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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Educating for Modern Democracy

an exploration of philosophical and religious resources

Call for Papers

The nature and process of the democratic form of government has come under increased pressure in recent times.  The many causes include features or implications of pluralism, secularism, competing claims among religions, economic inequality, racial and gender disparities, and partisanship.  Solutions are elusive, and the possible bases for them unclear. We invite papers on any topic broadly connected to the current crises facing democracy, with particular interest in work that explicitly brings the questions of religion, race and / or gender into contact with the intellectual resources in the philosophical and Catholic traditions both to understand the contemporary situation and to educate students and the public at large in ways that strengthen reflective civic engagement and democratic institutions.

The program will include multiple sessions comprised of shorter papers. We invite papers of 20-25 minutes in length.

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words to by September 15, 2017

Sample Topics:

The continued promise and / or apparent limits of Alexis de Tocqueville's conception of democracy.

Jacques Maritain's understanding of the relation between Christianity and democracy.

The status and legacy of John Courtney Murray's attempt to reconcile Catholic thought and religious pluralism, especially with regard to its accompanying conception of religious freedom.

Christian conceptions of community and citizenship, as they address the themes of race and gender.

Theories of race and the 'canon' of Christian intellectual thought (especially forms of natural law theory).

Theories of gender and sexuality, and the 'canon' of Christian intellectual thought (especially forms of natural law theory).

The economic conditions for democracy and the prospects for a new articulation of basic principles (e.g., the emergence of globalization and/or technological innovation on the shrinking job market as factors that erode confidence in modern governance and diminish the basic self-esteem required for engaged citizenship, and proposals).

Catholic approaches to the relationship between political responsibility and care for the environment, as for example is developed in the recent papal encyclical Laudato Si'.

** In all cases, we are especially interested in presentations that include reflection on the task of teaching to these important matters from the philosophical and Catholic intellectual traditions.