Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Humanities for Humanity: Towards an Ethic of Encounter and Civic Engagement

Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 7:30pm

Join the Collegium Institute and the Program for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) for "Humanities for Humanity: Towards an Ethic of Encounter & Civic Engagement" to explore the ways in which the humanities--both as a field of study and as an area of creative expression-- provides 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, affect 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
  • Katie Peterson, Professor of English, University of California, Davis
  • Veronica Roberts Ogle, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Assumption University
  • Jason Blakely, Associate Professor of Political Science, Pepperdine University

This event is co-sponsored by: Penn's Year of Civic Engagement, Wolf Humanities Center at Penn, Beatrice Institute, Genealogies of Modernity Project, The Morningside Institute, Portsmouth Institute, Penn Comparative Literature department, Penn English department, Penn History department, Penn Philosophy department, Penn Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, Villanova Department of Humanities, and America: The Jesuit Review.
For more details and to RSVP visit: