degree of intercultural competence they demonstrate in these respective literary and cinatic texts.

Back to Top


Number: 222.

Title of Paper Proposal: Season of Migration to the North as a Core Text

Core text discussed: Season of Migration to the North

Date Submitted: 01-14-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Tayeb Salih's Sudanese novel engages deeply with two giant English texts: Othello and Heart of Darkness. This intertextual relationship among the three works allows for a wonderful and deeply satisfying dialogue regarding cultural relationships, tolerance, friendship, love, and other virtues. The novel also teaches us about the importance of reading deeply.

Back to Top


Number: 221.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Pantheon in Rome : Approaches to Architecture as Text

Core text discussed: Pantheon

Date Submitted: 01-14-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Embodying volume, space, light, and the proportions of a perfect sphere, the Pantheon is widely recognised as the culmination of centuries of Roman practice in concrete vaulted architecture. But it also embodies key and varied aspects of Roman culture of the early 2nd century. CE, and the possibly, something of the philosophical beliefs of its commissioner Hadrian, emperor from 117-138 CE. In this paper I would like to approach the Pantheon as a ‘core text’, first by providing a toolkit of approaches and questions that instructors and students can use to interrogate buildings and built environments in their quest for understanding particular cultures; and second to apply that toolkit by providing an analysis of the Pantheon . Underlying this paper is the conviction that the material world, art and architecture, are not just the window dressing of culture, but reflect, construct, but also in some cases critique and deconstruct- its core values, or at least the values of particular historical periods or persons.

Back to Top


Number: 220.

Title of Paper Proposal: Joyce's "Ulysses" and the science of reading

Core text discussed: Joyce's "Ulysses"

Date Submitted: 01-14-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A considerations of how the challenges of reading "Ulysses" represent Joyce's exploration of the underlying processes of reading acquisition. Examples of the puzzles and deformations of language in "Ulysses" as a recovery of the conceptual and neurological complexities of reading as central aspects of personal and social functioning.

Back to Top


Number: 219.

Title of Paper Proposal: From Tralfamadore to Athens (and back)

Core text discussed: Plato's "Meno" and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

Date Submitted: 01-14-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Plato, Vonnegut and eventually Meno are all trying to answer a question. Plato and Meno try to define virtue then determine whether it can be taught. Vonnegut wants to know if there is anything profound or anything at all that can be said about the bombing of Dresden at the end of WWII. A comparison of these two very differnet texts shows a surprising similarity in their approach to their questions. This essay will provide close readings of carefully selected passages and argue the similarities.

Back to Top


Number: 218.

Title of Paper Proposal: Aristotle on the Self

Core text discussed: Nicomachean Ethics

Date Submitted: 01-14-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Aristotle ordinarily refers to the human being by reference to the soul or perhaps to the mind, but in the discussion of friendship he refers to the friend as another self (allos autos). This use of "autos" as a substantive noun seems to originate with Aristotle. What does Aristotle mean by the "self"?

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: What is the Self?

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
We will explore the question, what is a person, from the perspective of Aristotle, Christ, Desacrtes and Rousseau

Back to Top


Number: 217.

Title of Paper Proposal: Saints in Dante's Paradise

Core text discussed: The Divine Comedy

Date Submitted: 01-14-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Dante's Saints, each chosen to represent an idiom of human language in consummate expression, had each to contribute speech and gestures quite unique to complete the harmonies of cosmic poetry. In a discussion of commonalities and differences among a selection from the dramatis personae Dante gathered for his comic epic’s “song and dance,” this paper will reach for some conclusions about the poet’s eschatology.

Back to Top


Number: 216.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Griffin Reflected

Core text discussed: Dante's Comedy

Date Submitted: 01-13-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The hybrid figure of the griffin that first appears pulling the chariot bearing Beatrice has been commonly taken to be an allegory of Christ, “one person only in two natures.” Later, when Dante sees the griffin reflected in the eyes of Beatrice’s fixed gaze, he sees it gleaming “with now one, and now the other reggimenti,” the word Dante also uses in his Convivio to speak of the “universal sway” of Aristotle’s moral philosophy and of imperial authority. Dante may see reflected in Beatrice’s eyes two different reggimenti: one of the union of Christ’s human and divine natures, the other of the union of philosophical and political authorities. The first is consonant with orthodox Christian teaching about human regeneration by divine grace, the second a heterodox understanding of human integrity attainable by nature alone.

Back to Top


Number: 215.

Title of Paper Proposal: Friendship Conversion(s): Augustine’s Confessions as Formation of the Common Good

Core text discussed: Augustine's Confessions

Date Submitted: 01-13-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In his Confessions, Augustine proposes a new meaning for friendship, one that shifts the source of friendship’s bond from human sympathy to God’s grace. Throughout the text, Augustine reflects upon his own friendships and analyzes their impact on his spiritual conversion. These reflections signify his broader theological epiphany that, in turn, reconceptualizes the relationship between self and other in light of a common good.

Back to Top


Number: 214.

Title of Paper Proposal: Rousseau: What is a Person?

Core text discussed: Preface to Narcissus

Date Submitted: 01-13-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The Preface to Narcissus is Rousseau's first extended autbiography. It constitues a defense of himself,self or person. In the course of his self-defence he shes light on the question: What is a self?

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: What is the Self?

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
We will explore the question, what is a person, from the perspective of Aristotle, Christ, Desacrtes and Rousseau

Back to Top


Number: 213.

Title of Paper Proposal: Reducining Biology to Physics: Rethinking Life

Core text discussed: Niels Bohr's essay "Light and Life" (1933)

Date Submitted: 01-12-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper will discuss a text that is a feasible text to use in a core program without extensive preparation. It is a talk given by Niels Bohr in 1932 in which he attempted to define the relations of the biological and physical domains. This talk was interpreted in different ways by his contemporaries, and one of these indirectly led to Erwin Schrödinger's lectures of 1943 WHAT IS LIFE. The paper will describe the primary background and content of the Bohr lecture with remarks on how this would be relevant to a humanities core course interested in exploring the relations of the sciences and humanities.

Back to Top


Number: 212.

Title of Paper Proposal: She-lunking Plato's Cave

Core text discussed: Plato's Republic & Adrienne Rich's Living in the Cave

Date Submitted: 01-12-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Plato's Parable of the Cave is illustrative of key issues in both his philosophy and the Western philosophical tradition in general. Adrienne Rich's "Living in the Cave", is a brief and accessible to students contemporary poem that provides a succinct and targeted critique of many of these. Exploring this poem in class after studying Plato's work serves well to connect students to the range and the limits of Plato's project, while reinforcing the presence and relevance of considering perennial questions in the world of our students today. The lines of this living poet's poem invite students to bring their own critical thinking to the lines of Plato's classic work by modeling how to artfully and fruitfully relate the worlds of this ancient Greek philosopher and of this feminist poet.

Back to Top


Number: 211.

Title of Paper Proposal: Unamuno- A Philosopher for Today's Youth

Core text discussed: A Tragic Life

Date Submitted: 01-11-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Unamuno's influence and importance continues to grow and I find his approach particularly relevant to today's students especially in Unamuno's stated purpose: "My religion is to seek for truth in life and for life in truth, even knowing that I shall not find them while I live." Unamuno's unique look at his own troubled Spain serves as a backdrop to his philosophy and I believe is what drives his challenges to traditional philosophy.

Back to Top


Number: 210.

Title of Paper Proposal: "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: How Deep the Subversion?"

Core text discussed: Film: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Date Submitted: 01-09-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Since 1965 I have viewed The Umbrellas of Cherbourg many times. The circumstances of each have forced upon me a re-evaluation of my previous view concerning this film. For example, in my 1979 viewing I recall my horror while sitting in a cinema in Montreal and listening to the largely French-speaking audience laugh at the film. I had before this heard whispers of subversion on the part of the director, but I was not prepared for such blatant ridicule. Consequently, this paper is meant to explore the problematic nature of reading/viewing this text as subversive/satirical literature, and some of the ramifications of doing so for film literacy, love and marriage.

Back to Top


Number: 209.

Title of Paper Proposal: Zosima at the Piraeus--Socratic Investigations in Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov

Core text discussed: Brothers Karamazov

Date Submitted: 01-09-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper is an attempt to understand the famous "inappropriate gathering" in Elder Zosima's cell near the beginning of the Brothers Karamazov. I intend to show how this gathering is best understood as a Socratic inquiry into the most important political and philosophic problems. I attempt to show that each participant in the dialogue points to various human types and a variety of philosophic problems raised by the novel as whole. The problems by Dostoyevsky are permanent features of the Western Intellectual tradition.

Back to Top


Number: 208.

Title of Paper Proposal: Aristotle's Great Virtues

Core text discussed: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Date Submitted: 01-09-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Why does Aristotle discuss two virtues that are not attainable by all human beings? Magnificence (megaloprepeia) and magnanimity (megalophia)transcend and transform the city. But they do not bring good man and good citizen together.

Back to Top


Number: 207.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Hymn of the Robe of Glory: Allegory and Alethea

Core text discussed: The Hymn of the Robe of Glory/Hymn of the Pearl

Date Submitted: 01-08-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the allegorical text of The Hymn of the Robe of Glory, when one deciphers the images of the allegory one recognizes many Platonic and Neoplatonic elements which are woven together into a tale which imparts the essence of Gnosticism. Through a comparative analysis utilizing Hindu, Platonic, Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic mythic paradigms, and applying Joseph Campbell’s interpretive approaches as discussed in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, I shall attempt to show how this deceptively simply tale is actually the “archetype” of every heroic/epic myth as well as an answer to a question which Plato never asked but which many of his dialogues beg to be asked and answered.

Back to Top


Number: 206.

Title of Paper Proposal: Texts and contexts: What Athens teaches us about Plato’s Apology

Core text discussed: Apology

Date Submitted: 01-08-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
When we read core texts with our students, we hope that they will gain insight into themselves and the human condition from this experience, and we want them to wrestle with these texts and come to understand them on their own terms. But if we focus on the texts alone in this way, without learning about the context and culture in which they were produced, we are bound to misunderstand the views and people of our core texts, turning them into something that they could not possibly have been. In this paper, I will show how such misunderstandings occur in our readings of the Apology, for instance, when we turn Socrates into an enlightenment figure arguing for free speech. Paradoxically, our sharp focus on the core texts prevents us from understanding these very texts.

Back to Top


Number: 205.

Title of Paper Proposal: “Who Am I? Exploring Individual and Communal Identity through Core Text Courses”

Core text discussed: Several, including Plato, Bacon, Aristotle, Freud, Darwin, Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others

Date Submitted: 01-08-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In this paper, I will share the pedagogical practices that I utilize in constructing a core text course centered on a central theme. Specifically, the course focuses on the theme, “Ways of Knowing: Truth, Identity, and Human Understanding.” The course uses core texts from various disciplines to engage students in critical inquiry that both challenges and validates notions of individual and cultural constructions that shape the formation of perceptions, truth, and identity. Included in the presentation is an explanation of the course structure and a sample interactive exercise used to engage students in considering self identity.

Back to Top


Number: 204.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Immortality in Culture": Donne's Holy Sonnets in Margaret Edson's WIT

Core text discussed: John Donne's Holy Sonnets

Date Submitted: 01-08-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin argues that the “history of every art form shows critical epochs in which a certain art form aspires to effects which could be fully obtained only with a changed standard, that is to say, in a new art form” (1245-6). Certainly some of the effects to which John Donne’s Holy Sonnets can be said to have aspired, as well as many to which they may not even have dreamed of aspiring, manifest themselves in Margaret Edson’s 1999 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Wit. A close exploration of the play and sonnets at the level of textual analysis clearly reveals how Donne’s sonnets have achieved their foremost task, that is, in Benjamin’s words, “the creation of a demand which could be fully satisfied only later” (1245).

Back to Top


Number: 203.

Title of Paper Proposal: Irony, ideas and the development of identity

Core text discussed: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Date Submitted: 01-07-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In his first autobiography, Frederick Douglass explores the creation of identity in the face of oppression, his courage growing with his ability to stand outside events and judge. Literacy (both in learning to read and interacting with formative texts) is a major factor in achieving this outsider’s perspective, which finds its highest expression in the irony with which Douglass describes his youthful experience. After a brief review of these themes in the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” and in Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” I’ll reflect on working with these texts in a modern high school focused on the exploration of core ideas. The social context of our students (relatively affluent and racially homogenous) is as different from the world of Douglass and the world of Angelou as their worlds were from those of their inspirations. Engagement with universal themes helps students develop perspective on their own experiences and find the core of their own identities. To students steeped in facile, dismissive irony, these works also demonstrate irony’s use as a means of understanding the world and as a source of strength.

Back to Top


Number: 202.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Myth of Protagoras and Modern Political Thought

Core text discussed: Plato's Protagoras and Ion

Date Submitted: 01-06-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The “Myth of Protagoras” found in the Plato’s dialogue, Protagoras, is a prescient account of the political, an account that is later elaborated in Machiavelli, Hobbes, and especially Rousseau. Implicitly arguing that we are not political by nature but rather solitary and at war, it also deliniates the artificiality and yet neccesity of politics that must make use of the divine to be effective. With that forward trajectory in mind, it also sets the stage for Plato’s proleptic counter-argument to modern political thought that pits the need for an architectonic whole with its specious satisfaction in the tragic religious violence of the poets. Plato’s Ion proves especially efficacious in making this point, while Alcibades the character and dialogue proves a comic embodiment of the same issue. Poetry, violence, and politics all converge here: but the overriding question remains whether the philosophical eros that spontaneouly moves towards an architectonic whole can truly avoid a violent satisfaction.

Back to Top


Number: 201.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Male Gaze or Spiritual Regard?

Core text discussed: Saint Teresa of Avila, <<The Book of Her Life>>

Date Submitted: 01-06-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A common classroom interpretation of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture group, Saint Teresa in Ecstasy, is to show the similarities between the spiritual ecstasy of the artwork and carnal ecstasy. My presentation, while leaving the question open, will offer some historical and cultural considerations. It will ask how Teresa was known to the patrons and artist and how that might help further our understanding of a possible and legitimate interpretation. The talk will also consider Peter Paul Reubens' portrait of the saint.

Back to Top


Number: 200.

Title of Paper Proposal: Psyche, Soma, Polis: Sickness and Selfhood in Victorian Europe and Contemporary India

Core text discussed: Freud and Brauer’s Studies on Hysteria (1895) and Sudhir Kakar’s Shamans, Mystics and Doctors (1991)

Date Submitted: 01-05-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Though written in and about vastly different social worlds, these two texts raise strikingly similar questions about our nature as embodied, social beings. Both investigate the relationship of mind and body, and consider the effects of our embeddedness within families and communities. For students reading these texts, the encounter with very different but minutely detailed analyses of the mind (psyche) and its relationship to the body (soma) and society (polis) leads to fresh assessment of taken-for-granted aspects of their own lives. Reading them together prompts students to look deeply into aspects of our shared human condition in ways that allow them both to recognize the profound commonalities between themselves and those distant from them temporally and culturally and to discern areas of significant difference.

Back to Top


Number: 199.

Title of Paper Proposal: Reading Pericles’ Funeral Oration in the Caribbean: the challenge of integrating a core text curriculum into the Humanities program at Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar

Core text discussed: Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Date Submitted: 01-05-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Through a short description of the typical classroom exercise created by the “Reading…” Core Text Program—using the Pericles’ Funeral Oration—, this paper enunciates the beauties and difficulties of inserting core texts into the curriculum of Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar in Cartagena, Colombia. Based on information recorded through a baseline test designed by Dr. Christian Schumacher, former Humanities Director, the paper describes how the “Reading…” Program has developed a methodology, trained its teachers, and, best of all, involved its students in improving literacy and general culture. With seven ongoing subjects and bibliographies that include cinema classics, the “Reading…” program is sure to create longlasting results that should be monitored in collaboration with the liberal arts community.

Back to Top


Number: 198.

Title of Paper Proposal: “fine things to take as models, base things … to avoid”: Core Texts and Community Building in Livy’s History of Rome, Book I

Core text discussed: Livy's History of Rome, Book I

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the opening pages of his History of Rome, Livy praises the historian’s craft as “the best medicine for a sick mind.” This is because, “in history, you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see.” This variety of experience provides Livy’s reader with “examples and warnings: fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.” Although Livy is clearly choosing his examples and warnings in order to strengthen the moral fiber of his own city, Book I may also be read fruitfully as a meditation on core text courses and programs. Like Livy, designers of these courses and programs are community builders who create opportunities for students to survey a small part of the infinite variety of human experience, and may even do so with examples and warnings in mind. Reading Livy’s History for its lessons on core texts and community, however, can both affirm and problematize the core text project, as I hope to show in my paper.

Back to Top


Number: 197.

Title of Paper Proposal: Montesquieu's PERSIAN LETTERS and the uses of comparativism

Core text discussed: Montesquieu, PERSIAN LETTERS

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Montesquieu's Persian Letters was one of the founding documents of the French Enlightenment. Through the curious eyes of Persian characters Rica and Usbek, the author is able to depict European and French culture of the early eighteenth century. The forceful and communicative women left behind in the seraglio, and the complex relationships they have with their travelling masters, focus attention on a number of important questions: What is the boundary between nature and culture in human affairs? What exactly are the claims of natural liberty that seem to be raised in the work? And above all, in an American undergraduate classroom, how if at all is our own approach to understanding The Other different from that deployed by Montesquieu?

Back to Top


Number: 196.

Title of Paper Proposal: Montesquieu's Niche in Western Political Philosophy

Core text discussed: Spirit of the Laws

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
While recognized as a major thinker of his time, Montesquieu is rarely read in contemporary courses in political philosophy and political science. However, his role in the developing the liberal ideology that led to the American and French Revolutions is vital and undeniable. My paper will briefly explore the advance he made on previous thinkers with respect to both content and method.

Back to Top


Number: 195.

Title of Paper Proposal: apestry: Christian and Classical Mélange in C. S. Lewis’ _Perelandra_ and _Till We Have Faces_

Core text discussed: _Perelandra_ and _Till We Have Faces_

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
C. S. Lewis, Oxford Professor of Medieval Literature and atheist-turned-Christian, is perhaps known best for his children's literature (_The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe_ series) and apologetic words such as _Mere Christianity_ and _The Screwtape Letters_. When he died in 1963, he left behind a rich legacy in literary scholarship as well as lesser known works of adult fiction, such as the _Perelandra_ trilogy and the masterful mythical allegory _Till We Have Faces_. This paper examines how Lewis knits Christian and Classical tropes in rich, robust, and compelling language to engage readers in the junction of these two worlds. As one of the last Christian Humanists of the twentieth century, Lewis, in these two works, invites readers of any religious persuasion and cultural heritage to consider the enduring Great Ideas of good and evil, absolutism and relativism, the power of language to influence action, the consequence of ideas—and, curiously prescient, Lewis casts higher education as the lead through which these ideas do battle.

Back to Top


Number: 194.

Title of Paper Proposal: Thomas Aquinas on War and Charity

Core text discussed: Summa Theologica

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper addresses St. Thomas Aquinas’s question “On War” in the Summa Theologica and the apparently paradoxical relationship between war and charity. To the surprise of many readers, the Angelic Doctor locates his discussion of war in his treatise on the virtue of charity – that is, the virtue which completes and perfects all of the other virtues. In order to understand why this may be the case, it is helpful to explore the structure of Aquinas’s argument regarding a “just war.” Indeed, the Thomistic account of just war theory is rooted in a profound understanding of the virtues that contribute to human flourishing and happiness, most notably charity. So, in Aquinas’s account, war and charity are not necessarily at odds; in fact, a just war should be motivated by, and conducted in, a spirit of charity.

Back to Top


Number: 193.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Right of Revolution in Locke's *Second Treatise of Government*

Core text discussed: Locke's *Second Treatise of Government*

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Famously, Locke defends the right of a people to revolt against a usurping government. But this right is not unlimited, and Locke specifies cases where it is legitimate or not to rebel. More important, when a government is removed, the power to reform a new government reverts not to individual members but only to society as a whole. Why this limitation?

Back to Top


Number: 192.

Title of Paper Proposal: Montaigne and Robert Frost, or the geography of literacy

Core text discussed: Montaigne's Essays (On Cannibals) and Robert Frost's lectures to campus audiences

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
It is traditional and even something of a cultural constant to use geography to define culture. Bishop George Berkeley wrote the famous line: “Westward the course of empire takes its way” in his 1726 “Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America”; quite recently, Tony Blair in his 2008 Commencement Address for Yale University, stated the opposite: “For the first time in many centuries, power is moving east.” What do these geographical terms mean for us today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, in what is called a global world? My paper proposes to examine these questions by a close study of two writers, Michel de Montaigne and Robert Frost. Specifically, I propose to show how the definition of “east” and “west” became fundamental questions for each writer, and that how these writers engaged with what I call the “geography of literacy” can contribute to understanding the value of the liberal arts in today’s “global” world. The specific texts to be studied are Montaigne’s essay On Cannibals and the recently published collection of Robert Frost’s campus talks (Robert Frost Speaking on Campus. Excerpts from His Talks 1949-1962, ed. Edward Connery Lathem, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2009). Following the conference theme, I will examine how these core texts are related to their cultural contexts and engage with the larger world around them. In terms of method, I will provide a close reading of those passages in which geography and culture are related in what appear to be traditional ways. I will then contend that each writer provides definitions of “east” and “west” that go beyond a literal notion of geography to involve a more complex understanding of literacy that involves the relation between self and knowledge. Frost, for example, defines writing as moving from the spiritual (mind) to the material (writing). I will argue that a similar direction can be found in Montaigne’s essay On Cannibals, where the notion of writing is defined, implicitly, as Socratic. These preliminary definitions suggest parallel tasks: reading and teaching as moving from the material (the text) to the spiritual. In conclusion, I argue that the education provided by the liberal arts allows for the performance of such tasks and in the acquisition of such literacy, and that in today’s global and computerized world, “east” and “west” may be defined less by geography in the literal sense, and more by the types of literacy that define the world’s cultural geography.

Back to Top


Number: 191.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Spell of Lyric Poetry

Core text discussed: Frost, "The Silken Tent"

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
“Poetry,” writes Octavio Paz in _The Double Flame_, “eroticizes language,” meaning that in poems ordinary words become charged with desire for an other who is simultaneously present (conjured by the poet/reader’s imagination) and absent. But how is this magical effect achieved? What properties of language make it expressive of erotic emotion, and how might they be explored in classroom study of the love lyric? To answer these questions, I will examine three short poems—-Langston Hughes’s “Desire,” Robert Frost’s “The Silken Tent,” and Kate Clanchy’s “Spell”—-each of which consists of a single sentence. Their compression makes these poems ideal for highlighting certain features of syntax, rhythm, and metaphor that elicit erotic feeling in readers subconsciously, often without detection. Heightening students’ awareness of language’s erotic potential not only makes them keener readers of poetry, it invites them to reflect on the mysteries of love and longing that resound throughout core texts.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Lyric Poetry: Inviting Eros into the Core

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
See Seemee Ali's proposal

Back to Top


Number: 190.

