Initiative on Campus Dialogues visits First Year Experience

On Monday Oct 23, Hilary Bogert-Winkler, Brendan Kane and Dana Miranda led a dialogue exercise with the training class for FYE Mentors (EPSY 3020). The goal was to give the experience of intellectually humble, structured dialogue and then discuss best practices for implementation. Our great thanks to the 140 or so undergraduate Mentors – wishing you all best! – and to Sarah Scheidel (FYE Program Manager) for the invitation. We look forward to continued partnership.


Teaching Humility in an Age of Arrogance

“Humility” isn’t a word that most academics — or Americans — identify with. Indeed, if there is a single attitude most closely associated with our culture, it’s the opposite of humility. The defining trait of the age seems to be arrogance — in particular, the kind of arrogance personified by our tweeter in chief; the arrogance of thinking that you know it all and that you don’t need to improve because you are just so great already…

Read the full story at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Quiet Power of Humility | Peter Wehner at NYTimes

The Quiet Power of Humility

April 15, 2017

“Over breakfast with a social psychologist I know, I asked him what constructive contribution Christians could make to public life. An atheist who finds much to admire in religion, he answered simply: “Humility.”

That is a perfectly reasonable hope. Unfortunately, however, humility is a neglected Christian virtue. This is rather odd, given that humility should be a defining trait of Christians. The resurrection, celebrated by Christians throughout the world on Easter Sunday, was made possible only by an act of unsurpassed humility…”

Read the full piece by Peter Wehner at the NYTimes here.

Talk by John Duffy (Notre Dame). Radical Humilities: Post-Truth, Ethics, and the Teaching of Writing

April 7, 12:00-1:30 PM

Student Union 330 (Student Union Ballroom) Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing


The notion of “post-truth,” declared by the editors of Oxford Dictionaries as the 2016 international word of the year and “one of the defining words of our time,” speaks to the social and cultural trends in which there is no widely shared agreement as to the nature of a fact, or what counts as factual evidence, or how to interpret what evidence may be presented. The result is a polarized public discourse in which the meaning of such terms as truthfulness, accountability, open-mindedness, and intellectual integrity seem increasingly out of reach.

In his talk, John Duffy of the University of Notre Dame explores what it means to be an ethical writer in an age of “post-truth” and the indispensable role of of teachers of writing in addressing the fractured condition of public argument in the United States

From the community Hartford Public Library, UConn and Atheneum Launch Encounters, A New Discussion Series, Feb. 4

What’s in a name? The creation of the United States of America made us a democracy and a republic. That creation story and the players in it are very much with us. “Hamilton,” is one of the biggest Broadway hits and presents founders Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr as flesh and blood men. With their flashes of brilliance and crippling personal deficits they invent a new government.
Politics has occupied public attention for the past year as we elected a new U.S. president. So a deeper dive into documents created by our founders is especially timely.
The Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute, are launching a community engagement partnership with a new discussion series called Encounters. The partners will provide discussion leaders to engage in topics aimed at strengthening our ability to know ourselves and one another through respectful and challenging dialogue. This February and March, Encounters will focus on the fundamental documents that define our democracy.

go to the full article

Get to Know Our Fellows: Four Questions with Ufuk Topkara

Ufuk Topkara is a residential research fellow with the Humanities Institute’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project

H&C: What is your academic background and what is your current position in UCHI/at UConn/Your Home Institution?
UT: I received a master’s degree in history from the Humboldt University, Berlin and am completing my doctoral dissertation with the Graduate School of Islamic Theology in Germany. I am a 2017 residential fellow at UCHI.
H&C: What is the project you’re currently working on?
UT: My research centers on the convergence of reason and revelation. I bring Islamic Theology into discourse with Modern Philosophy. This is both the subject of my doctoral dissertation, as well as theoretical and methodological articles that I am currently preparing for publication.
H&C: How did you arrive at this topic?
UT: Both my academic and personal background draw from multiple traditions. I have always been interested in how disciplines can inform and strengthen one another. I also remain dedicated to the translation of academic work for diverse broader populaces, which is a key aspect of my major intellectual project.
H&C: What impact might your work have on a larger public understanding of your topic?
UT: I believe that my work could help society to look at two intellectual and social traditions often misperceived as diametrically opposed to one another (Islamic Theology and Modern Philosophy) as both complementary and complicating simplistic discourses on religion and secularity. I also feel that by providing an initial methodological model that unites these two disciplines, other theologians could apply and expand our understandings of the interrelation between reason and revelation. This is especially important at a time in which much of European and American society feels discomfort with/disconnected from the religion of Islam.