Rethinking Community is a three-day conference hosted by the Eudaimonia Institute and the Pro Humanitate Institute of Wake Forest University. It is our response to a call by Provost Rogan Kersh, to convene our counterparts across higher education to grapple with the effects of living in a society more virtual, diverse, polarized, and global than ever.
We are well aware that our effort to rethink community exists within specific local and national contexts including: protesting students, boycotted and harassed speakers, debates about safe spaces versus free speech, the end of tenure, hikes in tuition, open carry laws, and white supremacist lawlessness. These experiences are reminders that colleges and universities are not ivory towers able to avoid controversy; rather, our institutions are deeply embedded in communities and are often highly impactful actors in the local economic, political, and social life, as well as crucial intellectual contributors to our communities.
During this conference, we will bring together scholars, journalists, elected officials, and public intellectuals from across the ideological spectrum for two days of courageous, robust engagement with the animating questions of our academic and political world. This conference is an opportunity to acknowledge, welcome, discuss, and debate our differing, often competing, viewpoints with vigor, intensity, and respect. We fear this kind of engagement is disappearing in the Academy.
October 19-21, 2017 at Wake Forest University
In the afternoon, PHI and EI host events highlighting ongoing research that connects our respective institutes to our local community. The conference begins in earnest with the opening dinner and a moderated conversation meant to set the table for Friday’s big topics.
We will have a series of plenary sessions, keynote addresses, and concurrent sessions. We also have a creative session planned by our undergraduate students. These events take place in our lovely business school. Friday evening the “Sports and Community” panel is hosted in the larger venue of Wait Chapel.
We head downtown to our new Innovation Quarter campus for Communiversity- a series of conversations about university/ community relationships and best practices for sourcing community based research. We end the day with a block party.
The full schedule of events for the Rethinking Community Conference is available on the RTCC website. There you will find a schedule including a brief description of each panel, plenary session, keynote address, and activity. You will also find a full list of conference presenters and brief biographies. Here is a a broad strokes overview of the conference: