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Spring 2021 Humanities Forum

Spring 2021 Events

Glenn Loury

Equality of Representation vs. Equality of Respect

Friday, Feb. 12, 3-4 p.m.
In collaboration with The Frederick Douglass Project at Providence College and with the support of the Jack Miller Center

Glenn Loury, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Economics, Brown University

Glenn C. Loury is Merton P. Stoltz Professor of Economics at Brown University. He has published widely and lectured throughout the world. He is also among America’s leading critics writing on racial inequality. He has been elected a distinguished fellow of the American Economics Association, a member of the American Philosophical Society and of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Darryl Davis

Accidental Courtesy: Race in America

Friday, March 5, 3-4 p.m.
In collaboration with Campus Ministry

Daryl Davis, Musician and Activist, Featured in the 2016 documentary Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America

Musician and race reconciliation activist Daryl Davis has directly inspired more than two hundred white supremacists to renounce their ideology. His encounters with Klansmen and neo-Nazis are detailed in his documentary Accidental Courtesy and book Klan-Destine Relationships. His second book The Klan Whisperer will be released this year. He tours internationally performing music and lecturing on race reconciliation.

A recording of this event is accessible at the following link for all current members of the Providence College community:

Bryan Garsten

Demagoguery and Self-Government

Friday, March 12, 3-4 p.m.
In collaboration with The Frederick Douglass Project at Providence College and with the Support of the Jack Miller Center

Bryan Garsten, Professor of Political Science and Humanities and Chair of the Humanities Program, Yale University

Bryan Garsten is professor of political science and the humanities and chair of the humanities program at Yale University.  He is the author of Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2006) as well as articles on political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life. A leader in education as well as political science, Garsten is the founder of the Citizens, Thinkers, Writers program for students in New Haven, C.T. public schools.

Robert Putnam

The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again

Friday, March 19, 3-4 p.m.

Robert Putnam is the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He is a leading political scientist recognized by the Skytte Prize — the world’s highest accolade for a political scientist. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal. His books have been translated into twenty languages. Alumni of his small “Community in America” seminar at Harvard have gone on to distinguished careers in civil service and public life. Putnam retired from active teaching in 2018.

Shaylyn Romney Garrett

Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s work offers uniquely revealing portraits of communities across the United States. A founding contributor to Aspen Institute’s initiative, Weave: The Social Fabric Project, her writing has been featured in Time magazine and The New York Times. A social entrepreneur, she co-founded Think Unlimited with her husband to catalyze social innovation in the Middle East. She speaks Arabic and partnered with Queen Rania Al-Abdullah to introduce curriculum on creativity and critical thinking to Jordanian public schools.

Reinventing the Past:  Late-Colonial Nahua Memories of the Spanish Invasion

Friday, March 26, 3-4:30 p.m.
In collaboration with Latin American and Latina/o Studies and the Department of Foreign Language Studies

Robert Haskett earned a Ph.D. in the field of Mesoamerican Ethnohistory at UCLA under the mentorship of James Lockhart and, after a 32-year career at the University of Oregon, he is now enjoying life as an active Emeritus Professor of History. He has a particular interest in the history of early Mexico, centered on the experiences of its indigenous peoples in the face of the Spanish invasion and under colonial rule. He has made extensive use of archival records written in the Nahuatl (i.e. Aztec) language as it was written in alphabetic letters after 1521.

Stephanie Wood

Stephanie Wood is a major figure in what historian Matthew Restall has called the “New Conquest History” of Mexico. Her landmark book in this approach, Transcending Conquest (2007), asked that we reconsider the language and perspectives that mark the colonization enterprise, drawing more from Indigenous-authored pictorial and textual manuscripts to bring needed balance to the conquistadores’ accounts.  Her on-going work continues to give more attention to Native agency in defending communities and territories and resisting impositions.

Margarita Mooney

Symposium on John Henry Newman’s A Benedictine Education

Friday, April 9, 3-4:30 p.m.
In collaboration with Cluny Media and the Portsmouth Institute

Margarita Mooney is a sociologist of religion and associate professor of congregational studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. She explores how religious beliefs and congregations facilitate immigration integration, and how religious beliefs and practices contribute to congregants’ health and well-being. A practicing Roman Catholic, her current research for a forthcoming book, Living a Broken Life, Beautifully, combines both quantitative and qualitative research data in exploring the relationship between religion, moral meaning, and resilience.

