Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts

Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts

9th Annual Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts

The "Perennial Quarrel" between Poetry and Philosophy

Friday, October 27 - Saturday, October 28, 2023

Dr. Anthony EsolenKeynote Speaker: Dr. Anthony Esolen

Dr. Anthony Esolen is a highly acclaimed lecturer, rhetorician, and writer. He is moreover a talented social commentator, translator of classical poetry, and professor of English Renaissance and classical literature. Among his books are Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World, and most recently The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a specialist in Dante and has published a translation of the three parts of the Comedia. He has also translated Lucretius' On the Nature of Things. Dr. Esolen holds his Master's and Ph.D. in Renaissance Literature from UNC Chapel Hill. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Thales College.

Dr. Esolen is also a regular contributor to Magnificat where his beautiful prose uplifts many a praying Catholic. Be sure to visit his new website, Word and Song, which in his own words "is the place to go for meditations on the beauty and sometimes the wildness of the English language, on English poetry and hymns, and on the sometimes forgotten gems of the Golden Age of film."

Dr. Glenn ArberyClosing Keynote Speaker: Dr. Glenn Arbery

Dr. Glenn Arbery   has a wonderful history with University of Dallas. A convert at 25, he entered the Church at UD, where he met his wife-to-be, Virginia Lombardo, and later took his Ph.D. in Literature and Politics. He has taught literature at the University of St. Thomas in Houston; Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire; the University of Dallas (through the Dallas Institute); and Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he held the d’Alzon Chair of Liberal Education. In 2013, he and his wife Virginia, also a Ph.D. from UD, went to Wyoming Catholic College to teach Humanities, Trivium, and Philosophy. Dr. Arbery became president of Wyoming Catholic in 2016.

Dr. Arbery has served as Director of the Teachers Academy at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and as an editor at People Newspapers in Dallas, where he won regional and national awards for his writing. In addition to numerous essays and reviews, he has published two volumes with ISI Books,   Why Literature Matters  and   The Southern Critics , editor. He is also the editor of   The Tragic Abyss  for the Dallas Institute Press and   Augustine’s Confessions and Its Influence , St. Augustine Press. His novel   Bearings and Distances  was published by Wiseblood Books in 2015, and his second,   Boundaries of Eden , was published in 2020. He and his wife Virginia have eight children and twenty-four grandchildren


About the Conference

The theme for the 9th Annual BCLA is "The 'Perennial Quarrel' between Poetry and Philosophy."  We understand poetry in the ancient Greek sense of poiesis, that is, as knowledge made manifest in producing something. Hence, our conference will explore poiesis and how it harmonizes -- or even conflicts -- with philosophy. We welcome the attendance of professors, graduate students, and undergraduates in any discipline in the humanities or the sciences. Our speakers and panelists — professional and graduate scholars from multifarious disciplines in the humanities or sciences — will present papers either relating the theme to their artistic craft (e.g. in the fine arts, music, theater, engineering, or architecture), or explore philosophical, literary or political implications of this seeming 'quarrel' between the life of praxis and the life of theoria.

The conference will take place at the University of Dallas, located in Irving, TX. 


Information forthcoming. 

Call for Papers

The Braniff Graduate Student Association of the University of Dallas is pleased to announce the 9th Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts. The conference takes up, this year, the “Perennial Quarrel” between Poetry and Philosophy.

Having banished poetry from the kallipolis of Plato’s Republic, Socrates, in Book X, doubles back to the subject. “In case we are charged with a certain harshness and lack of sophistication,” he says, “let’s also tell poetry that there’s an ancient quarrel between it and philosophy.” If poetry can prove, he continues, that “it ought to have a place in a well-governed city, we would,” he concludes, “be glad to admit it.” (Republic X, 607b-c.)

What is the “ancient quarrel” to which Socrates refers? How has it played out over the millennia, whether in or out of the tradition? What distinguishes poetry, interpreted broadly as poiesis, from philosophy? Which can more fully grasp truth, or wisdom? What sorts of insights can each attain? Which figures from the tradition are poets, and which are philosophers? Can an author be both? How do poetry and philosophy properly relate? On what basis can we make that judgment?

We invite scholars working in the liberal and fine arts to submit abstracts of no more than 500 words that consider questions related to the nature of poetry and philosophy, and especially the relationship between the two, from any time period and cultural context. Adopting an interpretation of poiesis that extends beyond the literary to the musical and plastic arts, we also encourage submissions by practitioners who are willing to reflect upon the nature of their own media. Papers may adopt a stance from within a single discipline, attempt to establish a neutral or overarching perspective, and/or exposit the thought of a particular author on these issues. We do ask that each proposal exhibit an awareness of its own evaluative standpoint.

Preference will be given to those working in the liberal and fine arts disciplines including—but not limited to—philosophy, literature, politics, theology, history, psychology, music, drama, painting, sculpting, print-making, and cinema. The conference committee will invite select presenters to submit their papers to Ramify: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of the Liberal Arts.

Please submit abstracts to Abstracts should be prepared for blind review. Please include a separate cover letter with your name, paper title, email address, and institutional affiliation.

The deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to Tuesday, September 12. Presenters will be notified of their acceptance by Monday, September 18th and will be asked to submit their full papers, suitable for a 15-minute presentation (no more than 2,500 words), by Wednesday, October 18th.

Conference Program

Previous Conferences

  • 8th Annual BCLA: For Every Time, a Season | Keynote Speaker: Andrew Williard Jones, Ph.D., Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • 7th Annual BCLA: Solitude and Community | Keynote Speaker: Mark T. Mitchell, Ph.D., Patrick Henry College
  • 6th Annual BCLA: Nature and Human Flourishing | Keynote Speaker: Jason Baxter, Ph.D., Wyomic Catholic College
  • 5th Annual BCLA: Scripture and the Disciplines | Keynote Speaker: Michael Waldstein, Ph.D., Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • 4th Annual BCLA: What is Imagination? | Keynote Speaker: Eva Brann, Ph.D., St. John's College
  • 3rd Annual BCLA: On Friendship | Keynote speaker: Ronna Burger, Philosophy, Tulane University
  • 2nd Annual BCLA: On Philosophy and Poetry | Keynote speaker: Ron Smith, Poet Laureate of Virginia
  • Proceedings from the 1st Annual BCLA: On Reason and Revelation, were published by Ramify. The keynote speaker was Khalil Habib, Philosophy, Salve Regina University