Continuing the Conversation

Questions, Thoughts, and Quotes from the 8th Annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts

Abridged Conversation Unabridged Conversation Conversation Overview


Professor Lisa DeBoer (Art History, Westmont) contributed:

"I was struck by the relationship between notions of ‘academic freedom’ as they developed over the course of the first half of the century, and loss of an educational core (in which political education was seen to reside) in the second half.  To quote two different poet/lyricists:  “Freedom’s just another name for ‘nothing left to lose’” and “What you thought was freedom is just greed.”  There’s been some work done on academic freedom at religious institutions, but it seems to me Westmont could make more use of this for our own self-understanding, as well as for our self-representation." [read more...]


Professor Mark McIntire (Philosophy, Santa Barbara City College) contributed:

"Sometimes conversations are enlightening and poignant by what is not said and how it is not said. Although our conversation made bright lines along the history of political education as seen through the liberal arts a synthesis did not emerge. No argument was made for universal conceptual principles that do not change under political pressures as the faces in the ‘mirror’ so often do. Do such universal and timeless concepts even exist?" [read more...]



Angela D'Amour (Director of Campus Life, Westmont) contributed:

"The catch 22 for the liberal arts institution's aim to educate students for civic involvement is that it is only so far as it involves non-partisan support. It's tricky when we're trying to develop passion in students for democratic processes but only so far as they can never truly align with a particular political candidate.

We must retain our neutrality, but it's difficult to develop true interest and passion with neutrality. " [read more...]


Chris Callaway (Philosophy, Saint Joesph's College of Maine) contributed:

"What sort of normative assumptions about democracy and citizenship lie behind various civic educational initiatives, or behind the idea of civic education itself? For example, is it premised on a claim about the value of civic engagement for living well (a la civic republicanism) or on a view of political obligation? If so, is that a problem?" [read more...]


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