Title of Paper Proposal: Works of Art as Interdisciplinary Core Texts for the Liberal Arts

Core text discussed: A selection of works of art in the Augustana

Date Submitted: 01-04-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Along with my colleague Catherine Goebel, I have been a founding member of our interdisciplinary first-year liberal studies program. I have worked as a contributor to Catherine's fine volume, a member of the faculty committee discussing its use and distribution, and an extremely enthusiastic user of the volume (not only in our Liberal Studies classes, but in advanced French Literature courses in my own department). I have experimented extensively with juxtaposing core artistic and literary texts using this volume. I would add to Catherine Goebel's presentation the perspective of an interdisciplinary endeavor whose starting point is outside the fine arts.

Back to Top


Number: 189.

Title of Paper Proposal: Morality and Advantage in Cicero's *On Duties*

Core text discussed: Cicero's *On Duties* (*De officiis*)

Date Submitted: 01-03-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In *De officiis*, Cicero attacks the popular belief that something can be honorable (honestus) which is not beneficial (utilis), and beneficial which is not honorable. "Nothing more destructive that this belief," he says, "could have been introduced into human life". My paper will trace the argument that Cicero makes against this belief as well as the general account he offers of "honorableness" (honestas). It will also reflect on what this text offers to undergraduate courses surveying ancient Greek and Roman cultures.

Back to Top


Number: 188.

Title of Paper Proposal: John Locke as a Core Text for Liberal Education

Core text discussed: John Locke's Second Treatise on Government

Date Submitted: 01-03-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
John Locke might be approached in several ways, but a significant use of the Second Treatise on Civil Government (1689) as a core text in liberal education would be to emphasize three important ideas which both responded to the challenges of 17th century Europe, and shaped the evolution of social and political thought and institutions in the West for many years. These ideas were the identification of natural rights of individuals as the basis for limiting a sovereign’s authority, the identification of a representative legislature as the institutional form of popular sovereignty, and the raising of the right to preserve and enhance private property as a fundamental goal of government. Students are challenged to understand, and critically evaluate, the distinctive Western tradition through a discussion of the Second Treatise, an accessible and stimulating core text.

Back to Top


Number: 187.

Title of Paper Proposal: Camus' Guests

Core text discussed: "The Guest" by Albert Camus

Date Submitted: 01-03-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The proposed paper will discuss Albert Camus’ short story “The Guest” and its use within two components of Mount St. Mary’s Core Curriculum: 1) the West in the Modern World course, which culminates our lower-division core Western Civilization sequence, and 2) the Age of Decolonization, which fulfills the Non-West upper division core requirement. The Algerian-born Camus figures prominently in the West in the Modern World course as a French Resistance leader during World War II and as a leading existentialist: in this course, student readers of “The Guest” respond especially to the humanist idealism of the story’s protagonist, the schoolteacher Daru. Approaching the story through the lens of French colonialism and decolonization, my Non-West students respond more strongly to the story’s ambivalence about the possibilities of interpersonal compassion or justice during the twilight of French colonial dominion. As readers, all of us may be considered Camus’ “guests,” invited into the schoolteacher’s austere but strangely inviting one-room schoolhouse but also asked to choose for ourselves how to regard the colonial schoolteacher Daru and how to respond to the vulnerable yet disconcerting, unnamed Arab “other” in Daru’s care.

Back to Top


Number: 186.

Title of Paper Proposal: Better to Have Daughters: War Through the Lens of T’ang dynasty poetry.

Core text discussed: Poetry by Du Fu and Xue Tao

Date Submitted: 01-01-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In a time of war, it is difficult for our freshmen students to separate themselves from the prevailing voices on Fox or CNN or MSNBC. In order to facilitate a means of looking at war from a different perspective, we could do worse than travel to a culture that is hundreds of years and thousands of miles from our own: the T’ang dynasty. When reading the war poetry of Du Fu and Xue Tao, we are forced to look differently at our own prejudices to see war as both a cross-cultural given as well as a construct specific to a time and culture.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Classical Texts and the Ideology of the Warrior

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
This is just a suggestion for a title for a panel that would include both our papers: see below.

Back to Top


Number: 185.

Title of Paper Proposal: Shakespeare's Hamlet, Victorian Ophelias and Popular Culture

Core text discussed: Hamlet

Date Submitted: 01-01-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The British Victorian's passion for Shakespeare was reflected in their equal enthusiasm for the visual arts. But visual culture is not simply an illustration of historical or cultural context. A close examination of the relationship between Shakespeare's Hamlet and visual images drawn from this core text shows how visual sources also produce meaning and context. These new cultural contexts can, in fact, take on a life of their own, far outreaching the original core text that inspired them.

Back to Top


Number: 184.

Title of Paper Proposal: Encountering Empire in Aeneid 6

Core text discussed: Aeneid

Date Submitted: 01-01-2010

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the sixth book of the Aeneid Vergil constructs an extraordinary synthesis of myth and history, the personal and the political, time and eternity. In my paper I examine Vergil’s Underworld as the expression of a specifically imperial worldview--expansive and all-encompassing. I focus, in particular, on the ways in which the narrative implicates the reader in its design. In so doing I emphasize the innovative character of Vergil’s achievement, and the extent of its influence.

Back to Top


Number: 183.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Demands of Love: Awareness of Worlds in Reading St. Augustine's Confessions

Core text discussed: Augustine's Confessions

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Augustine’s Confessions, the love between the subject and that which he loves determines the subject’s world. Augustine’s loves, and therefore his world, undergo several transformations throughout the Confessions, either motivated or demonstrated by certain central texts which he encounters. Augustine’s analysis of these texts, however, is mediated by his love, and hence his world, at the time that he wrote the Confessions. In reading Augustine’s interpretations of the worlds which these central texts signified for him, the Confessions demands that the reader remain cognizant of the influence that Augustine’s final world has on his interpretations of his previous worlds, spurring the reader to become aware both of his own world and the influence that his world has on his interpretation of Augustine’s world.

Back to Top


Number: 182.

Title of Paper Proposal: Education Around Fireplace: Parental Role in Instilling Cultural Values and The Value of Modern Education in the Minds of Oromo Children in Western Ethiopia

Core text discussed: Instilling cultual values to help the child delop personal and social identities that lead to become a productive member of the community.

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper examined the significance of oral but formal education in passing on the cultural heritages and values by the Oromo parents and the elders to the young children as practiced among the Oromo people of western Ethiopia. After long work day out in the field as farmers and shepherds or as students in the school, it is the Oromo tradition that all get together around a fire place each night before dinner to chat about their experiences during the day time and also plan for the next day duties. Usually, the father or the older person in the house took charge of such formal discussion. The focus of this paper is about the routine practices that took place following dinnertime where young children as young as 7 years old learned how to sing, dance, and memorize or trace paternal and maternal family roots starting with self and continue counting sometimes up to eight or more generations.

Back to Top


Number: 181.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Un-Aristotelianism of Heidegger's Aristotle on Nature

Core text discussed: Aristotle's Physics, Metaphysics

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Martin Heidegger describes Aristotle’s Physics, specifically Physics II.1, as a kind of epicenter from which radiates, and by which is determined, the whole of Aristotelian thought. Western philosophy, Heidegger contends, has neglected this purported centrality and so has forgotten, he says, the original source of its tradition. As Heidegger emphasizes, “Aristotle’s Physics is the hidden, and therefore never adequately studied, foundational book of Western philosophy.” The source of this thesis is Heidegger detailed commentary of Physics II.1, “On the Essence and Concept of Phusis in Aristotle’s Physics II.1.” While nearly every line, sentence, clause and word of II.1 are translated and discussed in great detail, Heidegger neither comments on, nor includes in his translation, two not unimportant passages from this chapter—namely, 193b9-12: “That is why people say that the shape is not the nature of a bed, but the wood is. . . . For man is born from man;” and 193b20-21: “But whether in unqualified coming to be there is privation, i.e., a contrary, we must consider later.” This paper will explore the first of these omissions. For in neither of these passages does Aristotle present mere incidental statements the omissions of which result in little consequence, but rather distinctions and special cases that are necessary for a complete presentation of Aristotle’s understanding of nature. For, contra Aristotle, Heidegger removes immanent form from natural entities, inverts the priority of actuality over potency, and subsumes motion and change under genesis.

Back to Top


Number: 180.

Title of Paper Proposal: Dreaming the Garden; the Roman de la Rose, Pearl and the History of Landscape Design

Core text discussed: Le Roman de la Rose; Pearl

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
"Alternate Edens" is an interdisciplinary class that uses the history of garden design as a jumping off point for exploring attitudes to nature, both cultivated and wild, across time and cultures. The undergraduate imagination, whose experience of gardens is frequently bounded by suburban front yards and overproductive patches of zucchini, can find it challenging to leap the fence and see the full cultural and archetypal significance of cultivated landscapes. As we explore the new worlds created by garden designers of the past, core literary texts can contextualize ways of seeing that students initially find quixotic; the poems sharpen our powers of perception as readers of design and of nature. As we discuss allegorical presentations of romantic love, mutability and spiritual consolation we understand the symbolic richness of Medieval and Renaissance garden design and we see first hand the inscription of cultural values on cultivated spaces, making it easier to identify subsequent palimpsests as we read more gardens and debate Gertrude Stein's claim that "...a rose is a rose is a rose".

Back to Top


Number: 179.

Title of Paper Proposal: World-Weariness: Escape and Critique in Baudelaire and Camus

Core text discussed: Baudelaire, "Anywhere Out of This World"; Camus, "The Rebel"

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper presents a comparative discussion of Charles Baudelaire's 19th century poem, "Anywhere Out Of This World," and Albert Camus' 20th century essay, "The Rebel" (esp. the chapter on Art and the Novel) as forms of world-weariness. It takes an interest in the sense of dissatisfaction with the world that is behind both of these pieces. Baudelaire, feeling that the world has nothing adequate to offer his too exquisite soul, seeks an impossible escape from boredom and exhaustion, in bitter and splenetic fashion; Camus more coolly analyses the ways in which artists and novelists are rebels extraordinaire, in that they more or less defiantly and persistently create alternative worlds as part of their rejection of this (in varying ways) degraded and disappointing one. For the decadent Baudelaire, the problem seems to be an insatiable aestheticism; for Camus the existentialist, the problem is also moral and intellectual, rooted in the fundamental discrepancy between the ideal and the real. My paper explores these attitudes and wonders where we stand at the present time: what worlds, if any, could satisfy our desires, our need for justice, our search for fulfillment?

Back to Top


Number: 178.

Title of Paper Proposal: Re-thinking Scriptural Epistemology

Core text discussed: Hebrew and Christian Bibles, Qur'an, Plato's Republic, Descartes' Meditations

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
When scriptural texts are included in a core curriculum, how does one or should one attempt to integrate them into a series of epistemological inquiries that seems to a largely secular student body– or at least secular in mindset while in the classroom – to be of a qualitatively different order than whatever questions about the possibility or worth of knowledge are saliently at stake in primary religious texts of a Western monotheistic tradition? While one tendency in teaching the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and the Qur’an is to treat them primarily as historical artifacts, contextualizing them with theories of their literary production or socio-political consolidation as scripture, perhaps there is a way of thinking about them that takes the question of what it means to “know” in these texts more critically and in a way that might fruitfully compare or contrast with the theoretical realm in which questions of knowledge and its possibility are often discussed with philosophy or socio-political theory more traditionally understood, namely that domain of the possessive and self-possessed entity perhaps most explicitly incarnated in the mind/body dualism of thinkers from Plato to Descartes and beyond. What I have in mind is something like C.S. Peirce’s suggestion that rather than thought being in us, we are in thought. In other words, knowledge, lack thereof, or limited in form, may be foremost important for its potential consequences for the individual or community or for how the individual or community is acted upon and has to respond to circumstance rather than for how an individual can act appropriately on “reality” once in possession of right-thinking about that reality – as with Plato’s Philosopher Kings politically-determinative knowledge of the Form of the Good or Descartes’ first principles establishing the ground for scientific understanding with physically practical implications, like optics and meteorology. Seen in this light, if we have knowledge, it is a function of us always already being acted upon – like Pharaoh’s heart being perplexingly God-hardened – and perhaps even seems more relatable to the way pragmatically-minded college students strategize in their academic lives and to their own estimations of the value of knowledge than would a text treated like an artifactual case study or object of primarily historical inquiry.

Back to Top


Number: 177.

Title of Paper Proposal: Beyond the Watchmaker: Investigating Subtleties of Design in Paley's Natural Theology

Core text discussed: Paley, Natural Theology: Darwin, Origin of Species

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Paley's Natural Theology is sometimes read as a speed bump on the road between Hume's Dialogues on Natural Religion and Darwin's Origin of Species. However, excerpts from the whole work offer students a world of rich reflection about the relationship between God and Nature. Exploring some of the questions Paley raises and assessing his answers allows students to appreciate the subtleties of his philosophical theology, and also gives them new perspectives on current debates over evolution and design. While Paley was certainly eclipsed by Darwin, reading his work can help students sound the depths of questions that still stir controversy.

Back to Top


Number: 176.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Importance of Subjectivity in Understanding Religious Experience

Core text discussed: The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper examines James’ appreciation of the validity of subjective experience in the cultural context of the early 1900s as well as the current time period. Although his own cultural background influences his perspective, James’ phenomenological approach facilitates a sophisticated conceptualization of a vast array of spiritual experiences. The Varieties of Religious Experience became a classic because of James’ insightful treatment of the subject, but it remains important 100 years later, as people continue to have difficulty appreciating the commonalities underlying the myriad of religious beliefs and practices that exist worldwide.

Back to Top


Number: 175.

Title of Paper Proposal: Human Nature and Republican Constitutionalism in The Federalist Papers

Core text discussed: The Federalist Papers Numbers 10 and 51

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Key points about the limits of political institutions made by the authors of The Federalist Papers (especially James Madison's contributions in Federalist numbers 10 and 51) have often been explained incorrectly in the past century. Madison wrote in Federalist 10, “The latent causes of faction are thus sewn in the nature of man.” This paper will explain what Madison meant by this assertion, why it has been misinterpreted, and why ascertaining the truth in the assertion is critical to an adequate understanding of political institutions. The paper argues that Madison’s assertion better describes the key problem facing democratic regimes than does more “modern” assertions.

Back to Top


Number: 174.

Title of Paper Proposal: Machiavelli's History of Florence as a Core Text?

Core text discussed: History of Florence

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper examines the merits of using Machiavelli's History of Florence as a core text, compared to the standard "Machiavellian" books, The Prince and The Discourses. This paper argues that the History of Florence offers noteworthy insights into Machiavelli's views on the church and papacy, and provides key lessons on the health and sicknesses of republics.

Back to Top


Number: 173.

Title of Paper Proposal: Turning and Returning to Core Texts through Cinema: An Examination of Andrey Zvyagintsev's Film *The Return* and How It Interacts and Engages with the Western Canon

Core text discussed: Odyssey; Genesis; Gospel According to John

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper will examine and discuss the ways in which Andrei Zvyagintsev's 2003 Russian film *The Return* explores and examines fundamental issues and themes (e.g., *nostos*, sacrifice, and what it means to be a follower or disciple) raised by core texts such as the *Odyssey*, the Book of Genesis and the Gospel According to John. I hope to show how a close familiarity with these texts is crucial for truly appreciating what takes place in Zvyagintsev's film. Conversely, I believe the film can open up new ways for approaching and understanding the texts themselves. I will also consider the broader pedagogical question of how we can make productive use of cinema in our teaching and discussions of core texts.

Back to Top


Number: 172.

Title of Paper Proposal: Plato's *Ion* as a contribution to political philosophy

Core text discussed: Plato, *Ion*

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Mainstream readings of *Ion* are captured by it's 'art criticism' aspect, or (where that account seems superficial) treat it as an ironic gesture toward the limits of dialogue. Yet rhapsodic performance is only the type case of social contagion and loss of critical distance. More provocatively, the polis, and Socrates, enjoy and celebrate their subjection to ineffable inspiration. *Ion* discloses Plato's respect for the charismatic, anti-dialogical grounds of political mobilisation and solidarity.

Back to Top


Number: 171.

Title of Paper Proposal: Discussing Race in the Classroom:

Core text discussed: Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virgina

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Despite the election of an African American as president, undergraduates (and Americans in general) are still reluctant to talk candidly about racial differences. Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia provides a useful means to get students thinking about platitudes (and so no longer be mere platitudes). Specifically, Jefferson's text examines the ways that people are, and are not equal, in terms of rights, mental and physcial capacities, moral qualities and even aesthetically. Thus, the Notes can be used to question complacent assumptions of sameness. In addition, in a racially mixed class, discussing race honestly can provide students with a model for civil discussion.

Back to Top


Number: 170.

Title of Paper Proposal: Teaching Browning’s “My Last Duchess” in the 21st Century: Challenges and Practices

Core text discussed: "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Teaching core texts in the 21st century classroom poses the challenge of engaging the students in classical texts that are historically, geographically, culturally, and linguistically “alien” to them. This paper will examine the challenges of teaching a classic core text such as Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” to unempathetic audience that perceive the poem as a closed text. The paper will also outline some strategies that have helped open the poem to students and the outcomes of engaging students in the reading and analysis of this core text. These strategies have been developed into a three-step instructional model that helps students identify, engage, and interact with texts.

Back to Top


Number: 169.

Title of Paper Proposal: Some Principles of Hesiod's Theogony

Core text discussed: Hesiod, Theogony

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In attempting to understand the creation of the universe, as scientists we have the account that we call the Big Bang, but another recourse we have to the understanding of this event is the imagination, wherewith we can envision its coming into being and its growth. The imagination might shrink before this task, but an exemplary man of imagination did our work for us 2700 years ago, Hesiod. This is a talk about how Hesiod understood the coming into being of such entities as Earth , Sea, and Sky, and their role in a naturally generated, as opposed to an artistically constructed, cosmos. The difference is that between poiesis and genesis. Poiesis is of course exemplified for us by the Hebrew account—though paradoxically we know it by the name of the Book of Genesis, but Hesiod’s account more properly deserves the title, for it is governed by various principles that are deeply genetic. The focus of this talk will be a consideration of some of these principles.

Back to Top


Number: 168.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Many Worlds of Genesis 1: Augustine on the Diversity of Scriptural Interpretations (Confessions 12)

Core text discussed: Augustine's Confessions

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper considers Augustine’s understanding of the role of multiple scriptural interpretations by explicating his discussion of the multiple interpretations of Genesis 1. In particular, I will examine how Augustine believes there are multiple worlds present in Genesis 1 in order to meet the various spiritual capacities of those within the Church. Further, this paper will draw out how Augustine sees Christ as the source and sustainer of these multiple interpretations, a role that is analogous to Christ’s role in creation. Thus, I will further argue that Augustine believes that by increasing the number of possible interpretations of Genesis 1, he is thus participating in the work of Christ.

Back to Top


Number: 167.

Title of Paper Proposal: Fatherhood, Criminality, and Authority in Freud's Totem and Taboo

Core text discussed: Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In a typically ambitious work, Freud seeks to examine the origins of moral prohibitions, religion, and civilization by applying psychoanalytic theory to the practices of "primitive" people. Based on his reading of contemporary anthropological studies, Freud posits striking similarities between totemic belief systems and the patterns of thought of his neurotic patients. Although rooted in the intellectual context of early twentieth century Vienna, Freud's work explores commonalities in human thought that stretch across vast expanses of space and time. Totem and Taboo represents one of Freud's first attempts to relate his views of fundmental aspects of human experience to the prehistory of social institutions.

Back to Top


Number: 166.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Not merely to say things which had never been said before": Originality in the Enlightenment and in the Information Age

Core text discussed: Swift's "Battle of the Books"

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The Enlightenment was an age, if not of imitation, of obsession with the meaning, value, and purpose of it. Like the “imitators” of the eighteenth-century, creative artists today are notable for their synthesis and renewal of prior sources, via parody, sampling, adaptation, and other forms of inter-textuality. In today’s electronic age, however, sources are “common” not in their presence as inherited cultural touchstones for a select audience but in their ubiquitous availability. Using Swift’s Battle of the Books (1710) and especially his fable of the spider and the bee as a touchstone on the meaning and value of originality, this paper will suggest insights, including some regarding the education of millennial students, to be gained from comparing two “ages of imitation.”

Back to Top


Number: 165.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Rhetoric of Work, Wealth and Virtue in The Wealth of Nations

Core text discussed: The Wealth of Nations

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Adam Smith’s An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations has never enjoyed a reputation as an easy read. However, where popular opinion had previously found obscurity and tedious attention to minor detail, recent scholarship has begun to perceive remarkable literary subtlety and nuance. This paper continues and builds upon that project. It commences with an assessment of three competing explanations of Smith’s literary style and settles on a philosophic and pedagogic explanation of Wealth of Nations’ distinctive composition. In discerning a unique heuristic strategy and philosophic object in the text, the article places particular emphasis on Smith’s employment of stylistic juxtaposition and classical citation. The paper concludes, somewhat ironically, with the observation that Wealth of Nations itself succumbed to the maladies of the emerging commercial worldview, in classroom and marketplace, that its careful construction aimed to ameliorate.

Back to Top


Number: 164.

Title of Paper Proposal: Thinking Rules and Applications: The Value of Theoretical Criticism

Core text discussed: Plato's Republic

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Not a logic manual per se, Plato’s Republic both models and exploits simple rules for clear, critical dialectical analysis in Socrates’ repeated insistence on one-to-one correspondences (e.g. one occupation per citizen) and carefully shaved distinctions (how a body can be at rest and in motion) in the ideated construction of his city. The central problem, however, is the hinge between neatly constructed abstractions and the messiness of material existence, reflected in the abstract, math-based curriculum for the philosopher-king in which the student analyzes harmony without reference to actual sound (pure theory) – and this in preparation to be a wise and effective political leader (concrete practice) – yet Socrates almost embarrassedly has to remind his yet-to-be-enlightened interlocutors of this distinction. Thus, Plato lays groundwork for authentic criticism, drawn from the nature of thought itself, even as he implicitly acknowledges the challenges of human application (e.g., the laughably absurd myth of metals) and epitomized in the problem of getting the released and enlightened prisoner to return inside the cave at the threat to his own existence. By embodying this position in the voice and personality of his martyred mentor Socrates, Plato ennobles the value – and exposes the danger – of criticism in any cultural context.

Back to Top


Number: 163.

