ICC_ACTC_callForPapers_Topic rationale

Topic rationale

Recent debates on higher education are focusing on interdisciplinarity and problem-solving skills, but tend to forget the classic goals of a liberal education, namely, personal growth and the engagement with the fundamental questions of being human.

The reading of core texts – i.e. classic texts from philosophical, historical, literary, cultural, or scientific traditions involving ‘the best that has been written’ – eminently allows for a reflection on the great questions of human existence. They allow the student to develop certain intellectual dispositions or character traits whereby the student gains agency in navigating the different knowledge areas within the realm of the university and life outside it.

One could argue that core text education does so because it shapes the student as human being and facilitates the development of certain moral and intellectual dispositions or virtues. For example, reading a core text invites a sense of wonder and the capacity to amaze oneself; it requires charity to make sense of certain assumptions, expectations and a world view in a core text that may initially seem foreign; it presupposes courage to be open-minded and to withhold judgment, and core texts inherently train a kind of intellectual discipline as they tend to be demanding, requiring a significant dose of tenacity, depth, and reflection. Furthermore, core texts can be said to promote self-knowledge when they act as a mirror to one’s own dispositions and deeply held beliefs. As students immerse themselves in a core text they inherently become at home in it and, returning to their own world from what is other they are (trans)formed in their view of the world. As students change, they change the world around them.

The training of these virtues may be reflected not only in the relationship between the reader and the text but also between the readers – students and teachers – in the classroom. Here, core texts discussions train the virtues of charity in allowing one another to speak freely, the courage in opening up about one’s own dearly held beliefs, and the open-mindedness in withholding judgment of the opinions of one’s peers. As such, core texts can create an intellectual community and even friendship, despite real and important differences.

Since all these questions have practical implications for the students’ (and teachers’) lives, they cannot be restricted to the classroom. It should be encouraged to look for answers in experience and life. The kind of community that liberal arts colleges and universities create offers an ideal setting for this. In a community, virtues can be learned and exercised. Properly speaking, virtues cannot be taught, but teachers and other students can act as midwives, both intellectually (through conversations in and outside the classroom) and practically (through their example and interaction).

Can core text education train the virtues and, in this way, promote intellectual development and personal growth, resulting in students who are engaged with, and care for, the world? And, if so, how, and which virtues? Which virtues or vices are discussed in particular core texts? How does core text education promote community?

The conference invites proposals on any topic related to liberal arts and core texts education. However, in line with the focus of the conference we are especially keen to receive paper proposals that address the role of character education in universities and, particularly, those proposals that connect core texts to the formation of character, both in the core texts themselves and in core text education.

ICC_ACTC_callForPapers_desplegable

The conference invites proposals on any topic related to liberal arts and core texts education. However, in line with the focus of the conference we are especially keen to receive paper proposals that address the role of character education in universities and, particularly, those proposals that connect core texts to the formation of character, both in the core texts themselves and in core text education. 

Papers are required to be seminar style essays: approximately 5 pages double spaced (some 2.000 words). The usual presentation time allotted to each paper is 20 minutes (including Q&A) . The language of the conference, including contributed papers, is English.

Submissions

The deadline for paper proposals and / or panel proposals has been extended to Monday, 1 July 2019 (midnight). Proposals are submitted by sending the following information to coreconference@unav.es:

  • Your name, affiliation and e-mail address.

  • A title for the paper(s).

  • An abstract for the paper (max. 500 words).

  • For panel proposals only: a title for and description of the panel theme (max. 250 words).

You will be notified whether your proposal can be accommodated before 20 July 2019. For questions or further information about the conference, please contact coreconference@unav.es or a member of the organizing committee.

Undergraduate students may send paper proposals. There will be special panels for them. Please, indicate clearly if you are an undergraduate student.

Publication

Selected contributed papers will be considered for publication in a volume on "Learning about character in universities using core texts". The Scientific Committee will evaluate proposals with the following criteria:

  • The topic of the paper is related to "Learning about character in universities using core texts".

  • The quality of the foundation of the theoretical framework and the methodology used.

  • Scope of the results.

  • Quality of the discussion and conclusions.

Important dates

10 January 2020: submit a 2.000 word proposal, not including bibliography (plus a 300 words abstract) to coreconference@unav.es. Please send a PDF file.

10 March 2020: response to authors, after peer-review by the Scientific Committee

10 June 2020: submit final 8.000 word paper

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Contact

Edificio Central, segunda planta
Campus Universitario s/n

31080 Pamplona, España

 

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