Western Civilization and the Academy

Friday, April 12, 2013
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Fred Rogers Center
Event Type
Mary Beth McConahey
Center for Political and Economic Thought


Western Civilization and the Academy

April 11th, 12th, and 13th


A 3-Day Culture and Policy Conference

by the

Center for Political and Economic Thought

in cooperation with the

Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government


According to a recent study by the National Association of Scholars entitled The Vanishing West, undergraduate survey courses in the history and Great Books of Western civilization have all but disappeared from America’s top colleges. Such curricular change is likely symptomatic of a larger indifference or even antipathy toward the study of Western civilization at most institutions of higher learning. The NAS study concluded that “Over the last half century...American higher education has largely abandoned its narration of Western Civilization’s story.” Alternative narratives—including “multiculturalism,” “diversity,” and “sustainability”—have come to the fore in the stead of Western civilization. The present conference, on “Western Civilization and the Academy,” is designed to explore the roots, extent, and long-term consequences of such an educational climate. How and why did undergraduate education turn its back on what was once an important component of its mission? To what extent has such change affected—negatively or positively—the experience of undergraduates and the ability of colleges to educate citizens of a constitutional republic? What are the likely individual and social outcomes of such a shift in educational priorities?


Admission is free and open to the public.


All lectures will take place in the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College.


For more information or to pre-register, please write to marybeth.mcconahey@email.stvincent.edu





Fred Rogers Center


7:30 PM          Can the Humanities Be Saved?

Bruce Cole, Ethics and Public Policy Center




Fred Rogers Center


8:00 AM         Conference Registration and Continental Breakfast


8:20 AM         Welcoming Remarks

                        Bradley C.S. Watson, Co-Director, Center for Political and Economic Thought


8:30 AM         Abounding Anomalies: On the Fragility of the Western Achievement

Stephen Balch, Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, Texas Tech


9:30 AM         One Civilization Among Many? Academic Reflections on the West and the Rest

Daniel Mahoney, Assumption College


10:30 AM       Life Under Compulsion, or Rejecting the Glorious Liberty of the Children of God

Anthony Esolen, Providence College


11:30 AM       LUNCH BREAK


12:30 PM        The Idea of a University?

Anthony O’Hear, University of Buckingham


1:30 PM          The Rise of the Universities and the Revolution of the Middle Ages

Toby Huff, Harvard University




Fred Rogers Center


12:45 PM        Conference Registration


1:00 PM          Moral Formation and the Study of Western Civilization: Can Virtue Be Taught?

Robert Koons, University of Texas at Austin 


2:00 PM          Dramatizing Morality in Undergraduate Education

Norma Thompson, Yale College


3:00 PM          The Connection Between Liberal and Civic Education

                        Patrick Deneen, University of Notre Dame


For more conference information, including speaker bios, please visit:  http://www.stvincent.edu/uploadedFiles/Majors_and_Programs/Centers_and_Institutes/Center_for_Political_and_Economic_Thought/Content/Western-Civilization-and-the-Academy.pdf



The Center for Political and Economic Thought is an interdisciplinary public affairs institution of Saint Vincent College. It sponsors research and education programs, primarily in the fields of politics, economics, and moral-cultural affairs. The Center seeks to advance scholarship on philosophical and policy concerns related to freedom and Western civilization with particular regard to the American experience. The Center was founded in 1991 as an outgrowth of the Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, which was launched in 1986. The Center’s programs include: The Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, the Government and Political Education Series, the Civitas Forum on Principles and Policies for Public Life, Culture and Policy Conferences, and Scholarships and Fellowships. In addition, the Center supports research and educational activities through its staff and produces numerous publications. The Center is part of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government.



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