Cultivating Citizens: Soulcraft and Citizenship in Contemporary America
America's material state has arguably never been better, but many contemporary observers express deep concern for our democracy. Some point to complex pathologies that afflict important segments of society. Others note that disaffection and even cynicism pervade the electorate at large. Still others contend that a public spirited concern for the common good is on the wane.
In response to such troubling observations, calls for revitalizing our sense of citizenship and those conditions that nurture it have become increasingly frequent. Some scholars argue, however, that revitalizing citizenship is not possible within the parameters of America's prevailing public philosophy--political liberalism. Others insist that only by drawing from the deep wells of our liberal tradition can we hope to reinvigorate democracy. Baylor University invites you to join us as we discuss these important concerns through plenary sessions, panel discussions, and presented papers.
Alexander Astin, UCLA
Dr. Astin is one of the leading scholars in the field of higher education. He received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Maryland and is the Allan Murray Cartter Professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA that serves as an interdisciplinary center for research, evaluation, information, policy studies, and research training in postsecondary education.
His research interests include values and spirituality in education, educational reform, higher education policy in the United States, and the impact of different types of institutions on student development. He has published numerous books and articles including What Matters in College?, Achieving Educational Excellence, and Assessment for Excellence: The Philosophy and Practice of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. He is the Founding Director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, an ongoing national study of some nine million students, 250,000 faculty and staff, and 1500 higher education institutions.
Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago
In the area of social and political philosophy, Dr. Elshtain is best known for her rich examination of the connections between our political and ethical convictions. She received her doctorate from Brandeis University and is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago with joint appointments in The Divinity School, the Department of Political Science, and the Committee on International Relations.
Her books include Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social Thought, The Family in Political Thought, Meditations on Modern Political Thought, Women and War; Democracy on Trial, Augustine and the Limits of Politics, and Real Politics: At the Center of Everyday Life. Professor Elshtain writes widely for journals of civic opinion and lectures, both in the United States and abroad, on whether democracy will prove sufficiently robust and resilient to survive.
She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Chair of the Council on Civil Society; and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University and the National Humanities Center.
John Milbank ranks among the leading figures in contemporary theology. He received his doctorate from Birmingham University in England and is currently Francis Ball Professor in Philosophical Theology at the University of Virginia. Prior to assuming this post Milbank was a Fellow of Peterhouse and Lecturer in Theology at the University of Cambridge.
He has written or edited seven books, including his highly acclaimed Theology and Social Theory, in which he offers a comprehensive account of the relation between theology and social theory from Plato to Derrida and Deleuze.
With his most recent book, The Word Made Strange, Milbank develops a theological account of language by which he seeks to establish that no secular construct of language offers any true possibility of meaning. He applies this account across a wide range of theological and ethical topics, striving at every point to get beyond the prevailing alternatives of liberalism and neo-orthodoxy.
An associate professor of political science at the University of Arizona, Dr. Nederman has established himself as a premier authority on medieval political thought. He is also a founding member and the current president of the Society for the Study of Medieval Political Thought. He received his doctorate from York University in Toronto and has taught at Glendon College, University of Alberta, University of Canterbury, and Siena College.
His numerous publications include Beyond the Persecuting Society: Religious Toleration Before the Enlightenment, Medieval Aristotelianism and Its Limits: Classical Traditions in Moral and Political Philosophy, and Community and Consent: The Secular Political Theory of Marsigilio of Padua's Defensor Pacis.
Dr. Nicgorski is Professor in the Program of Liberal Studies and concurrent Professor of Government and International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is also the editor of The Review of Politics. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in political science. His principal interests lie in the areas of ancient political thought, the American founding, and the theory and practice of moral and liberal education.
His articles on Cicero and other topics have appeared in Political Theory, Interpretation, and the Political Science Reviewer. His publications also include, An Almost Chosen People: The Moral Aspirations of Americans and Leo Strauss: Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker. He has been the recipient of a Lilly Endowment faculty fellowship, as well as research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bradley Foundation, and the Earhart Foundation. At present, he is completing a book on the political philosophy of Cicero.
A leading public intellectual in contemporary America, Dr. Sandel is best known for his critique of political liberalism, especially as expressed by John Rawls. Dr. Sandel is Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught courses in political theory and philosophy since 1980. His core course "Justice" is reported to be one of the most popular in the College. He also teaches a course on law and political theory at Harvard Law School.
Dr. Sandel received his doctorate from Oxford University. He has received fellowship awards from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 1998, he delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Brasenose College, Oxford. He also chairs Harvard's Advisory Committee on Free Speech.
His publications include Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, and Liberalism and its Critics. He has also published widely in academic journals and law reviews as well as newsweeklies, such as The New Republic.
A leading authority on the educational writings of John Locke, Dr. Tarcov's scholarly interests and involvements also include Machiavelli, Rousseau, the American founders, and U.S. foreign policy.
He received his doctorate from Harvard University and is currently Professor of Social Thought, Political Science, and the College at the University of Chicago. In 1997, he received the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education from the University of Chicago. Dr. Tarcov is also the Director of the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory & Practice of Democracy and a past member of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Tarcov's publications include Locke's Education for Liberty, Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy, and The Legacy of Rousseau. At present, he is at work on a book-length study of Machiavelli's Prince. Alan Wolfe Alan Wolfe is the recently appointed Director of the new Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.
As a public intellectual, Professor Wolfe writes frequently about the moral issues in public life in The New Republic, Wilson Quarterly, Commonweal, Harper's, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He is the author of numerous books, including One Nation, After All, Marginalized in the Middle, The Human Difference: Animals, Computers, and the Necessity of Social Science, and Whose Keeper? Social Science and Moral Obligation.