Title of Paper Proposal: Rabelais and His Contexts

Core text discussed: Gargantua and Pantagruel

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the dedication that opens _Gargantua and Pantagruel_, François Rabelais famously asserts that “le rire est le propre de l'homme”—laughter is what is proper to man.” This paper will examine how, through its use of humor, Rabelais’ text engaged with sixteenth-century medical discourse, articulated the author’s Christian humanist criticism of monasticism and scholasticism, and helped constitute what we now call the French Renaissance world. My brief treatment of _Gargantua and Pantagruel_ will serve as a means of addressing some of the theoretical and pedagogical issues cultural historians confront when relating texts and contexts in their teaching and writing. It will also, hopefully, provoke discussion of how, in practical terms, we might most successfully integrate consideration of the text-context relationship into courses focused on core texts.

Back to Top


Number: 162.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Unfinished Drama of Faust and the Core Student

Core text discussed: Goethe's Faust

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Looking at the first French translation of his Faust, Goethe observed: “The appreciation, that it (Faust) has found throughout the world … may be due to its rare quality to have captured and preserved forever the time period of the development of a human spirit…” In this paper I will outline the ways in which I use this Core text in Western intellectual thought to inspire students to capture and preserve forever a moment in a formative time period of their intellectual development. In a series of texts included in the Literature Humanities syllabus of Columbia University, from Oedipus and Job to the Symposium, the Confessions, and Faust, I follow the theme of the human struggle to find meaning while simultaneously resolving the problem of authority and of the limits of human knowledge. Goethe’s seminal work resonates with students because in all his existentialist contradictions, Faust, no matter what the time, has always been the metaphor of modern man – a person who in a struggle with him/herself looks into the future and becomes a co-creator of the world. To me, the Faustian realization that the act is the solution to the conflict between creative power and authority is key in the intellectual development of those I teach. The modes of thinking I will emphasize suggest possibilities for the development of citizenship that corresponds to the multifaceted needs of a democratic society in which tradition and progress, authority and revolutionary change, tolerance and contradiction, are meant to be equally respected and preserved.

Back to Top


Number: 161.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Statesmanlike Medicine": Socratic Reflections on Justice, Communiy, and Healthcare

Core text discussed: Plato's REPUBLIC

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
I often try to show my students that "old books" can speak to contemporary issues. This year, with healthcare on everyone's minds, I used the treatment of medicine in Plato's REPUBLIC to spark a discussion of the relationship between justice and healthcare. In this context, we can consider issues of the nature of "mere health" as an end, the meaning of an individual's life in the context of his or her community, and the significance of the claim, made in the REPUBLIC, that, at the limit, citizens could conceivably have "nothing private but [their bodies]."

Back to Top


Number: 160.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Belt that Holds the Fate of Rome: A Reconsideration of the Final Scene in Vergil’s Aeneid

Core text discussed: Vergil's Aeneid

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
According to some interpreters of the Aeneid, Book XII highlights Aeneas’s dismantling of the Roman virtue of pietas in his passionate murder of the supplicant Turnus. However, a closer reading of the scene sheds light upon the nature of the moment of Rome’s inception. The belt of his dear friend Pallas that Aeneas recognizes upon Turnus’s shoulder does not merely symbolize the loss of a friend but evokes the scene of the Danaid myth concerning the line of the Argive kings who contribute to the downfall of the Trojans. A reconsideration of this scene at the end of the Aenied in light of the myth alluded to cannot label Aeneas’s actions solely as furor but shows him to be an adept political leader aware of the implications of historical myth.

Back to Top


Number: 159.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Building from Horace’s Metaphorical Monument to Shakespeare’s Metaphorical Miracle in Sonnet 65

Core text discussed: Sonnet 65

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Shakespeare's Sonnet 65 acts as an echoed transformation of Horace's monumentum of poetry in his ode 3.30 “Exegi monumentum.” Yet, Shakespeare is not content with the metaphor of poetry as a monument, and he finds in the course of the sonnet he must abandon the classical metaphor of poetry as monument altogether to make his own metaphor. By referring back to Horace’s answer to ravaging Time, Shakespeare transforms the idea of poetry as a monument into the idea of poetry as a type of miracle. Through Shakespeare’s tearing down of Horace’s influential monumentum in Sonnet 65, he gradually rebuilds his own metaphor of poetry as a miracle by mirroring Time’s own actions within the poem.

Back to Top


Number: 158.

Title of Paper Proposal: Tayeb Salih's "Season of Migration to the North" and the Pathologies of Moral Philosophy

Core text discussed: Season of Migration to the North (1969)

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Tayeb Salih's novel "Season of Migration to the North" (1969) is at one level an African author's re-working and re-telling of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." In place of Conrad's Kurtz journeying to moral darkness in the Congo, we confront Salih's Mustapha Sa'eed, journeying to a mirror-image locus of moral darkness in London. At another level, however, "Season of Migration" is a cross-cultural study of the pathologies of moral theorizing--namely, the pathologies that arise when ordinary people try to put moral theories into practice. In this paper, I discuss Salih's implicit depiction of the darker sides of egoism, deontology, utilitarianism, and cultural relativism, and discuss the significance of his novel for research and pedagogy in moral philosophy.

Back to Top


Number: 157.

Title of Paper Proposal: Ovid's Metamorphoses or the Case for Spiritual Hedonism

Core text discussed: Ovid's Metamorphoses

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
What is a great work of literature is all too often mistreated as a handy compendium of myth serving either as a historical document to ancient culture or as referential background to those subsequent poets, painters, and composers of opera who plundered it for their allusions and plots. This misdirected approach, which reduces the work to an ancillary function, in large part derives from one of the greatest conceptual flaws of humanitarian education today, and that is the distrust (especially in a puritanical culture) of pleasure as a legitimate end in itself, even when that pleasure is of the highest, most sophisticated, most intellectual kind. Instead humanitarians, haunted by the guilty impropriety of indulging the love of books as a lifetime activity, seem compelled to rationalize or justify this activity by investing it with some more supposedly objective social utility, most often the mission, as they see it (to use a cliche) "of raising social awareness." The harm is that they miss, or slight, or depreciate the disinterested and non-utilitarian appreciation of art and of the real -- fundamentally incalculable and unquantifiable -- value that art provides; and it is this value I wish to investigate.

Back to Top


Number: 156.

Title of Paper Proposal: Rousseau's Republican Rhetoric

Core text discussed: Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Rousseau is notoriously critical of rhetoric and rhetoricians, whom he regularly denounced as seducers, bent on drawing the people away from their genuine interests and towards the support of one or other self-interested faction. Yet Rousseau was himself a master rhetorician. Bryan Garsten has argued forcefully that Rousseau’s rhetoric is “prophetic” and “anti-political,” designed to inoculate his readers against rhetoric by inspiring a “non-rational and deeply felt sentiment of identification among citizens;” I disagree. Rousseau understood perfectly well that no republican political order such as he endorsed could function without political deliberation and therefore rhetoric. The Discourse on Inequality, dedicated to the citizens of Geneva and addressed at least in part to them, does not aim to overcome rhetoric but to provide a model of an effective, and distinctively modern, political rhetoric.

Back to Top


Number: 155.

Title of Paper Proposal: Authority and Anonymity in Descartes' Discourse on Method

Core text discussed: Descartes, Discourse on Method

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
René Descartes’ Discourse on Method is paradoxical in several respects: it was published anonymously, yet is rich in autobiographical detail; further, Descartes insists that “the power of judging well and of distinguishing the true from the false…is naturally equal in all men,” and also that “the world consists almost exclusively of … minds for whom [his method of reasoning] is not at all suitable” (1, 9). The Discourse indicates both that the identity of a particular reasoning subject (such as the author of the text itself) does not matter—because all rational beings could come to the same conclusion if using their reason correctly—and yet also that who one is does indeed matter to showing that one counts as one of the select group of subjects who possess knowledge. The method and its results do not speak for themselves; rather, the author must speak for them, and legitimize his authority in the process. Descartes' text demonstrates Michel Foucault’s claim that knowledge production is bound up in a social context that determines what counts as true knowledge and who has the authority to speak about it; it provides an opportunity to spark discussion amongst students about whether, even if we believe anyone’s reason might produce knowledge, it is still the case today that only some count as “knowers” according to criteria that are socially determined.

Back to Top


Number: 154.

Title of Paper Proposal: Integrating Core and Culture: Using Contemporary Multimedia to Complement the Literary Text

Core text discussed: "Nostra Aetate," Plato's "Apology" and "Allegory of the Cave," "Gospel of Luke," and Bhagavad Gita

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
At Seton Hall University, all freshmen take a core course entitled, "Journey of Transformation." This required course exposes students to many complex texts such as Plato's "Apology," and “Allegory of the Cave,” the Bhagavad Gita, and the "Gospel of Luke". This fall 2009 semester, two core professors used documentaries and film clips that correspond with texts to build historical background, cultural context, and enrich understanding. In particular, the professors showed the award-winning short documentary, Sister Rose's Passion, in order to create meaningful connections for students to the course text, "Nostra Aetate" ("In Our Time") the Second Vatican Council document that radically shifted the Catholic Church's relations with non-Christian religions. This paper examines the ways in which this short film, which poignantly portrays the integral role of Sr. Rose Thering in exposing Catholic anti-Semitism, helped students understand and appreciate the purpose and implications of the text.

Back to Top


Number: 153.

Title of Paper Proposal: Integrating Core and Culture: Using Contemporary Multimedia to Complement the Literary Text

Core text discussed: Nostra Aetate, Apology, Bhagavad Gita

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
At Seton Hall University, all freshmen take a core course entitled, "Journey of Transformation." This required course exposes students to many complex texts such as Plato's "Apology," and “Allegory of the Cave,” the Bhagavad Gita, and the "Gospel of Luke". This fall 2009 semester, two core professors used documentaries and film clips that correspond with texts to build historical background, cultural context, and enrich understanding. In particular, the professors showed the award-winning short documentary, Sister Rose's Passion, in order to create meaningful connections for students to the course text, "Nostra Aetate" ("In Our Time") the Second Vatican Council document that radically shifted the Catholic Church's relations with non-Christian religions. This paper examines the ways in which this short film, which poignantly portrays the integral role of Sr. Rose Thering in exposing Catholic anti-Semitism, helped students understand and appreciate the purpose and implications of the text.

Back to Top


Number: 152.

Title of Paper Proposal: Tocqueville and the Challenge of Apathy

Core text discussed: Democracy In America

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Tocqueville has often been lauded as both an insightful observer of Americana as well as eerily accurate prophet of America's trend toward soft despotism. This paper looks to explore the particular problem of apathy that Tocqueville foresaw as a possible outcome of the rise of individualism in democratic societies. Additionally, the paper will consider the reasonableness of the solutions proposed by Tocqueville given the scope of the problem he laid out.

Back to Top


Number: 151.

Title of Paper Proposal: Newton's Principia: The unteachable core text?

Core text discussed: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
One of the indisputable core texts is Isaac Newton's "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", often referred to as simply "The Principia". It is beneficial for students, as part of their general education, to have an understanding of the principles set forth in the work, and the seismic shift this work created in the way the natural world is perceived. While it is not that difficult to convey both of those objectives to students using a variety of sources, use of the original source is problematic. In this paper I will talk about attempts I have made in general education classes to use this text and ways in which I have succeeded or (mostly) failed.

Back to Top


Number: 150.

Title of Paper Proposal: African American aesthetics and Epistemologies in an interdisciplinary course

Core text discussed: Beloved, Toni Morrison, Picturing Us, Deborah Willis

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This presentation describes an attempt to reach across discipline and across segments of the African American Community in a capstone course in Africana Studies. By teaching texts representing the diversity in the Black community, texts which reveal culturally salient categories of meaning, my aim is to assist students in understanding the relationship between socio-historical events and black aesthetics and epistomologies.

Back to Top


Number: 149.

Title of Paper Proposal: Truth, Reason, and Freedom: C. Wright Mills' The Power Elite Revisited

Core text discussed: C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956) and The Sociological Imagination (1959)

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Revisiting The Power Elite, written fifty four years ago, provides a clear window into contemporary American culture and social structure. Building on a variety of classical theorists, Mills shows how unintended and frequently un-reflected upon social arrangements contribute to the structured denial of truth, a retreat from reason, and the erosion of freedom. The continuing mutual affinity among top corporate leaders, the military elite, and the Federal executive branch appears to lead us into a near permanent state of war. Does Mills' engaged social science as described in The Sociological Imagination provide a means to reclaim truth, reason, and freedom? I argue that it may. [Forgive earlier submission; I hit return accidentally]

Back to Top


Number: 148.

Title of Paper Proposal: Economic Factions as Forces of Nature in Aristotle's Politics

Core text discussed: Aristotle, The Politics and The Physics

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Aristotle says the regime is the form and the way of life of the city and that it requires acts of reason to be formed, and he espouses a trickle-down theory of this way of life: the whole city is inevitably drawn in to and informed by the opinions and the way of life of the people in charge. But, most regimes (as democracies and oligarchies) are governed by economic factions, whose way of life and view of the good comes from their economic station as rich or poor. Thus economics, though a sub-political material force, seems to be the major cause of the regime/form/way of life of cities: this is a bottom-up theory of opinions about justice and thus of regimes formed. This paper reflects on how, in the Politics, the formal nature of a regime/city is determined by or can escape the sub-political forces of human material nature.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Nature and Regime, Aristotle and Otherwise

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
The panel will discuss the relationship between nature/human nature and the regimes humans make for themselves, with Aristotle’s views of nature and of the polis as a general backdrop for consideration and contrast with modern views. We will discuss, in relation to regimes, nature as form vs. nature as matter; nature as inner principle; and humans as by nature prone to faction. Papers include “Economic Factions as a Force of Nature in the Politics” (Molly Brigid Flynn, Assumption College), “Human Nature and Republican Constitutionalism in the Federalist Papers” (Dennis Regis McGrath, University of Baltimore), “The Un-Aristotelianism of Heidegger’s Aristotle on Nature” (James Despres, Charles Borromeo Seminary/ABD Catholic University of America), “Aristotle on Carl Schmitt’s Friend/Enemy Distinction” (Brian Fox, ABD Graduate School of CUNY).

Back to Top


Number: 147.

Title of Paper Proposal: Polo, Mandeville and Ricci: Polo, Mandeville and Ricci: European Intersections with China

Core text discussed: Travels of Marco Polo

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
There are few more varied examples of the diversity of cultural encounters than Europe’s awakening to China and China’s place in history. The textual examples are many. This paper considers just three of the various individual perspectives that constituted Europe’s reaction to Chinese culture, the Travels of Marco Polo, the chronicle of Sir John Mandeville, and The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven by Mateo Ricci. Together, Polo, the young European merchant, who matured at the Mongol court, Mandeville, publisher of popular European, Christian anecdotes, and Ricci, the theologian and scholar who espoused the compatibility of Confucian and Christian beliefs, illustrate that there were many different contexts and texts that gave shape to Europe’s early modern, global perspective in general and her Chinese perspective in particular.

Back to Top


Number: 146.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Family as the Basic Unit of Society in Lucretius

Core text discussed: Lucretius' On the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura)

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Epicureans were famous for holding that justice comes into being only where there is a contract "neither to harm nor be harmed." Their account of the first social contract appears in Book 5 of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura where it is an effort to preserve and protect the family that gives rise to the founding contract among primitive humans. This contrasts with other ancient and modern accounts of the social contract, e.g. that of Glaucon in Republic Book 2, that emphasize the lone adult and his perceived interests. Lucretius' emphasis on the family's role in cultivating feelings for others provides a helpful contrast with more individualistic contractarian views of justice and society.

Back to Top


Number: 145.

Title of Paper Proposal: "A Brother's Dead Love": Learning to Tolerate Non-Erotic Love in the Non-West and in Twelfth Night

Core text discussed: Twelfth Night

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
What can Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night teach students about the strength of non-sexual relationships in less individualistic, less Freudian cultures than our own? Casey Charles has stated, rightly, that the love between Sebastian and Antonio cannot be interpreted as romance between homosexuals, for this would be to read modern constructions of identity backward into non-modern texts. Yet to students, scholars and audiences in our culture, certain professions of love made by Antonio are so intense that they seem necessarily sexual. Twelfth Night, however, a play about siblings finding one another, privileges non-sexual love even while it diagnoses our own topsy-turvy Western culture as being, like Orsino, unable to shake off a narrow preoccupation with erotic love - an obsession unshared by most cultures, where filial, feudal or platonic types of love have acted as social glue.

Back to Top


Number: 144.

Title of Paper Proposal: Revolution in Values: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Struggle for Racial Democracy

Core text discussed: Martin Luther King Jr. "Why We Can't Wait"

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at Riverside Church in New York where he argued that there was a need for a revolution in values and that the struggle against evil in the world centered on combatting materialism, militarism and racism globally. In this paper I examine these ideas within his text, 'Why We Can't Wait.' The paper assists us in understanding King in the larger global struggle for racial democracy as well as a brief analysis of why this revolution is still necessary.

Back to Top


Number: 143.

Title of Paper Proposal: “Life Should Be So”: Self-Esteem and Morality in James Joyce’s Ulysses

Core text discussed: James Joyce's Ulysses

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Ulysses, James Joyce emphasizes that the difficulty of moral action rests on one’s degree of self-esteem in relation to dictates of moral prescription. The portrayal of impediments caused by moral judgments based solely on arbitrary prescription (one ought to do something) indicates a need for a different system that considers practical function through an account of what is the case. The problem at the heart of my paper is a question of moral education and prescriptive moral norms in society: how do the effects of social normativity determine the possibility of healthy social relationships which are needed for happiness or self-actualization? In addressing this question, Joyce creates his Odysseus, Leopold Bloom, who is described as a different kind of man of “a strange kind of flesh” (539). This strangeness is attributed to Bloom by others in his community as his fellow citizens of Dublin attempt to categorize and prescribe. It is through Bloom that Joyce offers an image of an individual with a descriptive moral position that is self-defined or self-created on practical grounds. Rather than follow critics such as David Sidorsky who argue Joyce suggests the realization of art only occurs when it is free from moral purpose, I argue that claims such as Sidorsky’s rest on the idea of morality as prescription which is latent in the desire to find a moral ought (137-139). Joyce’s formal experiment in language and technique reflects his moral project: the possibility of a moral system which is descriptive at its base and accounts for the best possible negotiation between an individual’s conflicting desires and the possibility of happiness within a community – arguably making Ulysses a strange and different text.

Back to Top


Number: 142.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Place of Religion in Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil

Core text discussed: Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil is split thematically into two parts—one part concerning philosophy and religion, and the other concerning morality and politics. The two thematic parts are, however, inter-related, and the connection between these two broad themes as well as the relationship between philosophy and religion, will prove to be crucial for understanding Nietzsche’s views of philosophy itself, of Western history, and the responsibilities of the philosopher of the future.

Back to Top


Number: 141.

Title of Paper Proposal: Genre and definition in Paradise Lost

Core text discussed: Paradise Lost

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The interpretation of Satan as Milton's epic hero seems to be based in part on two faulty interpretations. First, the belief that the epic is a long narrative poem that follows the adventures of a hero shows a lack of familiarity with ancient understanding, which did not require a hero: hence Milton, very familiar with ancient literatur theory, did not necessarily require a hero. Second, the ancient understanding of hero seems to be of a person who fosters order and civilization; Satan does neither. Hence he cannot be a plausible hero.

Back to Top


Number: 140.

Title of Paper Proposal: Dying as Socrates, killing as Arjuna, and being able to tell the difference: Varying teaching styles according to the text.

Core text discussed: The Apology, Bhagavad Gita

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper addresses the problem of teaching radically different texts within a single semester while maintaining students engaged in the different worlds evoked by the texts. I have found that students tend to remember situations that required their engagement in the classroom better than they remember texts they read alone, which are easier to misidentify and mix up. Thus, when teaching the Apology I do not teach about Socrates, but rather bring a Socratic discussion to the classroom by asking questions, creating a bit of frustration, never giving a final answer to anything, becoming Socrates until some students take his role. The Bhagavad Gita, on the other hand, can be taught with an appropriate multimedia display, including the famous interview with Oppenheimer and the effects of the atomic bomb.

Back to Top


Number: 139.

Title of Paper Proposal: “Aristotle on Carl Schmitt’s Friend/Enemy Distinction”

Core text discussed: Schmitt's Concept of the Political (and Aristotle's Politics and Nicomachean Ethics)

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Carl Schmitt famously tied the Political to the existential differentiation by a regime between its "friends" and "enemies." This paper will bring the thought of Aristotle regarding regime arguments as well as faction and civil friendship to bear on Schmitt's Hobbesian and bleak view of the Political. Aristotle's core texts will be shown to give Schmitt's classic, Concept of the Political, the means to amend its pessimistic philosophical anthropology as well as a refutation for his political decisionism.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: "Nature and Regime, Aristotle and Otherwise"

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
The above panel has been proposed by Molly Flynn and so the info given is for my proposed paper for that panel.

Back to Top


Number: 138.

Title of Paper Proposal: An Initiation into Revelry: The Influence of Dionysian Mythology in Melville’s Moby Dick

Core text discussed: Melville's Moby Dick

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
While his creation of the malevolent white whale is hardly a re-telling of any particular myth, Melville was, nevertheless, deeply influenced by ancient mythologies as he attempted to compose his own myth for the fledgling America. What he ultimately presents to the American public in the form of a sperm whale is that of divinity incarnate, of a mythological figure who celebrates Dionysian revelry, communal rites, bodily work, suffering, and sacrifice. In his creation of this epic, Melville attempts to demonstrate the consequences of misunderstanding the nature of the body—a fault he recognized in his own culture. While Ishmael desires a disembodied world of abstractions, Ahab demands a sort of ideal perfection within the material world, and these false notions and desires—still current in today’s culture and classrooms—incur the violent, Dionysian-like confrontations found in the novel.

Back to Top


Number: 137.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Novum Organum and the Baconian method of reasoning in a general studies science class “The Nature of Cold”

Core text discussed: Novum Organum by Francis Bacon

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
I teach a general studies class that focus on all things related to cold. The course begins with a discussion on the early development of the scientific method and ends with a focus on the latest information concerning global climate change. The Novum Oganum by Francis Bacon is used as core text in this course. Bacon’s four “Idols” of the mind that he believed interfered with scientific reasoning are used to frame classroom discussion on scientific issues such as low temperatures causing outbreaks of the common cold and public acceptance of climate change. His early version of the scientific method is transformative in helping students frame scientific discussion in a non-majors science course.

Back to Top


Number: 136.

Title of Paper Proposal: Virgil's Deism: Creating a World Without Gods in the Aeneid

Core text discussed: Viril's Aeneid

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Although the opening passages proclaim it to be an epic concerning divine wrath and the hatred of Juno, the Aeneid can more rightly be understood as an epic about divine indifference, about how the gods withdraw themselves from the affairs and governance of mankind. Pious Aeneas finds himself exiled not only from the land of his birth, but also from the gods to whom he has paid homage. Virgil’s epic, therefore, provides a primitive example of deism, of a world abandoned by the gods and left to the intrepid efforts of man to order and to rule. Aeneas’ endeavors to found an empire, then, provide telling commentary on the difficulties of self-governance and thus rightly deserve examination by the future leaders of American democracy.

