Humanities & The Future Symposium: "Humanities and Democracy" (The Missouri Humanities Council)

Katherine Gilbert's picture
Call for Papers
March 22, 2019
Missouri, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Contemporary History, Government and Public Service, Human Rights, Law and Legal History

Humanities & The Future Symposium: Humanities and Democracy

The Missouri Humanities Council

Friday, March 22 


CFP Submission deadline: Friday, December 7.


How do the Humanities help us to understand Democracy? The Missouri Humanities Council will be holding its second annual Midwest “Humanities & The Future” Symposium to explore this question. Symposium events will take place at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri on Friday, March 22 & Saturday, March 23. All panels will take place on Friday, March 22.


We are seeking papers for three panels that will take place on Friday, March 22. Each interdisciplinary panel in the Humanities will be devoted to one of three themes: 1) Rights, 2) Conflict, and 3) Negotiation.


We are at the cusp of a series of historical markers for democracy nationally, globally, and here in the Midwest. The year 2019 will mark 100 years since the Treaty of Versailles and the formation of the League of Nations. The following year, 2020, will mark the centennial for Women’s Suffrage. The two-hundredth anniversary of Missouri’s entry as the twenty-fourth state to enter the United States will take place in 2021. Finally, in just a few years, in 2024, we will come to the one-hundred-year anniversary of 1924 Indian Citizenship Act, a year that will also mark the sixty-year anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. These anniversaries serve as key reminders that democracy is a process, one that is always in motion, sometimes fraught, often exciting, and always in need of collaborative thinking. 


Humanities & The Future will gather people from the Midwest who work in, study, and teach the Humanities to think anew about how the Humanities help us to understand democracy both locally and globally. How might we engage with memoir, film, historical novels, historical documents, speeches, and famous debates both in the past and now to help us better understand the ways in which democracies can, do, and should work? How do records of the human experience, in a wide array of forms, help us to imagine past key historical moments and possible new futures for democracy? We welcome submissions from across the Humanities that deal with a broad range of texts and ideas related to Rights, Conflict, and Negotiation in the context of democracy. 


To submit an abstract for consideration, please follow these guidelines:

  • Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words
  • In the beginning of your abstract, include an overview of the subject of study in your paper 
  • Keep in mind that the audience for this event will be mixed: students, faculty, those who work in Humanities professions, and interested members of the public are invited to attend the Symposium
  • Presentations should be between 15 and 20 minutes
  • Include a one-page CV
  • Send your abstract and CV to Dr. Katie Gilbert at
  • Submission deadline is Friday, December 7.


Note: The Missouri Humanities Council is able to assist with travel costs for panelists. We are also able to pay a $100 honorarium for your work. 


The keynote speaker for the Symposium is Dr. John Inanzu, Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law & Religion at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches criminal law, religion and law, and various First Amendment courses. He writes and speaks frequently to general audiences on topics of pluralism, assembly, free speech, religious freedom, and other issues. 


Inazu is the author of Liberty's Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly (Yale, 2012) and Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference (Chicago, 2016). 


The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri is a co-sponsor of this year’s keynote address.


Contact Info: 

Katherine Gilbert, PhD
Associate Professor, English 
Director, Humanities and Ethics Center at Drury University
MHC Field Representative, Southwest Missouri
Missouri Humanities Council
Drury University
900 N. Benton Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802

Contact Email: