Fall Conference

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Higher Powers
2018 Fall Conference | November 1–3, 2018

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What is the proper relationship between God, the human person, and the state? In a 1993 address, Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn observed that, “having refused to recognize the unchanging Higher Power above us, we have filled that space with personal imperatives, and suddenly life has become a harrowing prospect indeed.” Twenty-five years after Solzhenitsyn’s address, and one hundred years after his birth, the Center for Ethics and Culture’s 19th Annual Fall Conference will consider how every human pursuit can be oriented toward higher powers and reflect on the true measures of social progress, the role of morality in law and politics, and the dynamics of liberty, dignity, self-sacrifice, and the good in public life.


In its characteristic interdisciplinary spirit, the Center for Ethics and Culture encourages submissions from a wide array of fields of inquiry, including theology, philosophy, political theory, law, history, economics, and the social sciences, as well as the natural sciences, literature, and the arts. In honor of his centenary, we also invite reflections specifically on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s life and work.


The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture's Fall Conference is the most important academic forum for fruitful discourse and exchange among the world’s leading Catholic thinkers and those from other traditions. Recent past speakers include: Nobel Laureate James Heckman, Alasdair MacIntyre, John Finnis, Mary Ann Glendon, Rémi Brague, Charles Taylor, Michael Sandel, and Jean Bethke Elshtain.


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A complete conference agenda will be available Fall 2018. The general conference schedule may be viewed here.



Conference Details



Registration is available at the McKenna Conference Center websiteFor those attending the conference as part of a student group, please contact your group leader for the appropriate registration link. Contact Margaret Cabaniss (mcabaniss@nd.edu) with any questions.



All events will be held in the Notre Dame Conference Center at McKenna Hall, with masses offered in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and conference meals in the Morris Inn Ballroom. A campus map is available at map.nd.edu; information regarding on-campus parking is available here.



A block of rooms has been reserved at the Morris Inn on campus, directly across the street from the conference center, for the evenings of November 1, 2, and 3 at the rate of $149 (plus tax) per night. Rooms can be reserved here, or by calling 574-631-2000 and referencing the Center for Ethics and Culture Fall Conference.

Other hotels near the university include:

Rooms are available at the Sacred Heart Parish Center on campus for student groups. Contact Margaret Cabaniss (mcabaniss@nd.edu) for more information.



All refreshments and receptions are included in the cost of registration. Conference meals may be purchased for an additional fee on the registration page. Other on-campus dining options are available here.


Past Conferences

Find information regarding past conferences and lecture videos at the links below.

Fall Conference Collage