Conversation Examines Liberal Arts, Race

By Scott Craig   |   February 20, 2020

“Still Dreaming: Race, Ethnicity and Liberal Arts Education,” the 19th annual Gaede Institute Conversation on the Liberal Arts, gathers a national audience to explore how the liberal arts can promote more inclusive teaching, scholarship and institutional practices February 27-29 at Westmont. The plenary sessions are free and open to the public. See the schedule at or call (805) 565-6124.

“We’ll ask in what ways a liberal arts education in the past and present has fostered racial privilege and how it can cultivate racial justice,” says Chris Hoeckley, director of Westmont’s Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts.

Highlights of the conference include plenary talks by Estela Bensimon of the University of Southern California, Rudy Busto of U.C. Santa Barbara and Louis P. Nelson of the University of Virginia, as well as a special chapel address by Reggie Williams of McCormick Theological Seminary.

“The promise of a liberal arts education has always been its integrated vision of our learning and our lives,” Hoeckley says. “A vision informed by the widest possible perspectives, nurtured by a posture of humility and listening, and equipping us to contribute to healing the world’s deep wounds. That promise rests on the inclusion of voices from the ethnic and racial richness of our own society and beyond. Sadly, full inclusion has been slow in coming and, at many institutions, remains an aspiration more than a reality, to everyone’s detriment.”

Previous Gaede Institute Conversation topics include “High Anxiety: Liberal Arts and the Race to Success,” “Knowledge in Crisis: Liberal Learning in a ‘Post-Truth’ Age,” and “Liberal Arts for a Fragile Planet.”

The Gaede Institute, created in 2001, promotes the continued vitality of the liberal arts tradition in American higher education. In May 2006, Westmont renamed the institute former president Stan Gaede.


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