Influencing politics through culture

THE ACADEMY OF PHILOSOPHY AND LETTERS was founded in recognition that the direction of society is set by its most deeply held beliefs and aspirations. These are molded by culture in the broad sense, as represented by universities, the arts, churches, publishing, museums, and entertainment. Acting on the minds, imaginations, and moral-spiritual sensibilities of a society’s members, the culture shapes their general perception of reality and their likes and dislikes—for good or ill. Politics does not operate independently of the culture but reflects it. Though politics can also shape culture, being able to exert educational and other cultural influence is ultimately more important than winning elections. Major and long-range change presupposes a transformation of the culture. Read More.


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COMING UP: APL Annual Conference, June 1-3, 2018

The Academy of Philosophy and Letters will host its 2018 annual conference on “Populism and the Failure of Elites.”  It is no secret that political events of the past two years, including Brexit and Donald Trump’s nomination and election, have thrown a spotlight on “populism.”  Long a neglected topic, there is now widespread recognition of the importance of understanding what populism is, whether it is truly rising, and precisely what this means, for good or for ill.  The apparent rise of populism has likewise highlighted failures of elites.  While most obvious was the failure of elites to grasp public sentiment enough even to anticipate the victories of either Brexit or Trump, more important was the fact that those victories reflected longstanding, profound failures of elite governance and of elite economic and cultural dominance.  But who exactly are these elites, how and why have they failed, and how do we move forward?

Speakers include Julius Krein (Editor, American Affairs), Joshua Mitchell (Georgetown University), and Michael Glennon (Tufts University). See Complete Conference Schedule.

Register now.