CFA: Educating Character Through the Arts

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Educating Character Through the Arts

University of Birmingham Conference Centre, 19th-21st July, 2018

 Open Call for Abstracts

From antiquity to the present, the virtues – construed in terms of such excellences of character as honesty, fairness, compassion and courage – have been widely regarded as integral to human moral life. But how might human agents – particularly the young – come to understand, or acquire, virtuous character? While many might nowadays look to empirical psychology or neuroscience for pathways to understanding and cultivating virtuous character, the arts might seem to offer a more time-honoured source of insight into good and bad human character, its relationship to human flourishing, and the development of the virtues. That said, some might doubt – in an age of science – the potential of works of art to serve as credible sources of knowledge. There are, for instance, both ancient arguments for the view that poetry and other arts are more conducive to moral corruption than improvement, and modern claims to the effect that the aesthetic purposes of the arts have little to do with moral value or concern.

While, perhaps in light of these more sceptical considerations, moral education through the arts in contemporary schooling seems to have been somewhat neglected, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues has lately sought to uphold and promote such an approach in various projects. Still, there is clearly a need for further clarifying the role of the arts in character education, by considering a variety of questions: Can imaginative art be said to have any moral significance or purpose? In what sense might different art forms contribute to knowledge? How might one distinguish morally insightful from morally dubious art? Can there be character educational value in non-narrative art (such as music)? How might the arts be taught in a moral educational way? And so on.

This Jubilee Centre conference on the arts and character education – scheduled to take place between the 19th-21st July 2018, at the University of Birmingham – will seek to address all of these, and more, questions, with the help of such distinguished keynote speakers as Karen Bohlin, Noel Carroll, Matthew Kieran, and James O. Young (NB. full list of keynote speakers TBC).

To this end, proposals for 30-minute paper presentations or symposia are warmly invited from all interested parties for participation in this important and timely event. We ask interested parties to send an abstract of about 500 words to jubileecentrepapers@contacts.bham.ac.uk (marked ARTS PROPOSAL in the subject line) before 10th February, 2018. We will send out notifications of acceptance by the 5th March, 2018. Details about conference fees, student and/or early-career subsidies, and payment methods will be provided in due course.

This conference is made possible through the generous support of the British Society of Aesthetics and the Mind Association.

Honors for Candace Vogler!

vhml-candace-vogler-photo-by-marc-monaghan20150918_0001_1We’re thrilled to announce two honors for our co-principal investigator Candace Vogler.

She has been named the Virtue Theory Chair for the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, and now holds an appointment to the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

The Royal Institute of Philosophy is a charity dedicated to the advancement of philosophy in all its branches through the organisation and promotion of teaching, discussion and research of all things philosophical. The Institute is not committed to any particular philosophical school or method or, of course, any ideology.

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The Royal Institute of Philosophy

The Institute’s 1925 ‘Memorandum of Association’ states the objects of the Institute: ‘to organise and promote by teaching, discussion and research the advancement of Philosophical Studies’ and in particular ‘to provide for all classes and denominations, without any distinction whatsoever, opportunities and encouragement’. Throughout its history, the Institute has kept these objects in view.

The Jubilee Centre is a pioneering interdisciplinary research centre focussing on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing. The Centre promotes a moral concept of character in order to explore the importance of virtue for public and professional life. The Centre is a leading informant on policy and practice in this area and through its extensive range of projects contributes to a renewal of character virtues in both individuals and societies.

Jubilee Centre’s Deputy Director, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, said he is delighted to welcome Candace on board. “Knowing Candace as a person and as an academic, I am certain she is going to make a valuable contribution to the interdisciplinary research on character and virtues conducted in the Centre.”

Read more about the Jubilee Centre here. Read more about the Royal Institute of Philosophy here.

 

CFP: Muslim-Christian Workshop on Philosophy, Religion, and Science at the American University of Sharjah, March 2018

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Our co-principal investigator Jennifer A. Frey will give the keynote addresses
“Virtue and Happiness” and “Virtues and Meaning in Life” at the Muslim-Christian Workshop on Philosophy, Religion, and Science at the American University of Sharjah (College of Arts & Sciences) 14-17 March 2018.

The main objective of this workshop, the second in a series in the Middle East, is to bring scholars and young academics from the Muslim world and from the USA, trained in philosophy, religion and/or science, to benefit from in-depth lectures and discussions on issues at the interfaces of philosophy, religion, and science from both Islamic and Christian perspectives.

Scholars will give 1-hour lectures or 2-hour workshops to cover major topics, while 15-20 young academics (graduate students, early career professors) will present their selected research papers in 30 minutes each. The goal is for everyone, particularly the young academics, to benefit from multi-disciplinary and inter-religious perspectives and to identify new avenues of research.

The workshop will run over 4 days, March 14 to 17, 2018 not including arrival and departure days.

