Fall Conference

You Are Beauty Title Header

Each year on the campus of Notre Dame, the Center hosts its interdisciplinary Fall Conference, the most important venue for truly fruitful dialogue and exchange among the world's leading Catholic thinkers, as well as those from other traditions, on pressing and vexed questions of ethics, culture, and public policy. The Conference annually attracts more than six hundred participants and features more than one hundred paper presentations in disciplines ranging from philosophy, theology, political theory, and law to history, economics, science, and the arts.

Our 17th annual Fall Conference, "You are Beauty: Exploring the Catholic Imagination," considered “aesthetic contemplation sublimated in faith” (“Letter to Artists,” Pope St. John Paul II), exploring the relationship between the imagination, beauty, truth, and religion in a variety of contexts, particularly the arts, music, architecture, literature, philosophy, theology, political theory, and the sciences.

Featured speakers at the year's conference included:

  • Etsuro Sotoo, sculptor of the Nativity Façade of the Sagrada Família Basilica, Barcelona, Spain
  • Alasdair MacIntyre, Permanent Senior Distinguished Research Fellow, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture
  • Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, and Permanent Senior Distinguished Research Fellow, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture
  • Sir Roger Scruton, philosopher of aesthetics and author of more than 40 books
  • Elizabeth Lev, art historian, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy
  • Monsignor Timothy Verdon, Director, Diocesan Office of Sacred Art and Church Cultural Heritage and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy

Full conference schedule available here (PDF).

Featured Presentations (via our YouTube Channel)

Thursday, November 10

 
8:00 p.m. Josef Pieper Keynote Lecture: “Beauty Is Part of God’s Creation”
Esturo Sotoo (Lead Sculptor, Basilica de la Sagrada Família)
Chair: O. Carter Snead (Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture)
Conference Center Auditorium

Friday, November 11

 
10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Beauty, the First Transcendental
David Bentley Hart (University of Notre Dame)

Ethics, Beauty, and Imagination
Douglas Hedley (University of Cambridge)
Chair: Francesca Murphy (University of Notre Dame)
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Evolution, Beauty, and Medicine
William Hurlbut (Stanford Medical School)
Chair: Nicholas Teh (University of Notre Dame)

1:30-2:45 p.m. Poetic Imaginations, Catholic and Otherwise
Alasdair MacIntyre (Senior Distinguished Research Fellow, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture)
Chair: James Hankins (Harvard University)
Conference Center Auditorium
3:15-4:30 p.m.

Words Beyond Words: The Flash of the Infinite in the Poems of Patrick Kavanagh
John Waters (Author, Irish Independent)

‘Beauty Will Save the World’: Reflections on Four of Solzhenitsyn’s Prose Poems
Daniel J. Mahoney (Assumption College)
Chair: Mary Keys (University of Notre Dame)
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Faith at the Family Table
John Besh (Besh Restaurant Group)

Culinary Creativity, Born in Tradition
Alex Pitts (Scholium Wines)
Chair: O. Carter Snead (Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture)

8:00 p.m. The Gifts of the Magi: The Catholic Imagination and Birth of the Modern Museum
Elizabeth Lev (Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas)
Chair: O. Carter Snead (Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture)
Conference Center Auditorium

Saturday, November 12

 
10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Thrones, Rings, and the Catholic Imagination: What George R.R. Martin Couldn’t Steal
Thomas Williams (Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas)

The Catholic Vision of C.S. Lewis
Gilbert Meilaender (Paul Ramsey Fellow, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture)
Chair: Therese Cory (University of Notre Dame)
 

1:30-2:45 p.m.

Tasting, Relishing, and the Meaning of Wine
Roger Scruton (Ethics and Public Policy Center)

Growing and Guarding: An Experience Among Terroir and Genius Loci in Tuscany
Marco Pallanti (Castello di Ama)
Chair: Abe Schoener (Scholium Wines)
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The Timeless Relevance of Sacred Art
Dony MacManus (Sacred Art School)

Beauty Then and Now: Contrasting Pre-modern Christian and Modern Secular Views
John Haldane (Baylor University)
Chair: Ann Astell (University of Notre Dame)

3:15-4:30 p.m.

Imagining Moral Dignity: Christian Art and Physical Beauty
Msgr. Timothy Verdon (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo)
Chair: Rev. Kevin Grove, C.S.C. (University of Notre Dame)
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The Beauty of the Monstrous: A Study in Dante
Abe Schoener (Scholium Wines)
Chair: Rick Garnett (University of Notre Dame)

8:00 p.m.

De Nicola Family Lecture: "Wallace Stevens, Beauty, and the Catholic Imagination"
Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard Law School)
Chair: O. Carter Snead (Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture)
Conference Center Auditorium


Past Conferences

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

Fall Conference Collage