The Westmont Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts hosts the 17th annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts, “Knowledge in Crisis: Liberal Learning in a ‘Post-Truth’ Age,” March 22-24 at Westmont. Top scholars, administrators, students and practitioners consider how the tools of a liberal arts education can help us navigate the changing landscape of knowledge. Speakers include William Deresiewicz, Lynn Hunt, Martín Carcasson, and Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig.
“With ample time for open discussion in addition to formal presentations, this intimate conference is designed to stimulate teaching and learning through conversation,” says Chris Hoeckley, director of the Gaede Institute. “Participants come from every level of the academy, but also from journalistic outlets, nonprofits, religious ministries, and other organizations that have an interest in liberal education, ensuring a rich variety of perspectives.”
“The conference will be kept rather small with fewer than 100 participants to better stimulate the teaching and learning through conversation rather than lecture,” says Chris Hoeckley, director of the Gaede Institute. “The wide array of backgrounds from those participating also means a wide range of perspectives.”
Deresiewicz, an award-winning author and essayist, taught English at Yale and Columbia before becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He wrote the New York Times bestseller “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life,” as well as numerous articles, including recently “In Defense of Facts” for The Atlantic and “On Political Correctness” for The American Scholar. He has won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and a Sydney Award as well as being a three-time National Magazine Award nominee.
Hunt, a distinguished research professor in history at UCLA, specializes in the French Revolution. She has undertaken wide-ranging examinations of human rights, time, religious pluralism, and historiography. Among her many books are “Writing History in the Global Era,” “Inventing Human Rights,” and “Telling the Truth About History.” Before serving at UCLA, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1987-1998) and the University of California, Berkeley (1974-1987). She earned her Bacheor of Arts from Carleton College and her Master of Arts and doctorate from Stanford University.
Carcasson, professor in the communication studies department at Colorado State University, founded and directs the CSU Center for Public Deliberation, an interdisciplinary center that prepares students for practical engagement in deliberative democracy. His research with the Kettering Foundation’s Deliberative Democracy Consortium most recently includes his report titled “Process Matters: Human Nature, Democracy, and a Call for Rediscovering Wisdom.” Carcasson’s research has been published in Rhetoric and Public Affairs, the International Journal of Conflict Resolution, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech.
Stoker Bruenig, an assistant editor and opinion columnist at The Washington Post, served as staff writer at The New Republic, and contributes articles to a wide range of periodicals including The Atlantic, The American Conservative, and Jacobin Magazine. She has done graduate work in religion at Cambridge University and Brown University.
For full conference information, visit westmont.edu/conversation. Registration includes meals (Friday dinner through Saturday lunch) as well as shuttle service between select hotels and the Westmont campus.