The submission deadline for papers is: January 21, 2018, possibly extendable to Jan. 31, 2018.

For more information, including paper submission details, visit https://islam-science.net/muslim-christian-workshop-on-philosophy-religion-and-science-at-the-aus-march-2018-3972/.

Gallantry and its discontents: Joan of Arc and virtuous transmasculinity in Radclyffe Hall and Vita Sackville-West

The medieval crossdressing warrior Joan of Arc became a popular figure during World War I and its aftermath, appearing in silent films, political posters, plays, novels, and speculative biographies. Her youthful idealism, chivalry, and courage associated her with young soldiers sacrificed on the field of battle, and her canonization in 1920 made official the centuries-old veneration of her as a virgin martyr. Modern figurations of Joan emphasize the ethical dimensions of her transmasculinity, where queer gender identity and desire are actively engaged in the struggle to build a more tolerant world. Looking at Cecil B. DeMille’s film Joan the Woman (1916), Radclyffe Hall’s novels The Unlit Lamp (1924) and The Well of Loneliness (1928), and Vita Sackville-West’s biography Saint Joan of Arc (1936), I argue that Joan’s chivalry and saintliness model an ethical transmasculine gender that emerges in wartime, but gradually shows up elsewhere in modernism to insist on queer social justice, fighting “for the good of all.”

Excerpt

The production of Joan during the Great War and its aftermath as a figure of what I am calling virtuous transmasculinity offered her gender comportment – gallant chivalry, courage, fortitude, and self-sacrifice – as a noble way of being queer. Joan’s youth – she was only 19 when she died – made her a powerful symbol of martyred innocence to the young Allied soldiers fighting at Verdun and the Somme. Viewed as a paragon of virtue at least 1400, when Christine de Pisan praised her for doing what 5000 men could not do by saving France, Joan of ArcJoan became the “perfect” World War I propaganda tool, according to recent film historians, because she embodied the nobility of sacrifice, and linked the deaths of soldiers to abstract ideals of “eternal greatness.” Joan’s transmasculine saintliness helped bring together traditional discourses of virtue with newer discourses of sexology and psychoanalysis, including the work of Freud, who increasingly sought to reconcile a wider range of sexual and gender behavior with the greater good, and whose famous text about lesbian desire and transmasculine chivalry, “Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman,” was published the same year Joan was canonized.

 

 
 

Jaime Hovey is Associate Program Director for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

 

Congratulations to our scholar Howard Nusbaum!

Congratulations to our scholar Howard Nusbaum, who has been named the Stella M. Rowley Professor in the Department of Psychology and the College at the University of Chicago.

headshot-nusbaumNusbaum is internationally recognized for his multi-disciplinary studies of the nature of wisdom and the cognitive and neural mechanisms that mediate communication and thinking. Nusbaum’s past research has investigated the effects of sleep on learning, adaptive processes in language learning and the neural mechanisms of speech communication. His current research investigates how experience can increase wisdom and produce changes in insight and economic decisions, and examines the role of sleep in cognitive creativity and abstraction.

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Howard Nusbaum discusses with Candace Vogler “Being Wise and Being Good” June 6 at the University of Chicago.

Nusbaum is the director of the Center for Practical Wisdom and a member of the executive committee of the new Computational Social Science program, which he played an instrumental role in creating. From 1997-2010, he served as the chair of the Department of Psychology. He has also served as co-director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and as a steering committee member of the Neuroscience Institute. In 2012, Nusbaum was honored with the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and he received the Future Faculty Mentorship Award in 2007. He has just completed a two-year term as the division director for Division of Social, Behavioral and Economics Sciences at the National Science Foundation.


This post originally appeared on UChicago News December 27, 2017. Full article link here.

New and forthcoming books by our scholars

9781107155329Michael Gorman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Catholic University of America is the author of Aquinas on the Metaphysics of the Hypostatic Union, June 2017, Cambridge University Press.

Kristján Kristjánsson, Deputy Director in the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics at the University of Birmingham, is the author of Virtuous Emotions, forthcoming in May 2018, Oxford University Press.

Heather C. Lench, Associate Professor & Department Head, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University, is an editor on the volume Functions of Emotion, Springer, in January 2018.

 

51fVH4MrJuL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg514VAhuihzL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOwen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University is the author of The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral PossibilityOxford University Press, 2017 and co-editor of The Moral Psychology of Anger, forthcoming from Rowman and Littlefield.

 

 

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Nancy Snow, Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, edited The Oxford Handbook of Virtue, Oxford University Press; it includes a chapter on Aquinas by Candace Vogler.

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 Paul T. P. Wong,Founding President of the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute, Inc., has a chapter in The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology, edited by Nicholas J. L. Brown, Tim Lomas, Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa. London, UK: Routledge.