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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CALL FOR PAPERS: APL Annual Conference 2019

America the Beautiful?
June 7-9, 2019, Revival Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland

This years’ conference theme is “America the Beautiful?”  Much about the U.S. has long been recognized as beautiful, and much has not.  Beauty—and ugliness—take many forms, and are encountered in many ways:  in artistic works and the natural and built environment, in the broader culture and American society, and in the workings of American democracy and operations of government, institutions, and business.  How do we recognize beauty—and its absence?  What roles do beauty and ugliness play in our lives, and in the life of our nation?  How do we preserve and foster what is beautiful about America?  How do we create beauty where it is lacking?

In additional to several exciting guest speakers, there will of course be discussion panels at the 2019 conference.  We invite proposals, both from members and from potential guests, to participate on panels.  Participation will take the form of a cogent, polished presentation of ten to fifteen minutes (to be specified) on a specific topic, followed by panel discussion and audience Q&A.

A proposal for panel participation should consist of proposed title and a relatively brief but precise explanation of your intended topic and approach.  We welcome proposals drawn from diverse academic disciplines:  philosophy, literature, history, political science, etc., as well as from varied forms of “real-world” experience.

We welcome proposal submissions to APL related to the questions above.  The precise structure of panels will be determined when the program is assembled, but our working themes are:

  1. Beauty (or ugliness) and the arts, imagination, culture, and aesthetic experience.
  2. Beauty (or ugliness) in American civil society, the family, religion, and education.
  3. Beauty (or ugliness) in law, policy, governance, and the political order.
  4.  Beauty (or ugliness) in foreign policy, particularly intervention, executive power, and American empire.

Presentation proposals should be sent by December 31, as MS Word files to  Please start your subject line with “APL Proposal.” Also, include at the top of your proposal the above theme or themes for which you believe it is best suited.  If you have any reason to believe that you might not be able to attend the entire conference, it is important to indicate your availability constraints.