Robert Talisse is co-author of a new book coming out in Spring, 2020 entitled Political Argument in a Polarized Age: Reason and Democratic Life (Polity Books). Robert served as a member of the Humility and Conviction in Public Life’s advisory board and he is currently a professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. His current research concerns Democracy, Liberalism, Pluralism, Public Reason. His other research areas include contemporary political philosophy, pragmatism, and ethics.
University of Connecticut sociology professor and HCPL core faculty Ruth Braunstein has a new book entitled “Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America.” This edited volume explores how religion and religious convictions shape American political life, both as drivers of polarization and as agents of political engagement. Ruth’s other books include Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide and an edited volume entitled Religion and Progressive Activism: New Stories About Faith and Politics. She is also a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology.
The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UConn-UCHI) director and HCPL co-PI Michael Lynch joined MSNBC's Morning Joe and company to talk about his new book "Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture." His book examines the predominant way that social media is deployed in today's culture. Facebook and Twitter are not necessarily used to share facts, knowledge, or accurate information, but are rather avenues for us to express our public courage at those who do not share our convictions. Social media, arrogance, and personal convictions are the ingredients for an addictive drug that fans the flames of our public divisions and grounds us in our tribal affiliations: white nationalism and authoritarianism to the right, and identify politics and arrogant liberalism to the left. What's the solution? Perhaps a dose of humility. Michael Lynch is also the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of philosophy at UConn.
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.
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
UConn’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life project announces $2 million in fellowship grants for projects that will delve into newsrooms, classrooms and the halls of Congress
The Crisis of Care
Nancy Fraser, The New School
- Paper workshop, 2/7/12, 1:30-3pm. UCHI Conference room, Babbige Library 4th floor.
Please contact Fred Lee <email@example.com> for a copy of the paper.
From Exploitation to Expropriation: On Racial Oppression in Capitalist Society
- Public Lecture, 2/7/17, 3:30-5pm, Class of 1947 Room.
Abstract: Exploitation-centered conceptions of capitalism cannot explain its persistent entanglement with racial oppression. In their place, I suggest an expanded conception that also encompasses an ongoing but disavowed moment of expropriation; in so doing, I disclose (1) the crucial role played in capital accumulation by unfree, dependent labor and (2) the equally indispensable role of politically enforced status distinctions between free, exploitable citizen-workers and dependent, expropriable subjects. Treating such political distinctions as constitutive of capitalist society and as correlated with the “color line,” I demonstrate that the racialized subjection of those whom capital expropriates is a condition of possibility for the freedom of those whom it exploits.
Nancy Fraser is Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor at the New School for Social Research and is Vice-President and President-Elect of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. She is also Professor II at the Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo and holds the Chair in «Global Justice» at the Collège d’études mondiales, Paris. Her most recent books are Domination et anticipation: pour un renouveau de la critique, with Luc Boltanski (2014); Transnationalizing the Public Sphere: Nancy Fraser debates her Critics (2014); and Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis (2013).
Sponsored by the Political Theory Workshop, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Asian/Asian American Studies, Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute.
“Donald Trump’s inauguration heralds a new age of arrogance and says something sad and scary.” Read the full article here at the New York Times.
For years now, social critics (myself included) have decried a rising tide of American narcissism. We’ve warned against an overpraised, entitled, privileged culture. Get those participation trophies off my lawn! Yet, with the costs of narcissism well-known, some researchers are shifting their focus to narcissism’s antithesis–humility. These scientists want to discover if there are benefits to being humble. For instance, does humility improve academics or relationships or company bottom lines? Earlier this year, on Face the Nation, President-Elect Donald Trump said he was more humble than people knew, but he chose not to show it as a business strategy. Are humble leaders less successful? How might humility affect moral character? What might we lose, living in a less humble world?
Though there’s much research to be done, what scholars have already learned is enough for us to pause on our selfie-sticks and reflect.
Dictionaries often describe humility as low self-esteem, self-degradation and meekness. In a 2016 College of Charleston survey, 56% of 5th and 6th graders said that the humble are embarrassed, sad, lonely or shy. When adults are asked to recount an experience of humility, they often tell a story about a time when they were publicly humiliated.
The most humble rarely describe themselves as humble (that seems arrogant to them), but studies have shown that they aren’t embarrassed, humiliated or ashamed. No, they’re secure in their identity and higher in well-being. The humble are doing just great, thank you very much.
True humility, scientists have learned, is when someone has an accurate assessment of both his strengths and weaknesses, and he sees all this in the context of the larger whole. He’s a part of something far greater than he. He knows he isn’t the center of the universe. And he’s both grounded and liberated by this knowledge. Recognizing his abilities, he asks how he can contribute. Recognizing his flaws, he asks how he can grow.
Humility’s benefits turn out to be surprisingly concrete.
November 28, 2016
“Only a few days after the presidential election, the Oxford English Dictionary crowned its international word of the year: post-truth. The dictionary defined it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” To say that the term captured the zeitgeist of 2016 is a lexigraphical understatement. The word, the dictionary’s editors explained, had “gone from being a peripheral term to being a mainstay in political commentary.” ”
Read the full article here.