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  • IPFW Institute Hosts the Crisis of American Democracy Conference
For Immediate Release
April 13, 2012

IPFW Institute Hosts the Crisis of American Democracy Conference

Key Info

  • Crisis of American Democracy Conference
  • Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, 2012
  • 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Neff Hall, Room 101
  • Keynote Friday at 9 a.m.: Thomas Altizer, "The Groundlessness of America"
  • Free and open to the public

FORT WAYNE, Ind.The Crisis of American Democracy is the theme for the 2012 National Conference sponsored by the Human Rights Institute for the Center for Applied Ethics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).  The two-day event is Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., in Neff Hall, Room 101.  The conference is free and open to the public.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Thomas Altizer, professor emeritus, State University of New York at Stony Brook.  His presentation, The Groundlessness of America, is Friday, April 27 at 9 a.m.  Clark Butler, professor of philosophy and director of the Human Rights Institute, says Altizer is The most creative American theologian of the last half of the 20th century.  He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1966 and is still publishing at 84 years of age.  He gained celebrity status as the author of The Gospel of Christian Atheism (1965) and as the most prominent and radical figure of the death of God movement in the counterculture of the 60's.

The agenda for the conference is as follows:                                                                    

Friday, April 27                                                                                                             

FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND THE SECURITY OF THE INTERNET                                         

10 a.m.  Michael Falgoust, instructor, Department of Philosophy, Tulane University, “Communication, Capitalism, and Participation in Democracy”

11-11:30 a.m.  Coffee Break   

11:30 a.m.  Asaf Bar-Tura, instructor, Department of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago, “The Meaning of Political Action in the Digital Age”

12:30-2 p.m.  Lunch


2 p.m.   Wendy Lynne Lee, professor, Department of Philosophy, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, “The Crisis of American Democracy and Why Hydraulic Fracking Epitomizes It”

3 p.m.  Herschel McDivitt, director, Oil and Gas Division, State of Indiana, “What is Fracking, After All?”

4-4:30 p.m.      Coffee Break 


4:30 p.m.  Clark Butler, Philosophy Department, IPFW, “New Historical Materialist Research into the New Global Corporations”

5:30 p.m.  Timothy Huson, associate faculty, Saint Louis University, “The Spirit of the Individual: The Common Chinese and American Struggle for Democracy”           

Saturday, April 28

GRASS ROOTS REPONSES TO THE CRISIS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY                                                                      

9 a.m.  Lissa McCulloch, independent researcher; member, Occupy Los Angeles, “Occupying the Crisis”

10 a.m.  Marisol Brito, visiting instructor, Department of Philosophy, Hamline University and Alexander Fink, Department of Philosophy, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, “Asking the Right Questions of the Occupy Movement: Occupy Wall Street as Challenging Societal Failures of Personal Responsibility and Accountability”

11-11:30 a.m.  Coffee Break   

11:30  Terence Meehan, Department of Public Administration, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, State University of New York at Alban, and Brandon Morgan-Olsen, biological futures research associate, program on values in society, University of Washington, “The Obligation to Interpret: A Response to the Deliberative Contributions of the Tea Part and the Occupy Movements”

RECONCEIVING DEMOCRACY AND THE QUESTION OF ITS EXISTENCE                                                                             

2 p.m.  Invited Guest Speaker:  Milton Fisk, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Indiana University, “Our Democratic Modernity”

3 p.m.  Danielle Wenner, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Bioethics, Cleveland Clinic, "Inequality and Democracy: Toward a Fuller Conception of Democracy”

4-4:30 p.m.  Coffee Break

4:30 p.m.  Andrew Kolin, professor, Department of Political Science, Hilbert College, “Police State America:  The Failure of Political Democracy”

5:30 p.m.  Sarah McVey and Theodora Giallouri, Department of Political Science, Western Michigan University, “Words of Imperialism: The Iraqi Invasion through the Lens of the Peloponnesian War”

For more information on the conference, contact Butler at 260-481-6364 or