Theme: The Abuse of Ideals
The purpose of this workshop will be to study and discuss particular instances and general ways in which our highest ideals (such as democracy, peace, freedom, and the Good) are invoked to justify and realize their opposites (such as authoritarianism, war, exploitation, and evil, respectively). The interdisciplinary workshops, which will occur once every 2-4 weeks, will involve formal papers, informal presentations, documentary films, and focused literary discussions from across the humanities and social sciences. Though the topic is timely, it is not the intention of the organizers to emphasize the analysis of current affairs, or to do so from a politically loaded point of view. Rather, case studies will be chosen from across the historical and geo-political spectrum. Where political neutrality is not possible, efforts will be made to counterbalance political perspectives. In addition to the analysis of historical and geo-political case studies, discussions will focus on the integral theoretical issues about the interrelation between propaganda and abstract ideals.