Celebrating our Sesquicentennial 1867-2017
University of Illinois Quadrangle
Celebrating our Sesquicentennial1867-2017
 

Humanities and Public Life

 

ABSTRACT:

A democracy, John Dewey wrote, "is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience." Perhaps then, the key institutions in a democratic society are not governmental but educational. At the heart of a democracy are practices and institutions that work to support communicative relations, and to cultivate in the citizenry the dispositions needed to participate in the conversation that is democracy. And within educational institutions, it is the arts and humanities that have consistently devoted themselves to addressing the plight of the public by cultivating the arts of conversation and the rigors of self-knowledge.

 

 

SPEAKERS:

Romand Coles

Romand Coles  

      • Australian Catholic University
        • Romand Coles is a scholar-activist who works at the intersections of continental and critical philosophy, radical democratic theory, and various modes of political organizing and activism.  Some of the central themes in his published work include: receptive generosity, dialogical ethics, and radical democracy; religion, secularism and pluralization; ecological thought and transformative action in the face of planetary catastrophe; social movements, protest, and broad-based political organizing; democratic educational transformation for commonwealth; action research and pedagogy; aesthetics and politics; and critical cosmopolitanism from below.  Before coming to the Institute for Social Justice, he served as the McAllister Endowed Chair and Director of the Program for Community, Culture, and Environment at Northern Arizona University, where he co-led a prominent initiative for educational transformation around grassroots democracy and sustainability.  During the two decades prior to that, he taught political theory and engaged in radical democratic political organizing at Duke University.  

Carolyn Rouse

Carolyn Rouse  

      • Princeton
        • Carolyn Rouse is a professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University. Her work explores the use of evidence to make particular claims about race and social inequality. She is the author of Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam, Uncertain Suffering: Racial Healthcare Disparities and Sickle Cell Disease and Televised Redemption: Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment. Her manuscript Development Hubris: Adventures Trying to Save the World examines discourses of charity and development and is tied to her own project building a high school in a fishing village in Ghana. In the summer of 2016 she began studying declining white life expectancies in rural California as a follow-up to her research on racial health disparities. In addition to being an anthropologist, Rouse is also a filmmaker. She has produced, directed, and/or edited a number of documentaries including Chicks in White Satin (1994), Purification to Prozac: Treating Mental Illness in Bali (1998), and Listening as a Radical Act: World Anthropologies and the Decentering of Western Thought (2015). As an extension of her commitment and training in visual anthropology, in the summer of 2016 she created the Ethnographic Data Visualization Lab (VizE Lab) to work with students and colleagues on ways to visualize complex ethnographic data.  One project she is currently working on through the lab brings together 60 years of biological data with 60 years of social scientific data to study epigenetic effects on physical development.

Elaine Scarry

Elaine Scarry  

      • Harvard University
        • Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and General Theory of Value; Harvard College Professor