Back to Top


Number: 135.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Global Contexts of More's "Utopia"

Core text discussed: Thomas More, "Utopia"

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In “Utopia” the Renaissance humanist scholar Thomas More presents a strong critique of imperial and exploitative European institutions as well as an alternative political economy. Drawing upon his study of classical Greco-Roman culture and the encounters of New World explorers with native American societies, More imagines a civic and communitarian republic that provokes reflection upon the features of ancient, early modern, and contemporary globalization.

Back to Top


Number: 134.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Order of Hierarchy and the Order of Accordance: A Comparison of the Creation Accounts of Hesiod’s Theogony and Genesis

Core text discussed: Hesiod's Theogony, Genesis

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
If culture is determined, to some extent, by what people think, then the study of creation accounts is essential to understanding the cultures that produce them. The striking differences and surprising similarities in the accounts of the ancient Greek world and of the Judeo-Christian world provide a context for understanding both cultures. This paper examines thematic patterns in the creation accounts of Hesiod’s Theogony and of Genesis, seeking to articulate some of the basic cultural values and assumptions inherent in each. Comparison of these with selected accounts of other cultures may shed further light on the nature of culture itself.

Back to Top


Number: 133.

Title of Paper Proposal: Morte d’Arthur’s Chivalric Code and the Nexus with Contemporary Military Mythmaking

Core text discussed: Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur

Date Submitted: 12-31-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, each knight of the Table Round is required to take a sacred oath on the holy feast of Pentacost. The oath encapsulates what it means to be a chivalric warrior. The values embedded in the oath have been consciously appropriated in American military ideology. We will view videos and advertisements and discuss their derivation from Malory’s chivalric world.

Back to Top


Number: 132.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Bartolomé de Las Casas' Defense of Indigenous Peoples: Core Texts, Cultural Clashes, and the Liberal Arts

Core text discussed: Bartolomé de Las Casas' _Historia de las Indias_ (in English!)

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Las Casas' brilliant defense of the Indian Enriquillo challenges students to draw on all of their knowledge of the liberal arts -- the Spanish language, history, philosophy, theology, logic, critical thinking, and hermeneutics -- to defend the humanity of the indigenous peoples. The text, turned against them, exemplifies the need to cultivate multiculturalism, and avoid the dangers of Eurocentrism, Biblical proof-texting, circular argumentation, and colonialism. Las Casas' text is a profound treatise on the indispensable nature of the liberal arts.

Back to Top


Number: 131.

Title of Paper Proposal: Re-examining the Other

Core text discussed: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Students learn about an unfamiliar community of immigrants and the struggles that they face as they try to make sense of American medicine. I am able to see students deal with the untidiness of competing perspectives on health and try to rationalize their ethnocentric beliefs with the empathy that they develop towards the newcomers to America. History, medicine, politics, and anthropology are important disciplinary perspectives that inform the analyses of instances of paternalism, the rejection of traditional medicine, and the exercise of personal choice

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Engaging Core Texts and Cultural Contexts in a Stand-alone General Studies Curriculum

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Engaging Core Texts and Cultural Contexts in a Stand-alone General Studies Curriculum

Back to Top


Number: 130.

Title of Paper Proposal: Raskolnikov and Akrasia

Core text discussed: Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment'

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Akrasia is the Ancient Greek term for weakness of the will or moral error; Plato presents akrasia as a paradox in the ‘Protagoras,’ Aristotle tries to solve the paradox in the Ethics. After briefly presenting the classical problem of akrasia, this paper will sketch an interpretation of Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ according to which the character Raskolnikov dramatically embodies the paradoxical nature of akrasia. The paper concludes with some brief speculation on the nature of human motivation, sin and redemption in light of Plato’s “doctrine” that everyone desires the good.

Back to Top


Number: 129.

Title of Paper Proposal: Descartes' Doubt and the Beginning of the Modern World

Core text discussed: Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Recent critiques of modernity have argued for a Late-Medieval/Renaisance beginning for the modern world. This paper contests these claims and defends the traditional view that modern thought begins with Descartes' subjective turn, articulated most fully in his Meditiations on First Philosophy. The paper argues that the origins of modernity must be seen as having a two stage development: there is a first break with the neo-platonic hierarchies that informed medieval thought in Late-Medieval figures such as Scotus and Okham, but this produced an unstable and vanishing secularity, usually described as the Renaissance. It is only with Desacartes (and other 17th century figures), building on the failure of Renaissance secularity, that we have articulated a more deeply grounded secularity that captures the fullness of Modernity.

Back to Top


Number: 128.

Title of Paper Proposal: "You must never divulge divine things to the uninitiated": Teaching the Mysticism of Dionysius the Areopagite

Core text discussed: Dionysius the Areopagite's 'The Mystical Theology'

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The influence of Dionysius the Areopagite over Medieval and Early Modern thought can hardly be overstated. To be sure, the esoteric tradition of mysticism and theurgy that he inherits and transmits is an important and formative aspect of Western philosophy and culture generally. However, the texts of this oft-ignored tradition are only just beginning to resurface in mainstream scholarship and in core text curricula. The re-introduction of these texts into the canon creates significant problems. The challenge they pose to the standard account of Western intellectual history demands either a radical revaluation of that history, or a distortion of the purpose and content of the texts themselves to fit a predetermined narrative.

Back to Top


Number: 127.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Out of One’s Mind and Engaging the World: Transcending Stereotypes in The Elegance of the Hedgehog"

Core text discussed: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery (2006)

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
What more universal themes can there be than those explored in the 2006 French novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog: alienation, love, death, friendship, art, and the meaning of life? One of the great virtues of this novel is that in grappling with these perennial issues, the novel’s dual narrators draw on both high art and popular culture—from world cultural influences such as Tolstoy’s novels and the Japanese tea ritual to mangas, the New Zealand haka, and the music of Dire Straits—which creates multiple points of access for any audience. Establishing familiar connections is crucial, since the reader must be engaged deeply with this text in order to endure the challenge set for us, namely, to confront the stereotypes and assumptions that lead us to exoticize others and stymie our ability to see embodied, unique individuals. I will discuss how requiring students to maintain a reflective philosophy journal, while reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog at the end of an Introduction to Ethics course, both invites further investigation into world cultures and prepares students for frank and challenging discussions about stereotyping that boxes in both oneself and others.

Back to Top


Number: 126.

Title of Paper Proposal: Aristotle on Self-awareness

Core text discussed: Nichomachean Ethics, Meditations (Descartes)

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
"But to perceive that we are perceiving or thinking means that we exist, since, as we saw, existence is perceiving or thinking." [Ethics, Bk 9, Ch 9, 1170b] This remark, a minor point in an argument for ones need for friends, invites contemplation of its similarity to Descartes' iconic observation that provided the foundation for his meditations on first philosophy. Speculation on the similarities and differences in their interpretations of the fact of self-awareness affords an intriguing perspective for an attentive rereading of both philosophers. Along with the question of whether Aristotle implicitly anticipates Descartes' fundamental move, one can ask whether the former concurred with the latter's separation of mind from body.

Back to Top


Number: 125.

Title of Paper Proposal: Using Nussbaum to Link the Apology and Crito to the Responsible Global Citizen

Core text discussed: Aplogy Crito Tartuffe

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The fact that Socrates uses his own death to testify to the obligation of citizens, both to think critically and act courageously when making laws and to reverence them once made, makes the Apology and Crito especially powerful and affecting in a first-year core text program. But because the direct democracy of Athens can seem so remote from contemporary contexts, students may too quickly distance themselves from Socrates’ concerns. In her recent essay “Education for Profit, Education for Freedom,” Martha Nussbaum’s argument for liberal education draws on Socrates’ principles to argue that a liberal education is essential for global justice and responsible citizenship. Her argument makes an excellent bridge from these two Platonic dialogues to any text that explores issues of justice and equality, whether it be the classic Molière comedy Tartuffe or the 1989 film Raise the Red Lantern directed by Zhang Yimou.

Back to Top


Number: 124.

Title of Paper Proposal: “Paired Programming” & Disparate Gears: Engaging the World in Core-Text Education

Core text discussed: Francis Bacon: "Of Discourse" & "Of Custom and Education"; Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In order for "the world" to converse about core texts, we need not homogenize, blend, or overwhelm nations' (/universities') disparate cultures, but instead we should profit from energetically engaging with those disparities. Francis Bacon and Karl Marx show us the process; and the European Union's current struggles to implement the Bologna Agreement's higher education reforms is our testing-ground.

Back to Top


Number: 123.

Title of Paper Proposal: Eros Disarmed: Simone Weil and Wallace Stevens

Core text discussed: Wallace Stevens' poems (selected); Simone Weil's "Gravity and Grace"

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
“I am not the maiden who awaits her betrothed but the unwelcome third who is with two betrothed lovers and ought to go away so that they can really be together,” Simone Weil wrote, in an effort to illustrate the meaning of her neologism, decreation. She invented this word to explain the discipline of self-effacement required of those who long to apprehend divine truth in its fullness. The American poet Wallace Stevens adopted the term as his own, defining decreation as the movement “from the created to the uncreated” and as a counterforce to destruction, which he describes as the movement “from the created to nothingness.” My paper aims to shed light on the theme of “the uncreated” in Stevens’ poetry and to consider the erotic longing that comprehends “the uncreated” both as a dimension of reality and an opposite of nothingness.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Lyric Poetry: Inviting Eros into the Core

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Lyric Poetry: Inviting Eros into the Core (Chair – Michael McShane, Carthage College) Eros is possibly the only spiritual force in which Westerners still genuinely believe, but remains nonetheless absent from a great many earnest discussions of core curricula and texts. Who, or what, is Eros? His lineage is old: Diotima in Plato’s Symposium understands him to be half god, half human – the daemonic love-child of mortal Poverty and immortal Invention. His hybrid nature, Diotima proposes, means that Eros necessarily engages the divine and the mortal worlds, bringing them – however fleetingly – into contact. Certainly, Eros remains the presiding inspiration for the great lyric poetry of our time. Our panel will consider the erotic mode of lyric poetry: its way of imaginatively bringing together irremediably separate “worlds” of paucity and plenitude, of emotion and reason, of desire and consummation, of finitude and boundlessness.

Back to Top


Number: 122.

Title of Paper Proposal: Arts of War: Exploring Military Virtue and Human Nature Through Multiple Cultural Lenses

Core text discussed: Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Sun Tzu’s classic work, The Art of War, is studied in military courses with regularity and is of unquestioned value to the study of war; but what value could a Chinese statement on war have in a Western liberal arts education? A characteristic of a core text is that it is both timely and timeless. Sun Tzu speaks in a Chinese voice at a particular time in Chinese history, but he also speaks to the political challenge of human beings living together in peace. A later Italian voice speaks to the same question in Machiavelli’s Art of War; a still later Prussian voice speaks to the same question in Clausewitz’ On War. But to what end are these three different cultural voices speaking of military virtue? As Aristotle writes, “war must be for the sake of peace, occupation for the sake of leisure, necessary and useful things for the sake of noble things” (Politics, 1333a35)

Back to Top


Number: 121.

Title of Paper Proposal: Quomodo Scimus (How do we know)? Reading, Writing and Speaking from Primary Sources in Elementary Latin

Core text discussed: Ovid, Metamorphoses; Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars; Vergil, Aeneid;

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Just as classicists piece together information from Greek and Roman authors, in this assignment, students learn to track down primary sources in their study of the Latin language, starting in Elementary Latin I. A template for a two-part Roman History and Mythology Project is presented to demonstrate an integration of reading, writing, speaking, and research in both Elementary (LATN 101) and Intermediate Latin (LATN 201), a Lynchburg College Symposium Readings (LCSR) course. Working in groups, Latin students present background, select a Latin passage about a Roman leader or deity from a primary source, read the Latin orally to the class, translate it with class and instructor assistance, and later compose their own paragraphs in Latin about their topics for development of a class website. In this way they gain familiarity with Roman culture and history and practice communication skills in both English and Latin.

Back to Top


Number: 120.

Title of Paper Proposal: Cartesian World(s)

Core text discussed: Descartes Corpus: Meditations on First Philosophy, Principles of Philosophy, The World (Le Monde), Discourse on Method, etc.

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
To many critics and commentators of Western culture, the 17th century intellectual output of Rene Descartes represents both a fundamental, yet villainous turning point for that culture. “Cartesian” context is often cited as the source of a multitude of intellectual evils with very dire, real evil consequences. Such cited evils include: “the ghost in the machine,” mind-body dualism, excessive rationalism and subjectivism, the private language fallacy, essentialism, mechanistic extremism, and reductionism. To some, Descartes has even been accused of being the primary source of the contextual evils infecting and ungluing the modern world. Against such a background and detractors, I wish to offer a somewhat back-handed defense of Descartes, or (at least) a sympathetic explication and apology. Cartesian thought and context, I believe, is very frequently misunderstood. In this regard, I will not argue for the truth or wisdom of any part of the Cartesian corpus. On the other hand, I will argue that Descartes’ thought and context -- even if somewhat sapientially misguided -- is/are eminently worthy of our studious attention, and eminently worthy of inclusion in core text programs. This is because such study can shed new and significant light on the cultural context of our present global 21st century world -- as a partial descendant of the seductive, intriguing, provocative, and often easily misconstrued Cartesian “world.”

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: N/A

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
N/A

Back to Top


Number: 119.

Title of Paper Proposal: Crafting the Soul across Cultures

Core text discussed: Plato's Apology, Republic, Meno; Nietzsche's On the Genealog of Morals; Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
One central question of Plato’s dialogues is whether virtue can be taught – or, if there might be some kind of techne for the proper care for the soul. But how to convince the different contemporary worlds represented by a multicultural, multiethnic student body of the significance of this ancient question in the first place? In responding to this question, I discuss Matthew Crawford’s recent Shop Class as Soulcraft, and in doing also draw upon Nietzsche. Using these texts in a liberal arts context, I argue that one can take significant steps in engaging students to understand that difference does not have to degrade into banal relativism, and that some ways of caring for one’s soul might very well be better than others.

Back to Top


Number: 118.

Title of Paper Proposal: Back to the Future: Core Texts and Contexts for College Writing

Core text discussed: Juxtapositions: Ideas for College Writers

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper will show the ways in which classic texts in the history of ideas accompanied by texts offering multiculturtal contexts can be used to advantage in a two-course humanities core sequence. This approach shows that courses commonly known as "college composition" can and should be "content" courses, helping students acquire critical reading and thinking as well as writing skills. This short paper will elaborate the general learning outcomes for a two-course writing sequence using this approach and focus more closely on one unit combining Freud's "Second lecture," Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," and a recent autobiographical sketch from a !Kung! woman.

Back to Top


Number: 117.

Title of Paper Proposal: A Global Region: The Trans-national Imagination in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

Core text discussed: William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The criteria for designating a “core” text must entail some standard of durable and wide-ranging relevance, which makes works that fall within the epic genre—these works being trans-national and cross-cultural in scope—appropriate candidates for inclusion. Drawing on Franco Moretti’s assessment of the modern epic and Georg Lukács theorization of the modern novel, this paper examines the method by which meaning is invented in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!—giving special attention to the cross-cultural intersections that take place outside the parameters of the novel’s precisely Southern plot. It is cultural distance in the novel (figured through Quentin and Shreve’s creative discourse) that allows for a meaningful, probable account of a particularly Southern tragedy, which distance effectively de-particularizes that tragedy and imbues it with a trans-national (epic) scope. Through the act of culturally distant and creative narration, that is, the isolated rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen becomes grandly figurative of a much larger cultural collapse—that of the whole trajectory of Southern culture writ large.

Back to Top


Number: 116.

Title of Paper Proposal: Aristotle, Darwin and the Origin of “Species” – Understanding Evolution through Core Texts

Core text discussed: Generation of Animals, Origin of Species

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Much of the difficulty in understanding the Theory of Evolution rests on the meaning of the term “species”, a meaning which itself has evolved since the time of Aristotle and even Darwin. What, for some, is an example of a Platonic Idea, is, to the biologist, a sometimes convenient descriptor. In a core texts program, we can explore the relationship between philosophical discourse and scientific inquiry. This, in turn, can lead to a deeper appreciation of the role science plays in influencing our culture.

Back to Top


Number: 115.

Title of Paper Proposal: Shakespeare's Sonnet 65: A Trivial Miracle

Core text discussed: Shakespeare's Sonnet 65

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the essay, I employ the trivium as a tool for reading Sonnet 65, and I examine the close relationship between its meaning and its form, during which examination I emphasize its frail yet enduring beauty. With reference to the conference theme, then, my reading of Sonnet 65 carries with it the implication that even the weakest elements of culture and tradition can obtain its enduring essence.

Back to Top


Number: 114.

Title of Paper Proposal: Crossed Cultural and Discipline Boundries in John Banville's The Infinities

Core text discussed: Amphitryon

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
John Banville's 2009 novel, The Infinities, has been classified variously as a Classical comedy, a pastoral, a romance, even a verbal Beethoven symphony. This confusion about genre and form is not surprising, for the novel's ingenious construction with regard to setting (both time and place), plot, characters, and narrator(s) form an olio so succulent that critics cannot agree upon which 'ingredients' are most responsible for the work's overall richness. This latest piece by the Booker Prize winning author reinvents the myth of Amphitryon, bringing it up to date in a manner that deliberately and provocatively crosses cultural and discipline boundries as it makes a most profound statement about the tragic and the comic facets of this, our human experience. A bold work of literature that incorporates history, religion, literature, art, mathematics, and science, The Infinities is a novel that seems tailormade for this year's ACTC Conference's topic.

Back to Top


Number: 113.

Title of Paper Proposal: Kierkegaard and the Contexts of Faith: a Leap or a Hop?

Core text discussed: Kirkegaard, Fear and Trembling

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Kierkegaard's meditation on the Akedah, the binding of Isaac for sacrifice, is well known for its insistence that Abraham had faith "by virtue of the absurd." If today Abraham is taken as the exemplar of the so-called "leap" of faith, it is largely because of the reading of the Akedah that one finds in Fear and Trembling. Indeed, in pre-modern contexts one does not find readings of the Akedah that stress the impossibility of faith; nor does one generally find the idea that faith requires a "leap." Kierkegaard's reading of the story of Abraham is a product of the modern context of faith in which he found himself.

Back to Top


Number: 112.

Title of Paper Proposal: Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose: Engaging the Medieval Franciscan World with Postmodern Undergraduates.

Core text discussed: Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Reading Eco's *Name* not only allowed an engagement with medieval Franciscan thought, and an introduction to its key figures and problems, but also introduced students to recent postmodern thinking. Eco’s postmodernism allows us to approach a text relieved of the modernist responsibility to judge its truth value and thus more open to understanding and appreciation, or in Eco’s words, to revisit the past “but with irony, not innocently.” Ultimately, I presented Eco’s text as a treatise on the hope that sustains us in the face of a radical metaphysical uncertainty, and, of course, a new way of looking at the Franciscan tradition.

Back to Top


Number: 111.

Title of Paper Proposal: Language and Independence in Bâ's So Long a Letter

Core text discussed: Mariama Bâ's So Long a Letter

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
If, as Rebecca Oxford has noted, foreign language instructors act as envoys of the target culture, and not just as participants in the culture of the classroom, the teaching of core texts poses a unique challenge for non-native foreign language instructors. We must, more than most, represent what we are not. As an Anglo professor of French and a male teaching gender studies, I have found Bâ’s semi-autobiographical novel invaluable for its capacity to foreground what my race, sex, and language typically obscure. Bâ’s Ramatoulaye is a exceptional heroine struggling with the tensions of several competing cultures—-a woman confronting the injustices of polygamy; an African challenging the values of 20th-century France; a liberated Senegalese in a country still enamored by the ways of the colonizer; a devout Muslim confronting religious insincerity; and a speaker of Wolof writing in French.

Back to Top


Number: 110.

Title of Paper Proposal: Human Law and Divine Law in Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah

Core text discussed: Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimiah

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Of political authority, there is only one kind, for Ibn Khaldun: "royal authority". The goal of all cohesive, powerful groups, and the goal of their preeminent individuals, is royal authority. Unlike Aristotle's Politics, Cicero's De Re Publica, and Machiavelli's Prince, Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah contains little discussion of oligarchies, republics, or mixed regimes. The only two types of regime, indeed, seem to be regimes ruled by divine law and those not ruled by such law. This paper argues that Ibn Khaldun was the first to theorize the positive relationship between monotheistic divine law and political institutions, a discovery later re-made by Montesquieu and Tocqueville.

Back to Top


Number: 109.

Title of Paper Proposal: Genesis 1: Generally Known but Poorly Understood

Core text discussed: Genesis 1

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The essentials of Genesis 1 are well known in terms of creation in six days but poorly understood in terms of its original purpose. I propose that a proper understanding of Genesis 1 requires acknowledgement of its role as introduction to the Priestly Document and its vision of history in terms of three covenants of Yahweh: (1) Covenant with all humans in Noah; (2) Covenant with all believers in God in Abraham; Mosaic covenant with the Jewish people. The passage is not intended as an exclusivist scientific account of Creation but rather as an inclusivist account of Yahweh's lordship and human stewardship over all creation.

Back to Top


Number: 108.

Title of Paper Proposal: Translating Seneca's Tragedies in the 21st Century

Core text discussed: Phaedra, Thyestes

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
According to T.S. Eliot, "'No author exercised a wider or deeper influence upon the Elizabethan mind or upon the Elizabethan form of tragedy' than the Roman philosopher Seneca. I will first discuss how Seneca's Thyestes, Phaedra, Trojan Women, and other tragedies influenced Racine and Corneille and, too, Shakespeare. I will then argue that Seneca's tragedies are so relevant today, with their cast of psychologically troubled ("deviant," according to Harvard professor R.J. Tarrant) mythological characters and their themes of violence, hatred, cruelty, and pain. I will also read from my current translation-in-progress of Seneca's Phaedra and discuss how, via my translations, I seek to bring his work and its lessons to a contemporary audience.

Back to Top


Number: 107.

Title of Paper Proposal: Translating Seneca's Tragedies in the 21st Century

Core text discussed: Phaedra, Thyestes

Date Submitted: 12-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
According to T.S. Eliot, "'No author exercised a wider or deeper influence upon the Elizabethan mind or upon the Elizabethan form of tragedy' than the Roman philosopher Seneca. I will first discuss how Seneca's Thyestes, Phaedra, Trojan Women, and other tragedies influenced Racine and Corneille and, too, Shakespeare. I will then argue that Seneca's tragedies are so relevant today, with their cast of psychologically troubled ("deviant," according to Harvard professor R.J. Tarrant) mythological characters and their themes of violence, hatred, cruelty, and pain. I will also read from my current translation-in-progress of Seneca's Phaedra and discuss how, via my translations, I seek to bring his work and its lessons to a contemporary audience.

Back to Top


Number: 106.

