Institute Academic Advisory Board member Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn has wonderful things to say about the Institute following her visit last month for the annual meeting of the Advisory Board and the overlapping conference “The Present Challenges and Believable Futures of Liberal Democracy.” Lasch-Quinn praises the Institute’s award-winning journal, it’s “penetrating” surveys, and it’s Fellows program, as well as what makes the Institute “so distinctive” among its peers in the academy. Find Lasch-Quinn’s full comments on U.S. Intellectual History here.
The Institute is thrilled to congratulate Dissertation Fellows Stephen Macekura and Christina Simko on successfully defending their respective dissertations. Macekura’s dissertation explores the relationship between global environmentalism and international development. Simko’s dissertation focuses on interpretive responses to the events of September 11, 2001, in American political and commemorative culture. Congratulations to you both!
Read more about the work of the Institute’s current fellows here.
Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish highlights Thomas de Zengotita’s article for the Spring 2013 issue of The Hedgehog Review, “Ethics and the Limits of Evolutionary Psychology,” calling it a “lengthy, searching critique of evolutionary psychology.” Read the full article here.
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The Institute congratulates Associate Fellow Tim Hartman, recipient of the 2013-2014 Dissertation Fellowship from the Louisville Institute for “Rethinking Christian Identity after ‘Christendom’: Revelation, Religion, and Culture in Kwame Bediako and Karl Barth.” Louisville Dissertation Fellowships seek to recognize and support scholarly projects that promise a significant contribution to the study of American religion, with preference given to proposals that address lay spirituality and theology and the institutional reconfiguration of American religion. Way to go, Tim!
Read more about the Institute’s fellows here.
On Monday April 22 WMRA’s Virginia Insight featured Institute Director of Survey Research Carl Desportes Bowman and Associate Fellow Megan Juelfs-Swanson discussing the Culture of American Families Project.
The three-year study of American parenting explores the ways that family culture can be even more important than parenting styles. The importance of specific parenting motivations such as “value of education,” “importance of religion,” and even “levels of optimism” vary widely among family cultures.
You can listen to the interview and download reports from the study.
On Thursday, April 4, 2013, the Institute welcomes Leonidas Donskis, member of the European Parliament, philosopher, political theorist, historian of ideas, social analyst, and political commentator. Donskis’ main scholarly interests lie in philosophy of history, culture, literature, and the social sciences, as well as civilization theory, political theory, history of ideas, and studies in Central and East European thought. His talk, “Modernity and Evil,” will take place at Watson Manor at 4:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception.
On Thursday, March 21, 2013, the Institute hosted a lecture by theologian Allan Boesak. Boesak, one of the heroes of the anti-apartheid freedom struggle in South Africa, was elected as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in 1982, a position he held until 1991. He is the author most recently of Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism.
On what was the anniversary of the notorious Sharpeville massacre of March 21, 1960, Boesak spoke on “Deification, Demonization, and Reconciliation in South Africa: Will the Center Hold?” He argued than both the demonization of Eugene de Kock, the infamous commander of the apartheid government’s counter-insurgency unit, and the deification of Nelson Mandela create a false dichotomy of pure evil versus good behind which South Africans hide their culpability for the past and responsibility to the future. Find details and photos from the event here (video forthcoming).
On Wednesday, March 13 the Institute hosted a seminar on the state of the eurozone led by João Carlos Espada. Professor Espada is the founding director of the Institute for Political Studies at the Catholic University of Portugal, where he is University professor of Political Studies. He holds the European Parliament / Bronislaw Geremek European Civilization Chair at the College of Europe, Natolin. Since March 2006, he has been political adviser to the President of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Aníbal Cavaco Silva. Professor Espada has written widely on the history of liberalism, the European Union, and contemporary political thought.
Expanding on “European Disintegration? The Sources of Extremism” (previously published in the Journal of Democracy, October 2012), Professor Espada argued that the best hope for curbing political extremism in Europe is to “trivialize” the euro. There is currently no exit clause from adoption of the common European currency, but, he contended, the euro itself must become a subject of discussion in national Parliamentary politics if the European project is to flourish. Espada’s presentation sparked lively debate about hopes for the future of the eurozone, the risks of currency instability, and the “rationality” of extremism, among other topics. Find event details here.
Institute Senior Fellow Nicholas Wolterstorff is interviewed by James K.A. Smith in the March 2013 issue of comment. Wolterstorff discusses the changes he has witnessed to his field over his long career as a philosopher.
The issue also includes a review of Wolterstorff’s Justice in Love, which calls the book “lucid, stirring, and provocative.” Institute Co-Director of the Moral Foundations of Education Project Ashley Rogers Berner also has a piece on “Persuasion in Education.” Find links to the articles here (subscription required for some items).