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Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts

7th Annual Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts | Solitude and Community | Updated Schedule: March. 5-6, 2021

Mark T. Mitchell, Patrick Henry College
Keynote Speaker: Mark T. Mitchell, Ph.D. | Patrick Henry College

Mark T. Mitchell is Dean of Academic Affairs at Patrick Henry College where he also teaches courses on political theory. He is the author of several books including Power and Purity: The Unholy Marriage that Spawned America’s Social Justice Warriors; The Limits of Liberalism: Tradition, Individualism, and the Crisis of Freedom; The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age, and Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing. He is co-editor of Localism in the Mass Age: A Front Porch Republic Manifesto and The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. He is the co-founder of the web-zine Front Porch Republic

In 2008-2009, he was a fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is one of the principal authors of the Open Letter, Liberty and Justice For All.



Mark Shiffman, Villanova UniversityPlenary Speaker: Mark Shiffman, Ph.D. Villanova University

Mark Shiffman is Associate Professor and former Chair of the Department of Humanities at Villanova University. He teaches courses cross-listed in Philosophy, Theology, Classics, Political Science, Russian Studies, Africana Studies and Peace and Justice. Dr. Shiffman has translated Aristotle’s De Anima and written on Plato, Aristotle, Vergil, Plutarch, Augustine, Dante, Hobbes, Locke, Simone Weil, Ralph Ellison, Wendell Berry, Rémi Brague, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. He was a founding contributor for Front Porch Republic and has published articles in Communio, Commonweal, First Things and Public Discourse.




About the Conference

The Braniff Graduate Student Association of the University of Dallas is pleased to announce the 7th annual Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts, focusing on Solitude and Community. This timely theme facilitates inquiry into the human person as an individual and a social being and invites reflection on the interaction between these complementary aspects of our nature.

Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The role of community and communal activities (conversation, play, work, service, worship) in shaping self-knowledge and forming the individual
  • The role of the individual and individual activities (reading, prayer, study, creating) in shaping communities
  • The nature of community, its authority, and foundations
  • Visions for communal and individual flourishing
  • Tradition, community, and the individual
  • The benefits of solitude and the contemplative life
  • The dangers of individualism
  • The roles of the individual and the community in reading and interpretation
  • Technological changes to the understanding and activity of the individual and community
  • The virtues of solitude and of communal life

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

Call for Papers

We invite scholars working in the liberal arts to submit abstracts of no more than 500 words that consider solitude and community from the perspective of their discipline, a particular author, or an interdisciplinary approach. Preference will be given to those working in the liberal arts disciplines including—but not limited to—philosophy, literature, politics, theology, history, psychology, and the fine arts, and drawing from the classical, medieval, modern, or contemporary periods. The conference committee will invite select presenters to submit their essays 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, institutional affiliation, and, if you are a current student, your degree program.

Abstracts are due no later than Thursday, October 15th, 2020. Presenters will be notified of their acceptance by November 9th and will be asked to submit their full papers, suitable for a 15 minute presentation (no more than 2,500 words), by January 15th.

Conference Program


Previous Conferences

  • 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


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