Title of Paper Proposal: Science Illiteracy and the Degradiation of American Democracy

Core text discussed: Plato - The Republic (Bks. II, III)

Date Submitted: 12-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
While the early Greek Sophists emphasized the importance of education to the individual, Socrates taught that education is essential in order to allow individuals to function effectively within society. This is at least as important today in our technological, post-modern world as it was in Socrates’ day. Ironically, in the United States we have the greatest research universities and technologies in the world while also having a population with one of the highest levels of science illiteracy as exemplified by blanket rejection of ideas such as evolution and stem cell research by voters who understand neither. This paper will discuss the relationship between science and religious illiteracy and suggest solutions to the problem.

Back to Top


Number: 105.

Title of Paper Proposal: Mama Day: A "downhome” Blues Song That Sows and Reaps

Core text discussed: Mama Day, Gloria Naylor

Date Submitted: 12-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The use of proverbs in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day reverberates like the blues conjured up by Sw. Anand Prahlad’s 1996 scholarly analysis of adages (African Proverbs in Context). This essay uses Prahlad’s arguments to contextually analyze proverbs either used or alluded to in Mama Day, and to explore the novel’s explication of additional folkloric themes. In Mama Day, Naylor also uses stream of consciousness prose, inner-directed dialogue, and folk traditions of ritual, lore, legend, magic, and myth. The selection of the well-known proverbs “when chickens come home to roost” and “you shall sow what you reap,” places the main character Mama Day, the matriarchal leader and conjure woman of Willow Springs, in a literary milieu that elucidates the power of such wise sayings to recall ancestral roots and bell hooks’ “Homeplaces”, where the blues were born.

Back to Top


Number: 104.

Title of Paper Proposal: Engaging ecology, worlds and hyper worlds of G E Hutchinson

Core text discussed: G. E. Hutchinson, “Homage to Santa Rosalia, or Why Are There So Many Kinds of Animals?” And “Concluding Remarks, Cold Spring Harbor Symposium…”

Date Submitted: 12-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
G. E. Hutchinson’s symposium addresses from 1958 and 1959 are core texts in modern ecology. His reflections on the ecological niche, the diversity of species in natural communities, food chains and the question of community stability are woven into a fabric of empirical and theoretical, even metaphysical inquiry. A recurrent theme is the central role of competition among species in ecology and evolution. Reading these papers, students can experience the intellectual stimulation that inspired a generation or more of ecologists to build on his ideas and to test them in the field.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Engaging the Natural World: Core Texts and Cultural Contexts in Ecology

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
What core texts can give our students a framework for understanding environmental issues? Although the Rule of St. Benedict (circa 500 AD) addresses sustainability and care for tools, the environmentalists’ imperative to care for all creation is perhaps a truly modern concept. Despite a prominent role in today’s headlines, ecology remains a discipline in search of its core texts. The question of what we know about the living world as a whole and how we know it is central to contemporary debates about stewardship. Popular books being one of the main ways people come to know ecology, a discussion of their role in teaching undergraduates is needed as well. This panel includes perspectives on this problem from the scientific to the spiritual interpretation of humans’ relationship to nature.

Back to Top


Number: 103.

Title of Paper Proposal: Are there natural duties? The problem of moral obligation in Locke's Second Treatise

Core text discussed: Locke's Second Treatise of Goverment

Date Submitted: 12-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Locke's account of human beings as self-owners in the state of nature raises the question of whether there are moral duties which exist by nature, or whether these only arise under the social contract. For Americans this question took on real political significance during the slavery crisis. Today the debate centers on the validity of Leo Strauss's controversial interpretation of Locke in Natural Right and History. If America is a "Lockean" polity, the question of moral obligation in Locke's account bears on our self-understanding as a democratic society.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Frank Rohmer panel on Natural Right, Natural Law and Human Freedom

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Please see description provided by Frank Rohmer.

Back to Top


Number: 102.

Title of Paper Proposal: Blind and Beggarly Eros in Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"

Core text discussed: Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"

Date Submitted: 12-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" may be read as the story of human eros, alienated in a world bereft of the cultural means to mediate its deeper longings. In this presentation I consider the character of the blind beggar, whose background appearance toward the end of the novel serves as a prophetic voice, chiding Emma in her desperate attempt at erotic satisfaction. I suggest that the blind beggar reveals Emma's erotic condition: as human desire, qualified by infinite want, projects itself into a world lacking the means for self-understanding, it remains blind to itself.

Back to Top


Number: 101.

Title of Paper Proposal: What Hath "White Tiger" to do with Waco?

Core text discussed: "White Tiger" (by Aravind Adiga)

Date Submitted: 12-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Will discuss whether novels - particularly those in English - are universal or unique to a particular culture. (Is "White Tiger" an Indian novel, an Anglo-Indian novel, or something else?) Will comment on the contributions novels from non-English cultures can make to the core text program of a distinctly Texan institution such as Baylor University.

Back to Top


Number: 100.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Ethics of Natural Selection: From the Dao to Darwin

Core text discussed: The Daojeling, Origin of Species, Utopia, The World Without Us

Date Submitted: 12-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper proposes that ethical living is a part of both natural selection and adaptation. Even in disutopias, those who develop a community based on moral enhancement, stand a better chance of flourishing. To coin Herbert Spencer's phrase, survival of the fittest means that one has to develop a sense of right and wrong in order to be fit enough to survive. This paper will use examples from these 4 texts in our Mosaic program to make this argument along with explaining how this can be taught to our students.

Back to Top


Number: 99.

Title of Paper Proposal: Reading in the Dark: Teaching a novel of fragmented culture in Hanover College's fragmented core.

Core text discussed: Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane.

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper explores the pedagogical possibilities of teaching a coming of age novel set in strife-ridden Northern Ireland to coming of age students in Hanover College's strife-ridden core.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Core Texts and Cultural Journeys

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
This panel will explore several of the questions posed by the essay describing the conference theme by discussing the use of texts that explore blended and fragmented cultures in similarly blended and fragmented "classroom" contexts. Specifically, the panel will briefly describe the pros and cons of the pedagogical approaches taken in the varied contexts in which the panel members teach core texts; discuss what happens when cultures are blended either in the texts themselves or in the institutional/classroom contexts; and share the hopes we have for our students as they go into the a culturally complex world.

Back to Top


Number: 98.

Title of Paper Proposal: Conscience, Culture, and Moral Rules in Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Core text discussed: Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In this paper I will explore the tension that exists in Adam Smith’s moral thought between our natural capacity to make moral judgments and the general rules that we develop to overcome the biases in these judgments. I will argue that Smith offers an alternative to the Kantian perspective that stresses the universal applicability of moral rules that transcend human cultures. Through his discussion of duty and the passions, Smith acknowledges the claims of both conscience and culture in the moral life of the individual.

Back to Top


Number: 97.

Title of Paper Proposal: Machiavelli as Teacher: Teaching Readers to Read and Conspirators to Conspire

Core text discussed: Machiavelli's <i>Discourses on Livy</i>

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The intention Machiavelli gives for writing the <i>Discourses on Livy</i> seems to be a noble one: he states in his Preface that he will teach readers to read. No one imitates the deeds of the ancients, he says, because they have not learned to read histories correctly, and so do not understand that such imitation is neither difficult nor impossible. When readers understand that Machiavelli is not simply a neutral observer of Livy's historiography, they will understand that Machiavelli is himself creating a text that should be read as an instruction on how to imitate what it contains. This paper will examine the argument Machiavelli has subtly woven into his text regarding his "new modes and orders," to determine if his <i>Discourses</i> is simply an instruction on how to better engage what we may call the core texts, or if this text of texts is also an instruction on how to undertake any action -- even the boldest conspiracy -- so that it would be impossible for it to fail.

Back to Top


Number: 96.

Title of Paper Proposal: Cellular Diversity: A Biology Course Based in Core Texts

Core text discussed: The Lives of a Cell (Lewis Thomas), Darwin, Lynn Margulis

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Most general biology texts misrepresent the ideas of Margulis’ serial endosymbiotic hypothesis. Using primary literature or core texts including Lynn Margulis’ serial endosymbiotic hypothesis, selections from Lewis Thomas’ The Lives of a Cell, excerpts from Darwin’s Origin of Species and other sources, students investigate, discuss and construct a fuller, broader understanding of the foundational principles of the biological sciences. The ultimate goal is to get them to examine life not from an anthropomorphic view, but from one where life is understood from the perspective of a diversity of cellular life through reading, writing, speaking and thinking about current ideas in the biological sciences through core texts.

Back to Top


Number: 95.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Entirely of that World": Teaching the Greek Neo-Platonists as Core Texts

Core text discussed: Plotinus' Enneads, and some other texts under its influence

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The writings of Plotinus (204-270 CE) and his so-called "Neoplatonic" followers have for centuries served as core texts in the Western tradition. However, they pose difficult interpretive problems, especially in light of growing contemporary scholarship. First, with exactly what worlds do these texts engage us? In teaching this tradition, will one accept the influential opinion of E.R. Dodds, that the thought of Plotinus is a pure development within the classical Greek tradition, firmly grounded in a reading of Plato and Aristotle? Or will one follow scholars like Hegel, Brehier, and Heidegger, who assume the influence of Semitic or Indian thought? Much more importantly, how is one to approach the intelligible "world" that the Greek Neoplatonic texts mapped out in such rigorous detail, and that was to be so influential for more than a millennium in Christian, Islamic and Jewish thinking? This paper will focus especially on this last question, attempting to discern some important distinctions within Greek Neoplatonic texts on the relation between the sensible and intelligible worlds, and then considering the significance of studying this tradition for an understanding of the later religious worlds that depend upon it.

Back to Top


Number: 94.

Title of Paper Proposal: Translation and Intertextuality: Robert Fagles' Borrowings from W. B. Yeats

Core text discussed: Homer, The Iliad; Yeats's poems

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Robert Fagles, whose translations of the epics of Homer and Virgil and of the tragedies of Sophocles are the standard texts in the core courses at Southern Virginia University, shows how modern poetic idioms can (and perhaps must) revivify the language of the ancient epic poet. Fagles, an excellent poet in his own right, not only draws upon his own muscular verse, but conspicuously borrows from the modern poet who most embraces the poetic temperament of the ancient Greeks: William Butler Yeats. In particular, Fagles borrows from Yeats's "Easter 1916," taking the powerful refrain, "a terrible beauty is born," and placing it in the mouths of the old men of Troy who catch sight of Helen as she views the heroes preparing for battle. While there are so many fascinating considerations in Fagles’ choice, including Yeats’s own image of his beloved, Maud Gonne, in the figure of Helen of Troy, my paper will focus on the cultural implications in a translation that establishes a unique kind of intertextuality, layering the ancient and modern, the remote and the accessible.

Back to Top


Number: 93.

Title of Paper Proposal: Cultural Remoteness and the Poetic Bridge: Latin American Core Texts and Educating Through Internationalism

Core text discussed: Pablo Neruda's poetry

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A reoccurring theme in twentieth century Latin American literature is that of solitude and cultural remoteness. The three most recent Latin American Nobel laureates—Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Octavio Paz—all battle with a consciousness of being separate, with a certain divided condition that is at once deeply human and specific to their continent. Yet, Pablo Neruda, in his Nobel lecture, suggests that "there is no unassailable solitude. All roads lead to the same point: to the communication of who we are." After a brief review of the Nobel speeches of Neruda, Garcia Márquez and Paz as a way of introducing the theme of solitude in Latin American literature, I will briefly examine the poetry of Neruda as an attempt to overcome the severe geographic, historical and economic separations of Latin America and his effort to bridge cultural remoteness with poetry. The paper ends with the case of a preparatory school that embraces, at once, international-mindedness (including global field experiences) a paideia replete with core texts; the paper explores how core texts in a secondary education setting not only help young scholars bridge cultural isolationism but also serve as a foundation for students to become citizens of the world.

Back to Top


Number: 92.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Affects, Character and Engaging Perspectives in Friedrich Nietzsche's `Beyond Good and Evil'"

Core text discussed: Beyond Good and Evil, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil" is tied together by two hypotheses on "that ancient and venerable soul-hypothesis" and will to power, which are introduced in the first chapters of the book and which reappear periodically throughout the book. These hypotheses establish the importance of the affective constitution of ourselves to the perspectives or worldviews we have. Moralities, as signs of the affects, are only one type of perspective, while disciplines and worldviews, such as history and skepticism, constitute perspectivalism in a broader sense. Nietzsche's aphorisms emotionally provoke readers and students, to move through diverse perspectives of the latter type, and thereby to engage in an interdisciplinary sense of philosophy.

Back to Top


Number: 91.

Title of Paper Proposal: The theme of emancipation of the African woman in Une si longue lettre by Mariama Bâ

Core text discussed: Une si longue lettre (So Long a Letter)

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In 1979, Mariama Bâ, a Senegalese writer, published one of the first novels to bring to the world’s attention the plight of the Islamic African woman. Une si longue lettre (So Long a Letter) is an epistolary novel in which Bâ exposes the woman’s perspective on polygamy, the family unit and the nation. The book is partially autobiographical, but has resonated throughout Africa with women who see their role in the 20th and 21st centuries as less subservient, more assertive and politically active. One year after its publication, this short work was awarded the prestigious Japanese Noma Prize for Literature, and it has been called by Francis Abiola Irele, visiting Professor of African and African-American Studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, “the most deeply felt presentation of the female condition in African fiction.”

Back to Top


Number: 90.

Title of Paper Proposal: A Journey to Self: A Psychological Analysis of Fauset’s “Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral"

Core text discussed: Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral is a 1929 coming of age story of Angela Murray, a light-skinned African American woman who, bowed by the pressures of racism, forsakes her African American family and heritage to “pass for white.” A superficial examination of this work suggest that Fauset’s piece is yet another trite retelling of the story of the “tragic mulatto.” However a deeper analysis of this work highlights the growth of the protagonist from a fragile psyche initially shaped by the moral and social mores of the day, to a maturing character with a renewed sense of self who comes to accept herself and her place in the larger society. Students may bristle at the seemingly outdated pastime of “passing” and question the relevance of this text to the field of psychology. This paper provides a critical analysis of Fauset’s work in light of the relevant psychological theories of Freud, Jung, Adler, Kenneth Clark, among others, in so doing, demonstrating the timeless relevance of this core text to the study of Psychology.

Back to Top


Number: 89.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Use of Ironic Humor in Don Quixote

Core text discussed: Don Quixote

Date Submitted: 12-28-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
For centuries, most readers have considered Don Quixote a comic novel, plain and simple. They take literally Cervantes’ claim that his purpose in writing Don Quixote was to poke fun at the popular chivalric romances. Even today some readers agree with this characterization of the novel as amusing, and void of tragic overtones or serious social, political, historical or religious criticism of the Spain of the 1600s. We cannot deny the humor implicit and embedded throughout the novel, but we cannot be blind to the above-mentioned censored criticism of the Spanish society of the period. Twenty-first century readers who learn to recognize Don Quixote’s chivalric archaism gain an ability to appreciate a seemingly incidental comic level of parody, but they also can appreciate the very essence of his anachronistic concept of himself as a knight-errant.

Back to Top


Number: 88.

Title of Paper Proposal: “…He winces not”: Teaching The Souls of Black Folk at an HBCU

Core text discussed: The Souls of Black Folk

Date Submitted: 12-27-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
As Plato’s Republic (specifically the “Allegory of the Cave”) takes pride of place in the Western canon, W.E.B. Dubois’ 1903 The Souls of Black Folk is seminal for the African American one. All students at all institutions should, of course, read both. Both authors describe the role of education in enlightening souls; both see education as a steep and rugged path, suited only to that “tenth” of mankind “talented” enough to become “philosopher kings” (or, for Dubois, liberally educated men). The main difference in the two works is length and accessibility. The ancient Greek text is paradoxically easier for students to read in a reasonable English translation than Dubois’ erudite turn-of-the-century American prose. My title “He winces not” refers to the passage in which Dubois walks “arm in arm” with canonical Dead White Men of World Literature (including Plato—cf. “from out the caves of evening”) who all turn out to be color-blind: I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed earth and the tracery of the stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. (189) The problem is that university students – circa 2010 – will “wince” mightily at this highly allusive passage and the demands it makes on their reading comprehension. This paper suggests how to get students (and faculty members) to move “arm in arm” with Dubois into an appreciation of core texts.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Using Core Texts in Honors Education at a Historically Black University

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
I am assembling Honors faculty members from Norfolk State University to discuss their use of core texts in Honors teaching.

Back to Top


Number: 87.

Title of Paper Proposal: Dante's Psychology of Human Failing and Success

Core text discussed: Dante's Divine Comedy

Date Submitted: 12-27-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Dante's Divine Comedy implies a great deal about the workings of the human mind in failure and success. By comparing the portrayal of the souls in the three cantiche of Dante's poem, we can come to understand Dante's perception of human nature and psychology. Thinking about Dante's perception of humanity's nature can lead to fruitful discussion of our perceptions of human nature and psychology today.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Engaging Past Worlds: Medieval Texts as Core Texts for Today

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Medievalists often feel marginalized in the curriculum of most colleges and universities. The Middle Ages are often perceived as a dark time in European history, a time of little intellectual progress. This characterization owes much to the way in which Early Modern intellectuals characterized themselves and their immediate past. But the Middle Ages, despite its temporal and cultural distance from us, have much to offer a core curriculum in terms of core texts (e.g., Dante, Chaucer, the Gawain poet, Christine de Pizan, and many others).

Back to Top


Number: 86.

Title of Paper Proposal: Beauty's contexts: Symposium then and now

Core text discussed: Plato's "Symposium"

Date Submitted: 12-26-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Within the parade of encomia of Eros in Plato's Symposium, there is yet another tissue being woven: a presentation of beauty that has taken up threads of "what is said" about to kalon, reconfiguring these into what will finally appear as a philosophical concept. Thus, at a critical point in the development of philosophy, Plato's use of the dialogue form allows him to knit together the contexts of culture and theory in the nexus of "beauty" with some appearance of self-evidence. We know something about what this particular weave has meant for the tradition of philosophical aesthetics. Yet what does it say about those aesthetics as a form of cultural praxis? Here, I examine the challenge Symposium presents to thinking about discourses on beauty, both in and out of philosophy.

Back to Top


Number: 85.

Title of Paper Proposal: Core Texts in Mathematics: Richard Dedekind, Number and the Mind

Core text discussed: Richard Dedekind: "Continuity and Irrational Numbers"

Date Submitted: 12-26-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Richard Dedekind (1831-1916)is widely recognized as one of the greatest mathematicians of the nineteenth century. The issues addressed in Dedekind’s essay “Continuity and Irrational Numbers”(1872)were forced upon him by the seeming sharp distinctions between discrete quantities (numbers) and continuous quantities (magnitudes) handed down from the Greeks. These had led to inner mathematical tensions in algebra and in the differential and integral calculus. More important for the concerns of this conference, “Continuity and Irrational Numbers” was the result of Dedekind's work in the classroom, as he attempted to give an explicit, acceptable and unified account of rational and irrational numbers to his students. This text presents great problems for my students at St. John’s College partly, I argue, because of the shared discussion that has occurred over almost three school years of mathematics tutorials. Much of that discussion has been informed, necessarily, by Greek notions of mathematics and the assumption that individual numbers have a sort of essence and identity in themselves. Dedekind argues for a new treatment of number, in keeping with his belief that working with number is an “action of thought” comparable to reading. This claim truly makes Dedekind's work a core text of mathematics.

Back to Top


Number: 84.

Title of Paper Proposal: A Paideia for the Millennialists: King Lear Engages The Next Great Generation

Core text discussed: King Lear

Date Submitted: 12-24-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A good deal of recent social science research discusses the values and world view of the millennialists, a group often characterized as the ‘the next great generation.’ These students as a generation are driven to succeed by the rules, service-oriented, driven by compassion, diverse, socially attuned, technologically adept, and deeply optimistic. The world presented to them in King Lear represents the photographic negative, in many ways, to their worldview. They can find the tragic contexts of Lear as depicting a world in which every single value they hold is denied, reversed, or sharply modified. Yet even in such a world, they discover that the primary character can develop, change, and grow.

Back to Top


Number: 83.

Title of Paper Proposal: Compare & Contrast: Visual Texts in Art History Courses for the General Studies Curriculum

Core text discussed: Various (paintings, photographs)

Date Submitted: 12-24-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Using several comparisons of key works of art, I will demonstrate how carefully chosen images can enhance student discussion in classes that focus on works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries. My general studies courses include 'American Art & Culture,' '19th Century Art,' 'Art of New Jersey,' and 'The History of Photography.' Some of the examples I will use are universally considered 'Top 40' works of art and part of the Western canon: David’s 'Oath of the Horatii' and Delacroix’s 'Death of Sardanapalus,' for example. Other examples, especially those in 'History of Photography' and my self-designed course 'Art of New Jersey,' might be considered 'accidental core texts,' in the words of another member of this panel. My paper explores the 2010 conference theme in terms of multicultural and historical production of art, the engagement of students in classroom discussion, and students' enhanced awareness of the world around them.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Engaging Core Texts and Cultural Contexts in a Stand-alone General Studies Curriculum

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Faculty from various disciplines will present papers on their use of core texts in Stockton's unique general studies curriculum.

Back to Top


Number: 82.

Title of Paper Proposal: Intuition and Pascal's "Generation of Conic Sections"

Core text discussed: Blaise Pascal's "Generation of Conic Sections"

Date Submitted: 12-24-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A hallmark of core texts is their function as the lexicon of great ideas. In a way that no ordinary dictionary can, core texts give content to difficult but important concepts like 'justice', 'goodness', 'beauty', 'rights', 'causation', 'person', 'nature', 'God', and so forth. This paper shows how a little unpublished work by Pascal gives content to the confusing idea of 'intuition' or 'insight'.

Back to Top


Number: 81.

Title of Paper Proposal: Turgenev's Fathers and Sons: An Essay on Science, Social Activism, Love, and Happiness

Core text discussed: Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons (Children)

Date Submitted: 12-24-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Russian social life in the middle of the 19th century was split by a generational and class conflict over the relative value of religious, humanist, and scientific worldviews. Turgenev’s novel shows two returning students who first break with their parents under the influence of their new education and then realize the abiding realities of life. Close reading of his text opens up fundamental questions about human character, love, duty, art, happiness, and the presence or absence of meaning in life itself. American students who study this text in a core course experience the strange familiarity of this Russian imagining of the world.

Back to Top


Number: 80.

Title of Paper Proposal: Teaching Douglass as a Master Rhetorician

Core text discussed: Autobiography of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

Date Submitted: 12-23-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
While Frederick Douglass was embraced by supporters as a "representative Negro in America," Douglass understood that rhetoric is largely a matter of performance and persuasion; his language must capture his readers as well as convince them of his truthfulness. He would be frank and delicate; candid and cagey. He would speak from two positions simultaneously: as an uneducated slave and as an educated gentleman who understood the complex attitudes of his audience: curious, prurient, skeptical, horrified, and admiring. How does one teach Douglass as a rhetorician who studied well the lessons in The Columbian Orator without suggesting that his experiences as a slave were less than truthful?