Christopher Fisher

Christopher Fisher is Executive Director of the Portsmouth Institute for Faith and Culture, a Benedictine center for the Catholic intellectual and contemplative life at Portsmouth Abbey (R.I.) and Saint Louis Abbey (Mo.). He teaches in the Department of Humanities at Portsmouth Abbey School, a Catholic and Benedictine co-educational boarding school in Rhode Island. He is the editor of A Benedictine Education (Cluny, 2020)which presents two essays by John Henry Newman on St. Benedict and Benedictine education.

Fr. Paul Clarke, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology, Providence College

Holly Ordway

Tolkien’s Modern Reading

Friday, April 16, 3-4 p.m.

Holly Ordway, Professor of English, Houston Baptist University

Holly Ordway is the Cardinal Francis George Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute, and Visiting Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. She is the author of Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages (Word on Fire Academic, 2021), Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith (Emmaus Road, 2017). She is also a subject editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies and a published poet.

Reflective Practice and the Humanities

Elizabeth Kinsella

Friday, April 23, 3-4 p.m.
In collaboration with the Center for Engaged Learning

Elizabeth (Anne) Kinsella, McGill University

Dr. Elizabeth Anne Kinsella is a professor in the Institute of Health Sciences Education, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, at McGill University. Her research explores philosophical underpinnings of reflective practice as it relates to knowledge generation. Her research articulates a continuum of reflection that includes pragmatic reflection, embodied reflection, critical reflection, critical reflexivity, and receptive forms such as contemplation or mindfulness. A number of her projects explore the arts and humanities as a means to foster reflection. Dr. Kinsella has published more than 90 articles and book chapters. She has co-edited two books: Phronesis as Professional Knowledge: Practical Wisdom in the Professions; and Mobilizing Knowledge in Physiotherapy: Critical Reflections on Foundations and Practices. She is currently co-editing a collection on Embodiment and Professional Education: Body, Practice, Pedagogy.

A recording of this event is accessible at the following link for all current members of the Providence College community:

Diana Schaub

Learning to Love Lincoln: Frederick Douglass’s Journey from Grievance to Gratitude

Friday, May 7, 3-4 p.m.
In collaboration with The Frederick Douglass Project at Providence College and with the Support of the Jack Miller Center

Diana Schaub, Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Maryland

Diana Schaub is professor of political science at Loyola University Maryland and a visiting scholar in the social, cultural, and constitutional studies department at the American Enterprise Institute. She was the Garwood Teaching Fellow at Princeton University in 2011-12 and visiting professor of political theory in the government department at Harvard University in Fall 2018 and Fall 2020. She is the author of a book on Montesquieu and a coeditor (with Amy and Leon Kass) of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song. A member of the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, she also sits on the publication committee of National Affairs.

Additional/Partner Events

Disputed Question

“Fatherhood Begins in the Womb” 
April 20 at 7:00 p.m. 

emily st. john mandel

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of five novels, most recently The Glass Hotel. Her novel Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages. A previous novel, The Singer’s Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. 

Sponsored by: The Development of Western Civilization Program, the Humanities Forum, the English Department, the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, and the Center for Engaged Learning.   

Watch the Discussion

A recording of this event is accessible at the following link for all current members of the Providence College community:

Art is a Jealous God: The Imperative of Beauty for Human Happiness

A Discussion between Margarita Mooney and James Matthew Wilson

About the Event:

The popular saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” indicates a commonly-held assumption that all art is merely subjective. In this webinar with the Catholic poet and philosopher James Matthew Wilson, we will consider an alternative tradition of thought: art makes a claim on how we should live. To be happy requires experiencing beauty that reveals the splendor of the truth. Far from seeing beauty as something that is mere pleasing to our senses, only through a contemplative envisioning of truth through beauty can we really experience deep personal fulfillment and truly further justice, equality and freedom. Restoring a relationship between philosophy—thinking about why things exist and what the nature of those things is—and the practice of making art, poetry and literature is imperative for a culture where happiness, truth, beauty and the good have all become nothing but subjective matters of taste. Our dialogue will engage with philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and Jacques Maritain and writers like Dante and Umberto Eco, all of whom provide guides for how our experiences of beauty can lead to carefully considered and rational judgments which result in personal and communal flourishing. In education, communities of faith, and science, recovering the tradition of beauty as a path to truth and goodness is imperative to resist a purely utilitarian view of human life that radically narrows our deep inner core that longs for experiences where our hearts and our actions radiate the splendor of truth.