The Family and Human Relationships in History, Literature, Art, and Philosophy
May 21-22, 2010, Claremont, CA
A conference sponsored by Mormon Scholars in the Humanities
Every story, it is said, is a family story. Yet in stressing the freedom and self-sufficiency of the individual, modern culture de-emphasizes the degree to which people are born in dependency, of specific parents, and develop in and through relationships with others, most closely in the family. By considering the family, family history, and human relationships, we invite inquiry into changes in the culture of the family over time, inquiries into family memory, depictions of the family and the individual in art and literature, and philosophical investigations of the role of family, friends, and mentors in personal development. Some questions to consider:
* How do models and philosophies of the family and relationships illuminate depictions of the family in history, literature, and the arts, and vice versa?
* How has the notion of genealogy shaped different forms of representation in the arts and in sacred literature, as well as philosophies of history, morality, and ethics?
* To what degree is our identity a gift of others, and to what degree is it an individual accomplishment and responsibility? Do degrees of autonomy and dependence differ from era to era, culture to culture, and even from individual to individual?
* In what sense is the family the basic unit of society? What do the humanities teach us about the family as a social institution or about the roles and responsibilities within a family? About successes and failures of the family?
* If one goal of personal development is a certain kind of maturity in the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and moral realms, what are the processes by which individuals achieve it? Do these types of development have necessary social dimensions? In light of possible family and social aspects of self-development and freedom, in what ways are individuals also responsible for others, and for themselves?
* How do LDS history, values, and doctrine pertaining to the family and to the notion of genealogy influence the work of the Mormon scholar in the humanities? How do they challenge or support the fundamental assumptions of humanities scholarship today?
Creative submissions relevant to the conference theme in story, verse, drama, or visual form are also invited.
We encourage LDS scholars in all fields of the humanities, arts, and history to propose papers or complete panels in response to the topic. Panel proposals should include a general title, presenters' names and contact information, and paper abstracts.