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: African American Core Texts as Texts not Tokens

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
From Frederick Douglass's Autobiography to Zora Neale Hurston's *Their Eyes Are Watching God* to *Push,* by Sapphire, certain African-American texts regularly appear on lists of core texts. However, unlike core "white" texts, these African American works are taught less as texts than as works that reveal to white students the "truth" of the African American experience. Unlike Bronte's Jane (Eyre), Hurston's Janie is not a fictional character but a representative black woman in Florida whose struggle mirrors the struggle of black women everywhere of that era. How should teachers of African American core texts address this problem? How can courses emphasize the fictionality of these works of literature without evacuating the texts of their cultural power?

Back to Top


Number: 79.

Title of Paper Proposal: If you can read only one Enlightenment text with your students, what should it be? A case for Pope's *Essay on Man.*

Core text discussed: Pope, *Essay on Man*

Date Submitted: 12-23-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
To decide which Core texts students ought to read is one thing; to select the ones that they actually will read is entirely another. At Champlain College, students' exposure to the Enlightenment comes in "Aesthetic Expressions," a Core course that surveys Western art, literature, and music from the Middle Ages to the Romantic era, and its pace is such that sustained attention to only one work of 18th-century literature is possible. This paper will set forth the theoretical and practical considerations that led me, and that might prompt others who find themselves in similar pedagogocal situations, to choose Pope's *Essay on Man.*

Back to Top


Number: 78.

Title of Paper Proposal: Teaching Students About Evil and Politics

Core text discussed: Night by Elie Wiesel

Date Submitted: 12-23-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper will begin with a brief description of one course taught at Lynchburg College that aims to engage students in answering the question posed by the panel, but will focus on the use of the core text Night by Elie Wiesel to advance this goal. Genocide is a political situation that most everyone feels comfortable describing as evil, so the course uses two case studies of genocide in the 20th century, the attempted destruction of European Jewry in Poland during the 1940s and the mass murder of Tutsis in Rwanda during 1994, as the basis for the semester’s work. Using readings from both victims and killers students are encouraged through a variety of assignments to look for patterns that help to answer the following questions: How do we know when we are dealing with evil in our midst? What is the impact of evil on our political interactions? And, what are the best ways to deal with evil in our midst? This paper will discuss in detail the answers to these questions that come from the reading of Wiesel’s Night.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Teaching About Evil

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
In his Nobel acceptance speech on December 10th, President Obama stated firmly: “. . . make no mistake: evil does exist in the world.” And no matter what they came to think of his ‘axis of evil” policies, very few Americans disagreed with President Bush on the night of 9/11 when he told us: “Today, our nation saw evil.” The use of the term “evil” by Presidents of the United States when the whole world is listening suggests a near universal acceptance on the existence of evil in the world. If we accept the existence of such a phenomenon, and leave the debate over the root of evil to the theologians, then political scientists are left to answer: what is the impact of evil on the collective actions of humans in the political realm?

Back to Top


Number: 77.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Value of Core Texts in Science Education

Core text discussed: See sentence below

Date Submitted: 12-23-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Selected passages from Core Texts can enrich the teaching of science in numerous and at times unpredictable ways. Whether the text is Lucretius De Rerum Natura, Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus, Galileo’s Two New Sciences, Newton’s Optics, or Darwin’s Origins, they can deepen our understanding of science and its methodology through a historical and social context. Core texts invite class discussion that can improve attitudes and rekindle interest in science, especially in students who are non-scientists. Examples of selected passages and how they are integrated in science courses for art majors will be presented.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Science and Religion: Foes or Allies.

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
This panel will examine moments of conflict and moments of great alliance between science and religion in history using core texts and case studies. This historical examination will then enable the panel to explore the reasons causing the current conflict between science and religion, what drives these conflicts and most importantly how these can be resolved. The panel discussion can also become a showpiece, a pedagogical example and an exercise in critical thinking. When repeated in a classroom setting this experience becomes an effective way of educating students about ways of thinking.

Back to Top


Number: 76.

Title of Paper Proposal: Using fiction and nonfiction by Barbara Kingsolver to help students think across disciplines

Core text discussed: Kingsolver Prodigal Summer and Barbara Kingsolver "Setting Free the Crabs."

Date Submitted: 12-23-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
I teach an interdisciplinary upper level general studies course on environmental rhetoric. One goal of the course is to look at differences among genres, like the strengths and weaknesses and the rhetorical potentials of nonfiction and fiction. Texts that I’ve found useful in these efforts include the combination of Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer and her nonfiction essay, "Setting Free the Crabs." Both pieces deal with similar scientific issues--the critical role of a predator compared to prey, for instance—and both engage readers in part by juxtaposing cultural context, but their rhetoric is very different, and some students respond better to one than the other. Analyzing the similarities and differences helps students understand the roles of nonfiction and fiction in communicating scientific ideas, thereby meeting one of the goals of my college’s capstone general studies course, helping students think across disciplines.

Back to Top


Number: 75.

Title of Paper Proposal: The tradition of the thought experiment and the new science of ecology.

Core text discussed: HAIRSTON, N.G.; SMITH, F.E. & SLOBODKIN, L.B. 1960. Community structure, population control, and competition. American Naturalist, 94: 421-425

Date Submitted: 12-23-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Ecology as a formal discipline has emerged only relatively recently. Does this imply that the methodologies used by ecologists are in some way different than those of other sciences or is it simply the questions that differ? This paper addresses the use of the thought experiment in ecology and the specific question of ‘why the world is green?

Back to Top


Number: 74.

Title of Paper Proposal: Robert Zaretsky, "Thucydides and Camus: History in a Tragic Key"; David Mikics, "Genesis and Thucydides: Eros and the City"

Core text discussed: Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War

Date Submitted: 12-23-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Much has been written about The Plague as a tale of war, occupation and resistance. But while most commentaries acknowledge the novel’s particular debt to Thucydides’ account of the plague in Athens, they overlook a number of critical parallels to the History of the Peloponnesian War. The aim of this paper is to suggest a number of other concerns shared by Thucydides and Camus: the necessity of “eye-knowledge”, the moral imperative of simple language and the privileged perspective of the “exiled” writer. Perhaps most important, the paper shall point to the common recognition by both writers of the tragic character to history. Both Genesis (in its portrait of Pharaoh's/ Joseph's Egypt) and Thucydides, in his picture of Athens, present cities that show the connection between desire, violence and self-deceptive aggrandizement; in Egypt as in Athens, sophistication and centralization are paired with a tendency to repress contrasting virtues that (these narratives imply) may also be necessary. Different sorts of virtues may not be compatible: Athens and Sparta, Israel and Egypt might well form eternal contrasts. These books, then, can be seen as ways of reflecting on the nature and purpose of cross-cultural comparison.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Thucydides in Dialogue

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Thucydides benefits from consideration along with other texts, ancient and modern, in a core course. His emphasis on the place of skeptical realism, on honest and direct language, and on the connection between political desire and the potential for historical tragedy, makes him an important influence Camus's _The Plague_. In addition, Thucydides presents a reflection on how eros and rhetoric sustain one another in political life. In this respect, his _History_ benefits from consideration alongside a book with a very different "feel," Genesis. The desires of the city are conveyed in a contrasting style in these two books, but in both, they seem dangerous and alluring--both liberating and constraining.

Back to Top


Number: 73.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Unity of the Good in Aristotle

Core text discussed: Nicomachean Ethics

Date Submitted: 12-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Since virtue, for Aristotle, aims at a mean relative to us, virtue requires different things of different people in different circumstances. Despite this concern for the difference made by the specific context in which one acts, Aristotle defines the good life for a human being in light of human nature, a standard that transcends context. The Ethics thus raises the question of how a commitment to an objective truth about the human good can be compatible with sensitivity to the particulars of a given situation. Through understanding how Aristotle negotiates this tension, we can understand how an ethics rooted in nature provides a middle way between a relativism that claims we are free to choose the values we want and a rigid law that ignores the complexity of real human action.

Back to Top


Number: 72.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Problem with Engaging Worlds: E. M. Forster's Suspicion of Culture

Core text discussed: Forster's A Passage to India

Date Submitted: 12-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India is, to borrow a phrase from one of his contemporaries, a voyage out, an Englishman’s encounter with a non-European world that continually forces the writer and his characters beyond their familiar range of knowledge and experience. Thus it seems fair to say that engaging different worlds and cultures, as well as the frameworks through which one might view them, is the explicit subject of Forster’s novel, and his exploration of this encounter and critique of these frameworks will be central to my own presentation as well. What I would like to examine more particularly, however, is Forster’s suspicion of the very idea of culture as a privileged means for organizing experience, because for Forster the path to understanding the world beyond ourselves is not cultural or political but personal. In his view, therefore, the question that ought to concern us most is not how we can engage other worlds and cultures but how we might connect to other persons—whether, as the novel puts it, ‘an Englishman and an Indian can be friends”; by tying together the novel’s more abstract questions about knowledge, identity, and Western thought to the idea of friendship and intimacy, the novel provides a point of connection between our students everyday lives and our attempts to make them consider those lives in thoughtful and productive ways.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: The Limits of Reason and the Problem of Culture in E. M. Forster's A Passage to India

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
This panel focuses on E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India in dialogue with other core texts within the Western tradition. The novel fits well in “Great Books” courses because of its simultaneous artistic fulfillment of many aspects of the Western tradition and its questioning and moving beyond certain Western values. Through its focus on the friendship between an English and an Indian man, A Passage to India explores the limits and possibilities of Forster’s plea “only connect,” in the face of the inequalities of British Imperialist rule. The two papers on the panel both take this friendship as their central focus, one to show how it offers an antidote to Weber’s vision of rationality’s “disenchantment of the world,” and the other to show how the novel questions the very notion of cultural categories and offers an enlarged individualism of the heart in preference to even the most principled abstractions.

Back to Top


Number: 71.

Title of Paper Proposal: the accidental core text

Core text discussed: Virginia Woolf, "The Modern Essay"

Date Submitted: 12-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The reading in a writing course might be used in three ways: as a prompt for students' writing, as an example of exemplary writing, or as a piece of research for students to cite in their essays. I assigned Virginia Woolf's text in a first year writing course for a different reason; it presented an historical approach to the composition of the essay genre. I thought that exposing students to the history of essay writing forms could help them understand the (cultural/historical) nature and significance of the writing tasks they were asked to perform in the course. Quite unintentionally, the text became "core," however, because students found Woolf's text accessible and referred to it throughout the semester not only as a model of good writing but also as a guide for their own written productions. Consequently, I also used it to construct a basic grading rubric, one which followed her outline of what constitutes good writing. "The Modern Essay" helped us to create a shared vocabulary, thus simplifying what is oftentimes difficult learning for first year students.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Engaging Core Texts and Cultural Contexts in a Stand-alone General Studies Curriculum

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
please note: another panelist will provide this description

Back to Top


Number: 70.

Title of Paper Proposal: The (Ecclesiastical) Politics of the Wife of Bath

Core text discussed: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

Date Submitted: 12-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Most students of the Wife of Bath’s prologue and tale properly emphasize questions concerning Christianity, sexuality, and the relationship between men and women that are explored in it. This paper seeks to supplement such interpretations by focusing on the political dimension of this most colorful character of The Canterbury Tales. As we learn in Chaucer’s General Prologue, the Wife of Bath wears “on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.” It is useful to take seriously the possibility that her spurs suggest a quest for mastery that may well extend beyond the battle of the sexes. I will explore a reading of the Wife of Bath that approaches the female/male relationship as a window on the political-cultural situation of the church in Chaucer’s world (treating in turn: 1) her critique of sexual prudery; 2) her five husbands; 3) the tale she tells the rest of the company).

Back to Top


Number: 69.

Title of Paper Proposal: Negotiating Core Texts with Others

Core text discussed: Outcasts United (book on a group of immigrants who form a soccer team) & Unsustainable (political science book written for general public on current environmental crisis)

Date Submitted: 12-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This presentation describes two different attempts to reach consensus on a common reading that would reach across disciplines. The first scenario was as part of team of six professors teaching a Freshman Seminar, Environmental Citizenship and the second was as part of a panel delegated to select a book that would be distributed to all freshman. The presentation presents a description and analysis of the challenges in trying to construct a process that honors the insights and opinions of the participating groups about what constitutes a core text, what constitutes the most equitable way of constructing such a process, and the way in which this process mirrors the issues facing ACTC itself.

Back to Top


Number: 68.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Educational Value of two Different Worlds in Great Expectations

Core text discussed: Great Expectations

Date Submitted: 12-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens depicts Pip, the young boy whose innocent and simple world of the marshes and the forge clashes with the materialistic and corrupt world of Miss Havisham and Estella. In examining the different cultural worlds Pip enters along with the fairytale world he imagines with Estella, this paper argues that the dilemmas Pip experiences with economic and relationship uncertainty resonates well with students. Teaching Great Expectations as a liberal arts core text addresses a variety of educational topics, such as nature versus nurture, economics, interpersonal relationships, social commentaries, and literary techniques.

Back to Top


Number: 67.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Disenchantment of the West:: E.M. Forster and Max Weber on the Enlightenment Tradition

Core text discussed: A Passage to India and "Science as a Vocation

Date Submitted: 12-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
E.M. Forster’s novel A Passage to India and Max Weber’s essay “Science as a Vocation,” paired in a course entitled Modern Civilization, together represent an early 20th century response to the Enlightenment tradition the course has explored up to that point. Weber and Forster provide both an affirmation and a critique of the triumph of reason, Weber by showing the psychic costs of the “disenchantment of the world,” and Forster by showing the limits of rational individualism to developing an understanding of Hindu and Muslim cultures and becoming a truly moral citizen. In my paper, I argue that these Modernist thinkers’ meditations on the limits of the traditions they have inherited encourage engagement with new ways of approaching a universe that is “wider than our views of it”; I argue that while Weber and Forster are both seemingly pessimistic about the possibilities of overcoming the inadequacies imposed upon them by their culture, they do, nevertheless, entertain ways out of the dilemmas they so persuasively articulate. Forster, especially, offers an enactment of what might make an expansion of the rational western mind possible; through the story of Aziz and Fielding’s failed friendship, he explores “different ways of being a man,” and shows that “speaking what is deepest in [one’s] heart” is a real alternative to the “iron cage” of rationality that Weber so decries.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: The Limits of Reason and the Problem of Culture in E. M. Forster's A Passage to India

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
This panel focuses on E. M. Forster's A Passage to India in dialogue with other core texts within the Western tradition. The novel fits well in "Great Books" courses because of its simultaneous artistic fulfillment of many aspects of the Western tradition and its questioning and moving beyond certain Western values. Through its focus on the friendship between an English and an Indian man, A Passage to India explores the limits and possibilities of Forster's plea "only connect," in the face of the inequalities of British Imperialist rule. The two papers on the panel both take this friendship as their central focus, one to show how it offers an antidote to Weber's vision of rationality's "disenchantment of the world," and the other to show how the novel questions the very notion of cultural categories and offers an enlarged individualism of the heart in preference to even the most principled abstractions.

Back to Top


Number: 66.

Title of Paper Proposal: In Dialogue with Nature: the first core text science course in The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Core text discussed: Erwin Schrödinger: "Mind and Matter"

Date Submitted: 12-21-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
There has been dialogue between man and Nature since centuries ago when the great minds began to understand and reflect on their place in Nature. A core text science course taught in small groups, as one component of the general education foundation programme composed of a science and a humanity courses, has recently been introduced in The Chinese University of Hong Kong to offer an opportunity for students to engage in this dialogue and formulate their own views. In this paper, we shall report on the piloting of the course and illustrate how scientific ideas such as natural selection contribute to our reflection on human values and social issues like division of labour and welfare system with the classic science text, Mind and Matter, written by Erwin Schrödinger, a founder of quantum theory. Difficulties encountered and suggested improvements for the course will also be presented.

Back to Top


Number: 65.

Title of Paper Proposal: Heart Sutra at Heart of Dialogue with Humanity

Core text discussed: The Heart Sutra

Date Submitted: 12-21-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Heart Sutra at Heart of Dialogue with Humanity —Connecting a Buddhist Text with Other Religious Texts and (Political) Philosophical Doctrines The Heart Sutra, only 260 characters in length in its most popular Chinese translation, is but one of twelve core texts in the syllabus for “In Dialogue with Humanity,” yet with its concepts of “no-self” and “emptiness,” it finds itself at the “heart” of the course. Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius and Zhuangzi propose how the human “self” can be perfected, fulfilled, and expanded; the Hebrew Bible and the Koran relate how the human “self” should be humbled, God-fearing, and contained; Rousseau and Smith see self-preservation and self-interest as the necessary basis of sovereignty and economy. But The Heart Sutra argues that there is “no-self,” and thereby provides an inspiring counterpoint or challenge to all of the above propositions; it also expounds such concepts as “emptiness” and “dependent origination,” which find echoes in Smith’s exposition of division of labor and Zhuangzi’s vision of man’s union with nature. The proposed paper will focus on how The Heart Sutra can be taught in the context of a core text course where the meaning of the sutra is drawn out not by putting it back in the long history of Buddhism or the complex system of Buddhist philosophy, but by encouraging students to make connection between it and other core texts in terms of “humanity”—what is the quintessential nature of man according to each text and how does such an assumption lead to a unique vision of desirable personal life and social system?

Back to Top


Number: 64.

Title of Paper Proposal: Byron's Vision of a World Without Cultural Context: the Metaphysics of Farewell

Core text discussed: Byron's shorter poems

Date Submitted: 12-21-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The core of Lord Byron’s shorter poems—including such lyrics as “Fare Thee Well,” “So We’ll Go No More a’ Roving,” Stanzas to Augusta,” and “Darkness”—imply a post-Christian and post-Enlightenment metaphysics which anticipated Nietzsche’s. The postulate is that there is no supernatural reality—neither God nor immortal soul—and therefore mortality and mutability are both existential phenomena and spiritual noumena. It follows that every moment is a moment of farewell—to an experience, a place, a person who will never be the same as at this moment again. The repeated postures of farewell in Byron’s poetry have an unusually powerful poignancy and iconic insistence because they are imbued with this meaning, but, as in Nietzsche’s thought, the poems move beyond nihilism or the “tyranny of fate” through the creative act of the free spirit, as in the poem “Prometheus.”

Back to Top


Number: 63.

Title of Paper Proposal: After the Tower of Babel: Reassembling Mankind

Core text discussed: Genesis

Date Submitted: 12-21-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The story of the Tower of Babel is one of separation. The film "Babel" (Inarritu, 2006) serves as a corrective to the ancient story of the Tower of Babel; unlike Genesis, it insists on unity rather than dispersion. It is a modern parable situating man's fall in political overreaching, but while the film's plot unfolds in four separate countries, it is bound together by multiple interconnected narratives. Ultimately, it teaches students that although we have the ability to reassemble geographically through high-speed transportation, or use a computer program to translate confused tongues, we must learn what it means to reassemble mankind.

Back to Top


Number: 62.

Title of Paper Proposal: Yes, you can love Jane Eyre

Core text discussed: Jane Eyre

Date Submitted: 12-20-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This essay will discuss strategies for teaching Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, by drawing comparisons with Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Clearly, students will recognize the Bildungsroman and the heroine’s quest for self definition that are common between Bronte’s and Hurston’s works. When the students discover how Janie Crawford actually succeeds Jane Eyre in finding her own voice and independence, they will see how Hurston was not only influenced by Bronte, but in fact transformed her heroine into a more positive role model for women. Upon close examination of the conclusions of both novels, the students will understand the significance of Janie’s declaration “Ah done been to the horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by comparisons . . . . It’s uh known fact, Pheoby, you got tuh go there tuh know there.” Of greater significance will be the realization that we must go there and know there if we are to understand the here and now.

Back to Top


Number: 61.

Title of Paper Proposal: Rousseau's Critique of Cosmopolitanism

Core text discussed: Julie ou La Nouvelle Heloise

Date Submitted: 12-20-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Most people look to Rousseau's First Discouese for his criticisms of cosmopolianism but in his famous novel Julie he devotes his most extensive discussion of Paris. Paris is the example of cosmopolitanism and reveals the problem of replacing country, religion and family with reason and the theater. Rousseau argues that cosmopolitanism constitutes of a new kind of tyranny--one of pleasure--by which men loose their freedom to women and through which both sexes are morally and intellectually degraded.

Back to Top


Number: 60.

Title of Paper Proposal: Kant, Goethe, Emerson, and the Limits of Understanding

Core text discussed: Goethe's "Erlkonig" and Emerson's "Poet"

Date Submitted: 12-18-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
What can humans know? Can art see beyond the limits of reason? A consideration of Kantian epistemology, Goethe's "Erlkonig," and Emerson's "Poet" set up an open-ended discussion of the the boundaries of human knowledge in a course devoted to an inquiry into the western artistic tradition.

Back to Top


Number: 59.

Title of Paper Proposal: Teaching Critical Thinking by Reconstructing Descartes Meditations

Core text discussed: Descartes Meditations

Date Submitted: 12-18-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
"I think therefore I am" is one of the foundational arguments in philosophy, starting not only Idealism but also igniting the mind/body problem. A well educated student in the Liberal Arts should have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Descartes' main argument. To that end, the students first take apart Descartes' argument into premises and conclusions, provide hidden premises, and then reconstruct the argument until it is in its strongest state. This exercise shines a bright light on the "skeleton" of the argument, which more clearly exposes holes and provides a pathway for a well grounded critique. Argument fallacies are covered in conjunction with the reconstruction and critique.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Teaching Critical Thinking

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
An examination and discussion of different ways of teaching critical thinking. Ideally, a cross-disciplinary approach to teaching critical thinking could be formulated so that students could easily transfer skills and techniques from one class to another.

Back to Top


Number: 58.

Title of Paper Proposal: Tragedy, Evil, and Politics: Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History

Core text discussed: Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

Date Submitted: 12-18-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Reinhold Niebuhr, arguably the most politically influential American theologian of the twentieth century, contended for a “Christian realism” that took seriously the presence of evil in human nature and in politics. This paper shows how Niebuhr in his book, The Irony of American History, connects the experience of tragedy to the human capacity for evil. Nevertheless, he finds ‘irony’ rather than ‘tragedy’ as finally the more appropriate lens to use in the interpretation of history and politics. Supported by both faith and experience, irony affirms the goodness of existence and the possibility that one does not have to do evil that good may come.

Back to Top


Number: 57.

