BGSA Conference

6th Annual Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts | The World is Bare Now: Nature and Human Flourishing | Nov. 15-16, 2019

Jason BaxterKeynote Speaker: Jason Baxter, Ph.D. | Wyoming Catholic College

 Dr. Baxter is Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College. His primary research interests include medieval ideas of beauty, the long-lived legacy of the thought of Plato, and the poetry of Dante. He is also interested in medieval mysticism, humanism, and the relationship between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Dr. Baxter has been an invited speaker at universities across the country, speaking on the modern relevance of the liberal arts, as well as topics on Dante, such as the role of lyric poetry in Dante’s Paradiso and Dante’s theology of love.


Plenary Speaker: TBA


About the Conference

The Braniff Graduate Student Association of the University of Dallas is pleased to announce the 6th annual Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts. This year the conference tackles the fundamental intersection of nature, the natural, and human flourishing. Our shared Western heritage is rich in understandings of the natural world: across epoch, discipline, and cultural boundaries, great minds have scrutinized the relationship between the natural world and our own thriving. Nature has been intermittently conceived as threatening and salvific, crude and refined, a principle of all activity and a limit to be transcended. The natural—and its concomitant concepts the unnatural and the supernatural—has served as an argumentative standard by which whole societies have articulated themselves in law, mores, and sentiments. As our contemporary discourse turns to militarize conceptions of the natural world, the Braniff Graduate Student Association calls on scholars to present new engagements with the myriad facets of nature and its relationship to human flourishing--whether that confirms some previous understanding of nature or interrogates the concept afresh. This year, the conference will begin with a poetry reading on Friday night, at which presenters and local poets will be invited to present some of their original work which engages with the conference theme.

The conference will take place at the University of Dallas, located in Irving, TX. 

Call for Papers

We invite scholars working in the liberal and the fine arts to submit abstracts of no more than 500 words that consider nature and/or the natural from the perspective of their discipline, a particular author, or from an interdisciplinary approach. Preference will be given to those working in the liberal and fine arts disciplines including—but not limited to—philosophy, literature, politics, theology, history, psychology, painting, sculpting, print-making, and cinema, and drawing from the classical, medieval, modern, or contemporary period. The conference committee will invite select presenters to submit their essays or poetry to Ramify: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of the Liberal Arts.

Please submit abstracts to Abstracts should be prepared for blind review. Please include a separate cover letter with your name, paper title, email address, and institutional affiliation.

Abstracts are due no later than Friday, August 16, 2019. Presenters will be notified of their acceptance by Monday, September 9, 2019 and will be asked to submit their full papers, suitable for a 15- minute presentation (no more than 2500 words), by Monday, October 21, 2019.

Conference Program


Previous Conferences

  • 5th Annual BCLA: Scripture and the Disciplines | Keynote Speaker: Michael Waldstein, Ph.D., Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • 4th Annual BCLA: What is Imagination? | Keynote Speaker: Eva Brann, Ph.D., St. John's College
  • 3rd Annual BCLA: On Friendship | Keynote speaker: Ronna Burger, Philosophy, Tulane University
  • 2nd Annual BCLA: On Philosophy and Poetry | Keynote speaker: Ron Smith, Poet Laureate of Virginia
  • Proceedings from the 1st Annual BCLA: On Reason and Revelation, were published by Ramify. The keynote speaker was Khalil Habib, Philosophy, Salve Regina University


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