The Examined Life: An Undergraduate Conference in the Liberal Arts

Art Remillard

Back in 2007, I started an undergraduate conference in religion and philosophy. In the years that have followed, the conference has attracted an astonishing number of participants, traveling in from all over the United States and Canada. Additionally, it has switched locations between here, Westminster College, and Lebanon Valley College.

For the 2016 installment, we decided to extend the focus and have a two day "celebration" of the liberal arts. Appropriately enough, the celebrating starts with an "ethics bowl," before our friend John Fea delivers the keynote address. In anticipation of his arrival, I will be organizing a course around Professor Fea's remarkably insightful and accessible Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?

So please circulate this CFP among your students and colleagues. Our website  will be developed throughout the year. And I have been posting items relevant to the conference on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Feel free to follow along.


Call for Papers

The Examined Life
An Undergraduate Conference in the Liberal Arts

Friday and Saturday, March 18-19, 2016
Saint Francis University
Loretto, Pennsylvania 15940
Click HERE for a PDF version of the Call for Papers

We cordially invite undergraduates to submit proposals on topics related to the Liberal Arts—disciplines (and interdisciplinary programs) associated with the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. We encourage traditional paper presentations as well as posters, films, art, poetry, drama, and other forms of creative expression.

While proposals might address any appropriate topic, priority will be given to those related to this year’s theme, “Being Political and the Politics of Being.” At its most obvious, we witness politics in governmental contexts, from presidential primaries and local elections to environmental regulations and foreign policy decisions. Beyond this, though, political discourses shape and are shaped by our daily lives and interactions—at our schools and universities, in the food that we eat, and through our physical and digital landscapes. Additionally, a careful eye sees politics flowing through a range of social forces, to include religion, science, the arts, culture, technology, media, economics, and marketing. At our conference, the scope of “politics” will be limited only by the imaginations of those who attend.

Events will begin on Friday afternoon with an “Ethics Bowl” competition. For further details please contact Dr. Kyle Thomsen ( Anyone unfamiliar with this unique philosophical contest can learn more at

On Friday evening, the keynote address will be given by John Fea, Professor of American History at Messiah College. His talk will derive from his 2011 book, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction. Professor Fea is the author or editor of four books and his essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular venues. He blogs daily at

Student presentations (approximately 20 minutes each) will be on Saturday from 9:00 AM –5:00 PM. Posters, artwork, and other standing pieces will be available in a common meeting area. At the conclusion of the conference, a panel of judges will award the top student performers with cash prizes.

Proposal abstracts (roughly 250 words) are due by February 19, 2016. Please include your full name, title, format (paper, poster, etc.), institution, e-mail, phone number, and the name and contact information of your academic advisor. All paper presentations must be submitted in full by March 4, 2016. Please e-mail proposals and papers to

This conference is open to the public and free for presenters and non-presenters. For more information, please visit our website ( or contact Dr. Arthur Remillard (


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