Title of Paper Proposal: Bayle and Enlightenment Views of China

Core text discussed: Pierre Bayle, Pensees Diverses sur la Comete

Date Submitted: 12-18-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In teaching Enlightenment views of China, a consideration of Bayle's Various Thoughts on the Comet is indispensable, particularly the thesis (suggested by Bayle himself) that Confucian China resembles the society of rational atheists outlined in Bayle's provocative work. But to what extent is such an application of Bayle's ideas to China merely an example of Enlightenment Eurocentrism rather than a genuine cross-cultural encounter? I would argue that the ultimate value of a Baylean conception of China lies in the debate it sparked over such applications of Bayle's work. In engaging Enlightenment views of China through Bayle and his critics, contemporary students of early modern thought should be asked not simply to dismiss Enlightenment views of China as parochial and outdated, but to reflect on the complexities that inevitably arise from any attempt at cross-cultural interpretation.

Back to Top


Number: 56.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Delta Autumm Engulfed: Faulkner's Culture Shock"

Core text discussed: Faulkner's Go Down, Moses

Date Submitted: 12-18-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Faulkner implanted, perhaps unconsciously, the key to interpreting the cultural conundrum that emasculates Isaac McCaslin in “Delta Autumn” and that has perplexed generations of readers. Faulkner portrays the dramatic visit of the nameless woman bearing the newborn descendant of the doomed McCaslin line in a visual trope that may not at first appear relevant to the Yoknapatawpha cosmos: the presentation of the madonna and child to various saints, but especially to St. Jerome, ubiquitous in Christian visual art from the middle ages through modernity. Unlike the static and limited relationship between culture and human experience repeatedly embodied by references to Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” the visualization of Marian Iconography wordlessly presents the possibility of fluid interaction between Ike’s inescapable world and its negative, which is invisible to him until the final epiphany. Ike’s posture of vulnerability in relation to the woman and his reaction of shock and ungentlemanly vituperation upon listening to her describe her choice in terms as measured and deliberate as his own confirm that Faulkner intended Ike’s anagnorisis to show not that he needed to redeem his culture but to be redeemed by precisely the culture he had abjured throughout his life.

Back to Top


Number: 55.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Detective and the Cave

Core text discussed: Murders in the Rue Morgue

Date Submitted: 12-17-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
I argue for a connection between the archetypal plot of the detective story (confusing illusion dispelled by a clear-eyed guardian) and Plato's myth of the cave. Poe's initial detective story illustrates all of the essential points, though I will refer to later adaptations of the myth. I will contrast this Western valoration of the individualist detective with the Chinese alternative of the sage.

Back to Top


Number: 54.

Title of Paper Proposal: Meantime: A Period of Worldlessness in Shakespeare's King Lear

Core text discussed: Shakespeare's King Lear

Date Submitted: 12-17-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
King Lear represents a moment of worldless transition between two theological epochs.

Back to Top


Number: 53.

Title of Paper Proposal: Modern environmental texts as central/core to campus conversation

Core text discussed: Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe and Michael Pollan’s Omnivore's Dilemma

Date Submitted: 12-17-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
As part of our University’s Years for the Environment effort, we’ve required all entering undergraduates to read Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2008) and Michael Pollan’s Omnivore's Dilemma (2009). We’ve also offered free copies to other students, to faculty and to staff, and facilitated a “campus conversation.” The texts proved very effective in multiple ways. We used them in our Writing Colloquium: Person in Community first-year seminar to discuss how the authors make convincing arguments and what responsibilities we have to each other in the various communities in which we live (two of the principal topics in the course). The open-ended (non-course based) campus conversation drew students, staff, faculty members and wider community members to interesting and enlightening conversations, which essentially never happen otherwise.

Back to Top


Number: 52.

Title of Paper Proposal: Silko's Ceremony as a Core Text: Natural and Unnatural Worlds

Core text discussed: Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony

Date Submitted: 12-17-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In a new environmental course that covered a great deal of ground, everything from Thoreau’s Walden to Sandra Steingraber’s Living Downstream, Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony played a key role in the discussion of ecology and was successful with students. Many of the texts could best be described as science writing for a general audience; other pieces fell under the category of nature writing; this novel, while not directly alluding to environmental issues, provided one of the best bases for examining the cultural underpinnings of our attitudes towards the environment, in part because of the contrast between Western and Native American (Laguna) poetry, metaphors, and stories. I would advocate for Ceremony as an excellent new core text in environmental literature, as well as in more general core courses. In keeping with the conference theme, Ceremony constructs a world for us—one often hidden from non-Native Americans—in which the ecological destructiveness of the twentieth century is played out and remediated. Reading it, students better understood the concept of Gaia and asked an important question: why does Western culture see nature as something outside of human nature?

Back to Top


Number: 51.

Title of Paper Proposal: Deerly Beloved: Into the Woods with Generation Y

Core text discussed: Life and Death of the Salt Marsh

Date Submitted: 12-17-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Many biology majors have distressingly little experience with the natural world. Using a method adapted from Benedictine spiritual practice, Ecology students chronicle weekly return visits to a particular natural site, and reflect on their experience at the end of the semester. In addition to the appreciating the discipline of sitting quietly alert and alone, they develop an awareness of their own growth in observational acuity.

Back to Top


Number: 50.

Title of Paper Proposal: John Clarke Murray on Human Dignity within the Context of Labour and Property Reform

Core text discussed: The Industrial Kingdom of God

Date Submitted: 12-16-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Property or wealth must be understood in terms of the obligations to the community to which property itself gives rise. Since the acquisition of property is enabled by the productive power of the community, and an individual’s efforts, skills and even his/her knowledge of the power of labour and acquisition may not bear fruit without the medium of opportunities which are provided by the community and only by the community, property or its possession should never be used to injure the community. Not only can the community claim this negative right not to be harmed by the possession of wealth, because the community itself has been the necessary condition of wealth, possessors of wealth have stringent obligations to positively benefit both the community and its labouring peoples. In fact, the government should exercise authority in enforcing such acts of benevolence when necessary.

Back to Top


Number: 49.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Man Meets the Myth: Heracles Furens

Core text discussed: Euripides' Hercules Furens

Date Submitted: 12-16-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
At the outset of Hercules Furens, Hercules is away and has been away so long that he is believed to be dead. Nonetheless, he is a constant source of discussion as the mythic Hercules, the Hercules who has performed a series of heroic deeds. When Hercules appears, however, he falls far short of the mythic representation; he is a mere man who cannot protect his family or his city. Thus, the tragedy serves as an extended reflection on the transformation of the mortal into the mythic.

Back to Top


Number: 48.

Title of Paper Proposal: If You Had Any Empathy at All, You Would Ditch Empathy as a Moral Concept

Core text discussed: Aristotle's Ethics, Rousseau's Emile, Nietzsche's Genealoogy of Morals

Date Submitted: 12-15-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The notion of empathy, of turning the other cheek, of doing unto others as you would have done to you, or at least, the understanding of how others feel and the feeling of guilt behind these notions, has a fertile history in moral theory. Authors from Aristotle, to Rousseau and Nietzsche have used and critiqued it. Despite its recent surge in popularity amongst contemporary ethicists such as Slote and de Waal, in this paper I will argue, along the lines of Rousseau and Nietzsche, that human empathy is a dubious and dangerous form of behavior modification that is far more trouble than it is worth. Empathy actually does not function alone – and uses other more negative emotions in order to modify moral decisions. Finally, empathy must also rely upon something akin to Aristotle’s conception of equity in order to function – something that is neither justifiable nor practical.

Back to Top


Number: 47.

Title of Paper Proposal: Augustine's Trinity

Core text discussed: De Trinitate

Date Submitted: 12-15-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Augustine develops a trinitarian language and logic which is very distinctive from the dualistic forms of thought which govern contemporary debate. This essay is a reflection on the success and failulre of strategies I use in introducing students to Augustine's De Trinitate, a work whose intellectual and cultural context is quite different from our own.

Back to Top


Number: 46.

Title of Paper Proposal: Works of Art as Interdisciplinary Core Texts for the Liberal Arts

Core text discussed: A selection of works of art in the Augustana College Pedogogical Art History Collection

Date Submitted: 12-15-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Liberal Arts through the AGES is an interdisciplinary art history project at Augustana College, currently in its seventh year and fourth edition as a first-year textbook, which centers works of art in the pedagogical art history collection as core texts within the liberal arts curriculum. Students at Augustana research selected original artwork and relevant texts in order to discern critical areas of the curriculum such as nature, self and society. By examining works of art through multiple lenses—including artistic, historical, social, philosophical, literary and scientific—they discover valuable facets that enrich the original texts and subjects under investigation. In addition, faculty and administrators examine artwork, informed through their own specializations as well as interdisciplinary contexts, in order to accomplish an approach to learning that liberates the mind from the constraints of a narrow and insular way of thinking, enabling it to easily make creative connections across disciplines toward reinforcing the college community.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Taddy and I are happy to join others in a panel or organize our own with others joining as best for the conference organizers. I'm additionally comfortable chairing our panel or any other as needed.

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
If appropriate, I'm pleased to provide one.

Back to Top


Number: 45.

Title of Paper Proposal: Euclid and the Broadening of Lincoln’s Mind

Core text discussed: Euclid's Elements, Abraham Lincoln's Speeches

Date Submitted: 12-15-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Abraham Lincoln claimed that his formal schooling totaled about a year. Yet the depth and lucidity of his speeches suggest a life dedicated to reading and thinking about books. Lincoln sought to free himself from ignorance by reading and, as a result of this, developed the qualities of statesmanship necessary to free the nation of slavery. This paper will concentrate on a surprising book his law partner, William Herndon, specifically mentioned Lincoln reading -- Euclid’s Elements. It will argue that the late nights of reading geometry had a profound effect in preparing Lincoln for politics by shaping his mind in three ways; his understanding of what constitutes proof, his ability to grasp distinct ideas, and his reasoning from a long train of consequences.

Back to Top


Number: 44.

Title of Paper Proposal: "The True Ground of All These Piteous Woes"

Core text discussed: Romeo and Juliet

Date Submitted: 12-15-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Everyone knows the play is about star-crossed lovers -- sigh. But far more attention in the play is devoted to the misbehavior and poor governance by the mature people of Verona who should know and behave better. Baz Luhrmann's film "Romeo + Juliet" has it all wrong. The BBC production, with its focus on Old Capulet, offers a challenging alternative to our romantic misreading.

Back to Top


Number: 43.

Title of Paper Proposal: Timeo Danaos et Dona Ferentis: The Status of Greek Culture in Cicero’s De Oratore

Core text discussed: Cicero's De Oratore

Date Submitted: 12-14-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
My paper will explore the relationship of Cicero to Greek culture in De Oratore. Cicero seeks to make himself (and Roman oratory) appear superior and distant from Greek models. Yet he also encourages the study of the Greeks and praises their contribution to the studia humanitatis. This contradiction is further complicated by the dialogic form of the work in which it is difficult, at moments, to know what Cicero himself thinks. In the end, the paper will argue that Cicero, by way of his various characters, articulates this contradiction to playfully temper Roman anxiety about Greek culture and to highlight authentic Roman developments in oratory while maintaining a great respect, rather than fear, for the rhetorical gifts borne by the Greeks to Roman (and ultimately) Western Civilization.

Back to Top


Number: 42.

Title of Paper Proposal: Odysseus, The Original Gangster: The Case for a Student-Friendly "Rap Translation" of Homer's Epic

Core text discussed: The Odyssey, by Homer

Date Submitted: 12-11-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The ethos of Homer's Bronze-age heroes, the quantitative nature of his verse, and the desirability of recasting classical literature in contemporary cultural forms that appeal to and have relevancy for today's students--all of these make a "rap" or "hip-hop" translation of Homer's Odyssey a desideratum. "Wily Odysseus" and his crew in several ways embody the "gangstah" ideal promoted in contemporary rap and hip-hop music. Similarly, the preliterate origins of The Odyssey and its putatively recitative nature, as well as the epic's(literally) musical nature vis-a-vis the Greek hexameter's use of long and short syllables,suggest a strong kinship to contemporary rap's prosody and its performative nature. An appendix to the paper will feature a rap translation of the first 100 lines or so of the Odyssey and make reference to the translation in discussions of prosody, cultural affinities, and pedagogical opportunities created by such a translation.

Back to Top


Number: 41.

Title of Paper Proposal: The ‘World’ Outside the Text: Using Art in Teaching The Iliad

Core text discussed: The Iliad

Date Submitted: 12-11-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The Iliad is not a closed text, but part of a complex tradition that has been passed down to us not only in literature, but also in art. I endeavor to give my students a sense of the greater “world” of The Iliad’s characters by telling them related stories from the Greek tradition and asking them to find works of art depicting those narratives and to post them on our course wikispace. This semester I was pleasantly surprised when I assigned a passage of The Iliad for close reading and several students ingeniously linked it to the story of the competition between Odysseus and Ajax for Achilles’s armor. In my presentation I will show images of this story posted online by my students and present the passage assigned for close reading and student interpretations related to the agon.

Back to Top


Number: 40.

Title of Paper Proposal: B.F. Forever: Inscribing Core Values into a Historicized Reading of Franklin’s Autobiography

Core text discussed: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Date Submitted: 12-10-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Both for literary and historiographic purposes, Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography continues to function as a vital document of the eighteenth century Anglophone Atlantic, thick with representations of an aspirant middle class, nation making, early print culture, pre-capitalist economic practice, the transnational scientific community, and a compelling Enlightenment sensibility. It is also an exemplary core text. For faculty open at least to a cautious and self-critical degree to a great books oriented approach, a study of the Autobiography yields many useful topics for classroom reflection—education, friendship, the work ethic, and moral self-examination to start, with war, sex, sibling rivalry, teen fugue states, and heroic proto-capitalism to round out the discussion (only vampires seem to be missing). Is it possible in a week or so of class time to reconcile these two divergent texts, and if so, how do we (or some of us) then balance a historicized core text pedagogy with the demands of period coverage and the institutional pull of “learning outcomes assessment” and its proxies—critical thinking, diversity, global competency, etc?

Back to Top


Number: 39.

Title of Paper Proposal: Using George Herbert's Christian Humanism; Robert Pinsky's "Shirt."

Core text discussed: George Herbert's Poetry

Date Submitted: 12-09-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
George Herbert struggled to bring his humanism within the intensity of his faith. He transcended the attractions of pastoral and church art to establish an intimate interplay with God. In "Shirt" Robert pinsky makes an unexpected regerence to George Herbert. Not only does Pinsky reconfigure a modern humanism, but strives for an emotional initimacy.

Back to Top


Number: 38.

Title of Paper Proposal: "The Core Text Seen Through Art: Three Examples"

Core text discussed: Aristotle, De Poetica

Date Submitted: 12-09-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the Collegiate Seminar courses at Saint Mary's College of California, students are asked to use the shared inquiry method to explore not only core texts, but also one or two pieces of visual art that represent the time period of their particular course. By using the definitions and standards of quality described by Aristotle in his "De Poetica," we will explore the value of using these visual art pieces in our courses. The two time periods noted here will be classical Greece and the modern era; the art pieces are two bowls circa 480 BCE and 540 BCE* and Picasso's "Guernica" (1937). By including the discussion of the art pieces in our Seminar courses here at Saint Mary's, we are, in part, achieving two of our stated learning outcomes: that students will grow in their understanding of some great ideas of humankind and of the problems and dilemmas that people have struggled with over the millenia and that students will grow in their appreciation and understanding of the different ways of knowing (e.g., philosophical, literary, historical, scientific, artistic, etc.). Since art is another kind of world, how do discussions of art enrich students' experiences of core texts? Specifically, is there a way that art adds something in the way of historical context to what they are reading? *"Athena Pouring Wine for Heracles," Interior, Attic Red Figured Kylix and "Dionysos in a Boat," Attic Black Figured Kylix

Back to Top


Number: 37.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Core Text Seen Through Art: Three Examples

Core text discussed: Aristote's De Poetica

Date Submitted: 12-09-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In the Collegiate Seminar courses at Saint Mary's College of California, students are asked to use the shared inquiry method to explore not only core texts, but also one or two pieces of visual art that represent the time period of their particular course. By using the definitions and standards of quality described by Aristotle in his De Poetica, we will explore the value of using these visual art pieces in our courses. The two time periods noted here will be classical Greece and the modern era; the art pieces are two bowls, circa 480 BCE and 540 BCE* and Picasso's Guernica (1937). By including the discussion of the art pieces in our Seminar courses here at Saint Mary's, we are, in part, achieving two of our stated learning outcomes: that students will grow in their understanding of some great ideas of humankind and of the problems and dilemmas that people have struggled with over the millenia; and, that students will grow in their appreciation and understanding of different ways of knowing (e.g., philosophical, literary, historical, scientific, artistic, etc.). Since art is another kind of world, how do discussions of art enrich students' experiences of core texts? Specifically, is there a way that art adds something in the way of historical context to what they are reading?

Back to Top


Number: 36.

Title of Paper Proposal: Responsibilities to Future Generations: What's in it for me?

Core text discussed: Adam Smith's A Theory of Moral Sentiments

Date Submitted: 12-08-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In 1759 Adam Smith published his second most famous book, "A Theory of Moral Sentiments" in which he described a thought-experiment which asked the reader to consider how he would react to the news that there was a terrible earthquake in China that had killed thousands of people. Smith opined that one might think about the precariousness of life and then go about one's normal business. But then he asked us to consider how we would react to the news that tomorrow we would lose our little finger, and whether, given the choice between the two, we would prefer the deaths of thousands of distant strangers to the loss of that single digit of ours. Analogously, what reason do members of the present generations have to make sacrifices in order to prevent potentially catastrophic changes in the Earth's climate from causing the death of future persons? (This paper might work with the two other papers on Hobbes)

Back to Top


Number: 35.

Title of Paper Proposal: Covering the Defects of Naked Nature: The Pleasing Illusions of Human Artifice

Core text discussed: Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Date Submitted: 12-08-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Burke's Reflections, through its philosophical and rhetorical attack on the French Revvolution and the radical ideals inspiring it, provides a literary vehicle for the investigation of the place of natural right, natural law, and human artifice in the founding and preservation of civil society. Rejecting the purist abstractions of the radical revolutionaries, Burke's Reflections reveals both the inadequacies of an appeal to mere nature and the wisdom of a statecraft that cultivates the beautiful artifacts essential to the civilization of human beings shaped as they are by universal nature and by the particular prejudices of the concretely imperfect societies in which they live.

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: Natural Right, Natural Law, and Human Freedom

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
Exploring classical natural right, Christian natural law, and modern natural right, the panel will discuss through great works of the classical, medieval, and modern eras the implications of each view for human freedom and the human good.

Back to Top


Number: 34.

Title of Paper Proposal: On the Question of Teleological Explanation in Anaxagoras’ Philosophy

Core text discussed: Plato's Phaedo and Anaxagoras fragment 12

Date Submitted: 12-08-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Anaxagoras affirms that MIND (nous) is responsible for the structure of our cosmos, insofar as it initiates a formative rotary motion within the heavens. Socrates, in Plato’s Phaedo, insists that Anaxagoras’ MIND is a blind efficient cause. Yet, in recent years, a number of scholars have argued that MIND is a planning and purposive cause: a teleological cause. In this paper, I offer a critical examination of the arguments that have been advanced in support of the teleological interpretation and I show that these arguments lack any real force. Thus, I suggest that Socrates’ interpretation (that is, Plato’s interpretation) is correct: Anaxagoras does not posit MIND as a purposive, planning, cause.

Back to Top


Number: 33.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Pastoral Mode in Paradise Lost: Ecological Restoration and Human Reconciliaiton

Core text discussed: Paradise Lost

Date Submitted: 12-07-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Milton’s use of the pastoral mode is rife in Paradise Lost. Adam and Eve are the two workers of the land who serve as substitutes for Virgil’s shepherds, and even more accurately as representations of Virgil’s farmers in Georgics, where the workers are directly connected to the earth they till. In Virgil’s Eclogues he writes of his father’s farm near Mantua being confiscated by Octavian’s soldiers; however, it is clear from Eclogue I that the farm had been saved (Virgil, Ec. xi). Milton relies heavily on Virgil’s structuring of his pastoral poetry for Paradise Lost, in that the wild growth outside the Garden of Eden and Satan’s encroachment serve as enclosure, mimicking the way in which Octavian’s soldiers surround Virgils father’s land. Milton uses the pastoral mode to reveal God’s choice to send his only begotten son, the good shepherd who replaces Adam and Eve and leads them to God, healing the wound of humanity and the earth.

Back to Top


Number: 32.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Sterile Fruit of Individualism in Early 1960s England: Allusions to Paradise Lost in Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach.

Core text discussed: John Milton, Paradise Lost; Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

Date Submitted: 12-04-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Ian McEwan\'s _On Chesil Beach_, two young people, both of them under the sway of the cultural norms and expectations of early-1960s England, look forward anxiously to their wedding night--and when that night finally arrives, fail to consummate their marriage. The climax of the novel, however, is not the anti-climax in the bridal bed, but rather an ensuing confrontation on Chesil Beach during which the two miss opportunities to act charitably toward each other. In this scene, allusions to Milton\'s _Paradise Lost_ (Book X, notably) help to show that the primary cause of the conflict\'s rapid escalation is the pair\'s attempts to protect themselves in ways that can be maintained only at each other\'s expense, particularly when, unlike Adam, the young husband refuses to let go of his prideful autonomy in response to his wife\'s sadly misguided gesture of self-sacrifice. The connections between _Paradise Lost_ and what may arguably be consi dered a core text of the twenty-first century highlight the novel\'s criticism, not of the lack of sexual freedom in pre-Beatles 1960s culture, but rather that culture\'s tendency to encourage an isolation of the self in the name of individual integrity; Milton\'s views of pre- and post-lapsarian humanity are of direct relevance here, and lend an ominous significance to the timing of this marriage\'s failure--just before the Me Generation swallows individualism\'s sterile fruit.

Back to Top


Number: 31.

Title of Paper Proposal: Engaging Worlds: Multiple and Generational Views on the Writings of W.E.B DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Core text discussed: The Souls of Black Folk, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and I have a dream speech

Date Submitted: 12-03-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper will discuss the challenges of creating a ten-volume set of readings where multiple volume editors wanted the same above identified works. Faculty arguments for inclusion and how the final decisions were made will be discussed. However, Student views tend to different from those of the faculty when discussing issues of the color line in the context of their world. These differing points of view will be described.

Back to Top


Number: 30.

Title of Paper Proposal:

Core text discussed: Paradise Lost and Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach

Date Submitted: 12-03-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
In Ian McEwan's _On Chesil Beach_, two young people, both of them under the sway of the cultural norms and expectations of early-1960s England, look forward anxiously to their wedding night--and when that night finally arrives, fail to consummate their marriage. The climax of the novel, however, is not the anti-climax in the bridal bed, but rather an ensuing confrontation on Chesil Beach during which the two miss opportunities to act charitably toward each other. In this scene, allusions to Milton's _Paradise Lost_ (Book X, notably) help to show that the primary cause of the conflict's rapid escalation is the pair's attempts to protect themselves in ways that can be maintained only at each other's expense, particularly when, unlike Adam, the young husband refuses to let go of his prideful autonomy in response to his wife's sadly misguided gesture of self-sacrifice. The connections between _Paradise Lost_ and what may arguably be considered a core text of the twenty-first century highlight the novel's criticism, not of the lack of sexual freedom in pre-Beatles 1960s culture, but rather that culture's tendency to encourage an isolation of the self in the name of individual integrity; Milton's views of pre- and post-lapsarian humanity are of direct relevance here, and lend an ominous significance to the timing of this marriage's failure--just before the Me Generation swallows individualism's sterile fruit.

