This Week: Western Civilization and the Academy Conference

Crystal Plum

Saint Vincent College's Center for Political and Economic Thought is hosting a conference on Western Civilization and the Academy this Thursday-Saturday, April 11-13, 2013, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

This event will be of interest to many NAS members. The topics of discussion are directly connected to and based on NAS's report published in May 2011, The Vanishing West 1964-2010: The Disappearance of Western Civilization from the American Undergraduate Curriculum. Founder and former president of NAS Stephen Balch will be speaking. Other speakers include NAS trustees Robert Koons and Bradley Watson, as well as Patrick Deneen, a contributor to NAS's journal Academic Questions. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will give the keynote address. 

Conference registration is free. You may register by emailing Mary Beth McConahey at [email protected]

Download the PDF for the schedule of events and full list of speakers. 

Conference description:

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?

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