Humanities for Humanity

September 10, 2020 (Thursday) / 7:30 pm9:30 pm


Humanities for Humanity

Towards an Ethic of Encounter and Civic Engagement

Presented by the Collegium Institute and the Program for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS)

Explore the ways in which the humanities–both as a field of study and as an area of creative expression–provide ways of thinking that strengthen our civic engagement. The hope is to consider the deep value of humanities for human life in a way that does not subordinate it to politics but also does not detach it from the life of political communities. We will consider the value of humanistic study both as a timeless pursuit and in relation to the pressing challenges of civic engagement that confront us now.

Panelists from four different disciplines and universities have been invited to think critically and constructively about the contemporary practice of academic humanities: what relation does it currently have, if any, to political community and polarization? How might it become part of the solution to a more humane politics? Are there ways in which conceiving the humanities as primarily a political exercise might both advance and frustrate its civic function? How can the humanities prepare us for civic life without themselves becoming partisan? How can the integrity of the humanist and citizen be promoted at the same time and in mutually supportive directions? How do Catholic approaches to the humanities effect our understanding of both the humanities and civic engagement? How does having loyalties to two cities, the earthly and the heavenly, effect our engagements with the earthly city?

To explore these important questions and more, we will be joined by:

Herman Beavers, Professor of English and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Jason Blakely, Associate Professor of Political Science, Pepperdine University

Katie Peterson, Professor of English, University of California, Davis

Veronica Roberts Ogle, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Assumption University

Cosponsored by Penn's Comparative Literature Department; English Department; History Department; Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society; Wolf Humanities Center; and Year of Civic Engagement; and Beatrice Institute; The Morningside Institute; Genealogies of Modernity Project; and Villanova Department of Humanities.