Back to Top


Number: 29.

Title of Paper Proposal: Teaching Arendt’s "Eichmann in Jerusalem" as an Introduction to Philosophy

Core text discussed: "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" by Hannah Arendt

Date Submitted: 12-03-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
An educator, introducing philosophy to American students, is often confronted with pupils who 1) have difficulty understanding why they should care about philosophical thought, 2) do not realize that they accept unexamined opinions, and 3) misinterpret what it means to observe the world through a philosophical lens. This paper will argue that Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem may be used to address all three of these challenges and, as such, serves as an excellent introduction to philosophy. Arendt’s philosophical report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann 1) presents students with a disturbing model of the unexamined life, 2) encourages students to confront their unquestioned opinions about evil, justice, success, civil disobedience, and responsibility, and 3) demonstrates how a philosopher combines practical observation with abstract thought.

Back to Top


Number: 28.

Title of Paper Proposal: A Confrontation of Moral Realisms: Kant and Machiavelli

Core text discussed: Kant, Grounding of the metaphysics of Morals; Machiavelli, The Prince

Date Submitted: 12-01-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Discusses the pedogogical advantages of the unhistorical pairing of these two works. The confrontation of moral idealism and a moral flexibility nicely forces into the open both the appalling immorality of Machiavelli's argument and the pratical impossibility of Kant's Kingdom of Ends. There is also a surprising and broad ground of agreement: That our judgments of moral value are based on intentions.

Back to Top


Number: 27.

Title of Paper Proposal: Critical Thinking: Contexts and Bernard Lonergan’s "Insight"

Core text discussed: Bernard Lonergan, "Insight: A Study of Human Understanding"

Date Submitted: 11-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper will treat of Bernard Lonergan’s Insight: A Study of Human Understanding (1957), considered by many a classic philosophical text of the twentieth century. It will pay particular attention to Lonergan’s notion of rational self-consciousness as the basis for evidential judgment within contexts. As such, the paper contends that Lonergan’s text sheds light on the notion of “critical thinking.” In particular, it moves beyond a relativistic understanding of critical thinking.

Back to Top


Number: 26.

Title of Paper Proposal: Engaging Cultures: Is the Melting Pot Still Cooking?

Core text discussed: My Antonia by Willa Cather

Date Submitted: 11-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Attitudes towards immigrants, where different worldviews and unfamiliar cultures come in contact with each other, are frequently discussed in the media and in cyberspace, with the strident anti-immigrant attitudes receiving more attention than the supportive, positive views. A core text that can help students weigh the merits of the two sides of the immigrant debate is Willa Cather’s My Antonia, which presents a microcosm of the late nineteenth century American melting pot functioning on the Nebraska prairie. This novel provides students with the safe buffer of a fictional story set over one hundred years ago so that they can consider both the advantages and the problems presented by immigrants from a relatively objective point of view. My Antonia can also serve as a springboard for discussion of the limitations of the either/or thinking where immigrants and long-term residents are classified as “them” and “us.”

Back to Top


Number: 25.

Title of Paper Proposal: “Micromanaging the Absurd: Football, Pizza and Camus”

Core text discussed: Exile and the Kingdom

Date Submitted: 11-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
This paper examines the results of an experimental reading seminar the intent of which was to introduce student-athletes to Existentialism. They read first the novel Playing for Pizza, a comic look at how a discredited American footballer copes with his cultural malaise in Italy. The character’s initial feelings of isolation eventually give way to appreciation of cultural differences. It is quite another challenge when the students take on Exile and the Kingdom by Camus. Each character in the six stories realizes that existentialist moment of discovery as he or she struggles to deal with the implications of using that knowledge to seek a measure of rectitude. To what extent will our student-athletes understand the social, moral, religious and artistic engines that impel the self-imposed engagement of these characters? Will their comprehension appreciate noticeably through their own engagement in the text?

Back to Top


Number: 24.

Title of Paper Proposal: William Wordsworth: Apostle of Pleasure

Core text discussed: Preface to Lyrical Ballads

Date Submitted: 11-29-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Teachers and scholars alike have come to recognize the centrality of William Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads as a cultural, as well as a literary critical, text. Among the revolutionary ideas that permeate the Preface, one of the most fundamental but perhaps least appreciated is the notion of pleasure. Appeals to and constructions of "the grand elementary principle of pleasure" underlie both Wordsworth's poetic theory and his cultural critique. His formulations of a pleasure principle in the Preface also exerted significant influence on younger Romantics like Keats and the two Shelleys and provide a point of reference for understanding the evolving nature of Wordsworth's own ideas about poetry and culture.

Back to Top


Number: 23.

Title of Paper Proposal: Reading Core Texts as an Exercise in Otherness

Core text discussed: Odyssey book XXIII; Montaigne's "On the Inconstancy of our Actions"

Date Submitted: 11-25-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Multicultural critics of the traditional canon of Western civilization express a concern that, by becoming familiar with texts of the “tradition”, students may develop their sense of identity as a narrow, closed expression of privilege built upon an exclusion of all what is “different” or in position of minority. To this concern, I offer a consideration of the element of otherness and difference inherent in any text of the so named “canon”. I analyze the dynamics of recognition taking place between Penelope and her husband in the Odyssey, that clearly illuminate how recognition of the familiar comes with a consideration of “strangeness” in the familiar itself. Montaigne’s essay On the Inconstancy of our Actions provides a decisive insight in the recognition of one’s own identity as marked by difference and otherness. Engaging with text of the tradition is crucial to experiencing otherness, not as something from without, but as something that is inherently implied in our understanding of ourselves.

Back to Top


Number: 22.

Title of Paper Proposal: Appropriation of Universalization: Reading Brook Reading the Mahabharata

Core text discussed: The Mahabaharta

Date Submitted: 11-25-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Peter Brook's 1988 dramatization of India's great epic, The Mahabharata, was intended to bring this great work of literature to a western audience through a representation the work's universal cultural elements. This attempt was not received in India with universal acclaim, particularly in Rustom Bharucha's "Peter Brook's Mahabharata: a view from India." This paper will explore how situating Brook's effort in the context of teaching a this classic text can simultaneously introduce students to this very important text and to issues surronding the potential exploitation of texts deeply embedded in their cultures for the purposes of promoting cultural universalism.

Back to Top


Number: 21.

Title of Paper Proposal: Melville Was No Fluke

Core text discussed: Moby Dick

Date Submitted: 11-25-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Melville's Moby Dick is, along with Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, perhaps the quintessential piece of 19th Century American literature. Beyond the rich discussion of good, evil, fate, and cannibals, though, the novel also offers a glimpse into a truly unique world, that of the author's time and place. Melville's writing is suffused with history, science, psychology, and above all wonder, investigations that transcend their technical lack of accuracy or scientific rigor and bring us into the mid-century zeitgeist of the still-young republic. More importantly, engaging Moby Dick is akin to hunting the great whales themselves--it's a thrilling endeavor, fraught with risk, yet with the promise of greater self-knowledge and wisdom lying at the end.

Back to Top


Number: 20.

Title of Paper Proposal: Unveiling Lucretia: achieving a new order through the feminine

Core text discussed: Decameron, Mandragola, Othello, Paradise Lost

Date Submitted: 11-25-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
For 300 years, from the mid 14th century to the mid 17th century, a 6th century BCE Roman woman named Lucretia, what happened to her, her actions, and the consequence of her actions, provided the great artists of Western Europe with a model to gaze upon as they crafted, in words and pictures, their own versions, in their own temporal and spacial contexts, of the human world as it is and as it might be. A glance at 4 of these uses of the Lucretia story reveals much about the progress of the Renaissance, from optimism, to pragmatism, to cynicism, to synthesis and a readiness to move on. Boccaccio’s Tale of Ricciardo and Catella from The Decameron, Machiavelli’s Mandragola, Shakespeare’s Othello, and Milton’s Paradise Lost span the Renaissance from its emergence out of the Medieval Age in Italy to its translation into the Age of Reason in England – from its birth to its birthing. In each literary work, when the female takes ownership of her private experience, and takes action, she prompts the fallen male world to take ownership of the public future. But when the veil is pulled aside on each of these works, significant differences are revealed.

Back to Top


Number: 19.

Title of Paper Proposal: Icarus Then and Now

Core text discussed: Metamorphoses, Icarus' Mother, and Flying Home

Date Submitted: 11-24-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Like other myths, the Icarus tale existed long before Ovid recounted it in Metamorphoses. The flight and fall of Icarus has been alluded to or retold in various ways since antiquity by major and minor writers. Two 20th century versions worth considering are Ralph Ellison's story, "Flying Home," and Sam Sheperd's play, "Icarus' Mother." They employ the ancient legend to convey modern themes.

Back to Top


Number: 18.

Title of Paper Proposal: "'The Beautiful Necessity': Idealism and Science in Emerson's 'Fate'"

Core text discussed: Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Fate"

Date Submitted: 11-24-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
A popular misconception of the Romantics is that they were anti-science. Emerson, on the contrary, wholeheartedly embraced the science of his day and was himself an amateur naturalist. In his essays he came to be increasingly absorbed by the challenge of scientific materialism, and in "Experience" (1844) and above all "Fate" (1851) he sought to reaffirm his monist-idealist worldview while taking the implications of scientific knowledge of the world with full seriousness.

Back to Top


Number: 17.

Title of Paper Proposal: Teaching Pascal in Modern and Postmodern Contexts

Core text discussed: Pascal's Pensees

Date Submitted: 11-20-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Pascal's unfinished work Pensees [Thoughts] is an important core text for teaching modern philosophy. Reading it after Descartes gets students discussing the shape of emerging modernity, rather than uncritically accepting Cartesian principles. Pascal presents an alternate vision of human nature, the limits of human knowledge, and the relation of the human to the divine. Teaching Pascal requires sensitivity to his cultural and intellectual context; thus I argue against the most common misreadings of Pascal's famous Wager argument by detailing the context and intended audience of the Pensees.

Back to Top


Number: 16.

Title of Paper Proposal: Hélène Berr’s "Journal" and Wole Soyinka’s "You Must Set Forth at Dawn" as core texts for a discussion of “Engaging Worlds: Core Texts and Cultural Contexts.”

Core text discussed: Berr, Hélène, "The Journal of Hélène Berr and Soyinka Wole, "You Must Set Forth at Dawn"

Date Submitted: 11-18-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Although each work stands on its own as a significant piece of literature, worthy of consideration as a core text, Hélène Berr’s "Journal" (available in either French or English) and Wole Soyinka’s "You Must Set Forth At Dawn" have even greater value when considered together in a discussion of the theme “Engaging Worlds: Core Texts and Cultural Contexts”. the similarities and differences between the writers of these two works of personal witness to worlds in upheaval (as well as the similarities and differences between their cultural contexts) offer the opportunity for a wide-ranging and highly fruitful discussion in a classroom setting.

Back to Top


Number: 15.

Title of Paper Proposal: Orhan Pamuk's "Implied Reader" for the novel SNOW

Core text discussed: Orhan Pamuk, Snow

Date Submitted: 11-13-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The purpose of this paper is to describe the reaction of Orhan Pamuk’s “Implied Reader” (as defined by Wolfgang Iser and modified by Orhan Pamuk himself and the author of this paper particularly) to Snow, one of the important novels by this Turkish Nobel Prize winner for 2006. This “implied reader” becomes an American fairly ignorant of Islamic culture in general and its Turkish manifestations in particular. Pamuk’s intent seems to that reader to be an informative one: how can the sensitive Western reader come to understand the present contradictions of Turkish life as it increasingly abuts Western values, most especially through the eyes of a Turkish poet Ka, who has spent several years as a political exile in Germany. His story is revealed by an external narrator- himself a novelist named Orhan (guess who?)- who traces Ka’s novels back to the isolated town of Kars, Ka’s birthplace and center of his own life and love, to try to discover the cultural cross currents which resulted in his (Ka's) ultimate assassination on a Frankfurt street. Ka’s arrival in Kars had coincided with a heavy snow which had isolated the town for several days, during which Ka experiences a political revolution and its overturn, the resurrection and then sudden death of an old love, and an “un-scarfing” of a devout, fanatical Muslim woman, an event which reverberates through every consciousness involved. The ambiguous, often ironic, at times hilarious tone complements the culture’s contradictions, leaving the novice American “implied reader” far more informed as to the plight of “modern” Turks caught in its crossfire. The external narrator himself is more informed, but important questions (“whodunit” for example) remain, appropriate to the plight of contemporary Turkey, as it struggles to define itself in its pivotal position between “east” and “west.”

CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL

Title of panel: tba

Six Sentence Abstract of panel and your paper:
tba

Back to Top


Number: 14.

Title of Paper Proposal: Alas! Things Fall Apart is a Core Text

Core text discussed: Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Date Submitted: 11-03-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
There is a Harold Bloomian prophecy of "The Chaotic Age" of canons that makes Achebe's Things Fall Apart a survivor of the withering of texts. How these things came to be that one so reticient as Chinua Achebe, challenger of orthodoxies and entrenched readings, can now be so cast is the subject of my enquiry. Are there intrinsic qualities in Achebe's works that make them amenable to inclusion in such canons, albeit "chaotic ones"?

Back to Top


Number: 13.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Cultural Assumptions of Core Text Programs

Core text discussed: Plato's Republic; Hume's "Standard of Taste"

Date Submitted: 10-30-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Critics of Core Text Programs accuse them of being elitist, exclusive, and reactionary, privileging some texts and ideas over others. I argue the opposite: that Core Text Programs are inherently pluralistic and progressive. Though not all Core Text Programs champion the Enlightenment over, for example, Classical Greece or Medieval Christendom, Core Text Programs themselves operate under Enlightenment notions of "judgment" and knowledge as a means to freedom. Plato's rejection of the poets may be studied in Core Text Programs, but often as a prelude to reading the poets, which means that Plato has already lost the battle.

Back to Top


Number: 12.

Title of Paper Proposal: "Wrestling with the god(s)"

Core text discussed:

Date Submitted: 10-26-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
the trope of wrestling with God (Jacob at the ford of the Jabbok, {Gen.34.24ff.} or the god (Menelaus and Proteus {Od. 4.456ff.} breaks down certain oft-unexamined student assumptions and human helplessness and divine omnipotence, certainty and authority. Once students have challenged these assumptions, they often find themselves in a state of aporia, which requires them to question what is lost or changed when one assumes that creature can challenge creator and prevail: if the divine be diminished, are humans necessarily glorified or does this trope require as a corollary that human limitations-and thus human nature itself-be re-defined? Wrestling with the god is a powerful metaphor for challenging all orthodoxies-perhaps especially the canonical certainties of required core texts. I conclude that core courses should grid students to wrestle with the very gods such courses offer and I make bold to suggest that students who wrestle through the night will earn their blessing at dawn.

Back to Top


Number: 11.

Title of Paper Proposal: The Role of Mathematics in a Liberal Arts Core Curriculum

Core text discussed: Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers by Georg Cantor

Date Submitted: 10-20-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
An education firmly grounded in the liberal arts should provide students with broad exposure to important ideas and to the many different ways in which human beings acquire knowledge. Exposure to these different “ways of thinking” or “ways of knowing” is one of the most valuable features of a liberal arts education. Popular conceptions notwithstanding, mathematics has a crucial role to play in this regard. The unique approach to knowledge and mode of inquiry which characterizes mathematics is all too often ignored in the liberal arts curriculum. It is certainly something which never surfaces in high school and, unfortunately, is rarely present in the general education or core curricula of most colleges and universities. In this paper, I will present an approach to a core mathematics course which attempts to address this situation. The goal of this course is to convey to students that mathematics deals with large and universal questions, that it does so in a unique and compelling way, and that always lurking in the background are issues related to philosophy, linguistics, and aesthetics.

Back to Top


Number: 10.

Title of Paper Proposal: Wrestling with the god

Core text discussed: Genesis 32.24; Odyssey 4.456ff.

Date Submitted: 10-20-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
The trope of wrestling with God (Jacob at the ford of the Jabbok, [Gen. 32-24ff. ] ) or the god (Menelaus and Proteus [Od. 4. 456ff.) breaks down certain oft-unexamined assumptions about human helplessness and divine omnipotence, certainty and authority. Once students have challenged these assumptions, they often find themselves in a state of aporia, which requires them to question what is lost or changed when one assumes that creature can challenge creator and prevail: if the divine be diminished, are humans necessarily glorified or does this trope require as a corollary that human limitations be re-defined? Wrestling with the god is a powerful metaphor for challenging all orthodoxies—perhaps especially the canonical certainties of required core texts. I conclude that all core courses should gird students to wrestle with the very gods such courses offer and make bold to suggest that students who wrestle through the year will earn their blessing at the end.

Back to Top


Number: 9.

Title of Paper Proposal: Drama and religion or religious drama?

Core text discussed: Antigone

Date Submitted: 10-19-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Religion and Culture is one of the introductory courses that satisfies the Core religion/theology requirement. As it is taught it is primarily a cultural and intellecutal history of the 19th and 20th century. I have added the core text Antigone to broaden the concepts of religion and culture and immediately present the students with an example of a cultural artifact for analysis. The results were positive and I will be discussing why this text is particularly appropriate for analysis.

Back to Top


Number: 8.

Title of Paper Proposal: Tocqueville on Political and Civilian Society

Core text discussed: Democracy in America

Date Submitted: 10-07-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Tocqueville writes not about civil society but about political society, as one may find in a TOC. However Tocqueville uses idea of civil society but in exactly the same way as his contemporaries: Hegel and Marx. For Tocqueville civil society is a sphere of economic activity not a "third sector". Americans have problems in understanding that because they do not have civil code and included in it institution of civil law company, familiar to continental Europe. For Tocqueville civil association means business entrepreneurship not a nonprofit organization. And Tocqueville definitely did not write that associations are "grand free schools" - it is mistake in translation.

Back to Top


Number: 7.

Title of Paper Proposal: Why read Walden?

Core text discussed: Walden

Date Submitted: 10-07-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Is the world of *Walden* no longer one readers inhabit? Can a reading of the book tell us anything about ourselves, our country, and how to live?

Back to Top


Number: 6.

Title of Paper Proposal: Teaching the Qur'an, Learning the Culture

Core text discussed: The Qur'an

Date Submitted: 09-27-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
One approach to learning the culture of the Middle East is to study the Muslim world's most sacred text, the Qur'an. In my course, we focus on three things. The first is the Five Pillars of Islam. When we focus on the pillars, we see that there is a signficant social imperative that is inherent in Islam. For example, the zagat requires one to give 2 1/2% of one's savings to the poor each year. Next, when we focus on the jihad, we talk about the inner and outer struggles that each Muslim (and us) deal with in our lives. We specifically discuss the tragedy of 9/11 and suicide bombers. We look at the Qur'an and see that offensive attacks and suicide are clearly prohibited. Yet, 9/11 happened and suicide bombings continue to happen daily. We discuss the idea of revealed religions and how their clergy and followers interpret their texts. Finally, when we look at the role of women, we specifically discuss the wearing of the hijab and the different reasons why women do so, whether being coherced by governments or family to wear it or not wear it, for example, the requirement to wear one in Saudi Arabia and the prohibition against wearing one at the University of Paris. We also discuss the fact that some women have the freedom to choose for themselves whether or wear one or not. We also discuss divorce laws and inheritance laws regarding women and find that, based on the Qur'an, Muslim women have more rights than women had in 19th America.

Back to Top


Number: 5.

Title of Paper Proposal: Retelling Core Texts: A Teacher's and Writer's Perspective

Core text discussed: Dante's Inferno

Date Submitted: 09-22-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
As someone who taught Inferno for years, and who has now written a novel retelling Dante's journey, I reflect on the different ways we interact with the core texts, and the different ways we invite and engage others to do so. We are often caught between our training (and interest) in talking about the text, and our longing to experience or even revel in what the text is about. And, if we do create our own work of art based on a core text, we and our audience always wonder how much should be a departure or even a reversal of the original, and how much should be "faithful" - too much of the latter and there's not much reason for the new version, too much of the former and there's no reason to connect it to the original. NOTE: I'd like, if possible, to have a panel on this topic more generally, with others considering other retellings of core texts.

Back to Top


Number: 4.

Title of Paper Proposal: How to Illustrate Blind Ambition to a Business Student

Core text discussed: Theodore Dreiser The Financier

Date Submitted: 09-15-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
Business students often complain about the uselessness of business ethics courses. It takes a good story to show them that skill training alone is not sufficient preparation for the business world. In The Financier, Dreiser provides a realistic illustration of a life driven by ambition yet lacking a moral foundation. Such a powerful novel can prove more effective than traditional case studies in conveying the need for a balance between skill acquisition and moral education in the training of our young professionals.

Back to Top


Number: 3.

Title of Paper Proposal: Is Honor Dead? Hobbes's Impact

Core text discussed: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan and other works

Date Submitted: 09-15-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
I will summarize my argument that Thomas Hobbes's works represent a "turning point for honor." Hobbes levels a strong critique of honor as destructive in society and as the cause of civil and international war. Does Hobbes's treatment of honor set the stage for the rejection of the honor/shame code in modern liberal societies?

Back to Top


Number: 2.

Title of Paper Proposal: Hunger as Appetite and Metaphor

Core text discussed: Raymond Tallis, Hunger

Date Submitted: 09-09-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
From our need for sustenance to what Philip Larkin called the hunger to be more serious, hungers are at the heart of what it means to be human. Raymond Tallis thinks deeply about the nature of humanity, and takes hunger as the keynote for philosophizing about it. From biological hunger, about which he observes that the "deepest differences between human beings" are between the hungry and the well-fed, through hedonistic hunger, the hunger for others, and our hunger for the transcendent, he makes a profound case for hunger as a lens through which to view the self, nature, others, and the divine.

Back to Top


Number: 1.

Title of Paper Proposal: Egoism Confronting Itself: Hobbes Versus the Fool

Core text discussed: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Date Submitted: 09-09-2009

Four sentence abstract of paper:
After stating his third law of nature in the Leviathan, Hobbes raises an objection to it, which he places in the mouth of a "fool." This objection is more damaging than Hobbes realizes, for it calls into question the very concept of a "law of nature" as defined by Hobbes and undermines the very foundation of Hobbes' ethical theory.

Back to Top

 
Association for Core Texts and Courses & The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute at
Saint Mary's College of California:

1928 Saint Mary's Road, Moraga, CA 94556
Ph: 925 631 8597