Liberal Education Conference 2019: Liberal Education in the Age of Automation

Karim Dharamsi's picture
May 16, 2019 to May 18, 2019
Alberta, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Educational Technology, Teaching and Learning, Intellectual History

Some forecast a post-capitalist, post-scarcity economy in which employment is a sought-after luxury good. In this world, individuals have a guaranteed basic income and can freely pursue liberal studies as part of a flourishing life.    Others foresee a significant expansion of machine learning resulting in a world where wealth becomes even more highly concentrated in the hands of the machines’ owners. In that world, most individuals will eke out a living in a gig economy making use of soft skills derived from their liberal arts education. Artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, and a threat of a pervasive algorithcracy, will have profound implications for the meaning and purposes of liberal studies. 

The Department of General Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and its partner, Medicine Hat College, in Medicine Hat Alberta, Canada invite papers and panel presentations for our fourth Liberal Education Conference on the theme of Liberal Education in the Age of Automation. Broad topic areas related to this may include, but are not excluded to:

  • Often understood as the education of the free person, what will be liberal education’s role in the defining and achieving freedom in the world of AI, robotics, and big data?   
  • Liberal education is often seen as an instrument for the provision of foundational, transferable skills; but what will those skills be in the digital age and how will they be best cultivated?
  • What will be the nature of, and demand for, liberal education in an age of AI and big data analysis?
  • How will the operation of AI change the nature of the human experience, and thus the objects and aims of liberal studies?
  • How might the changes in the distribution of wealth and access to remunerative activity affect the social, cultural, and educational functions of liberal education?
  • What will be the place of liberal studies in the critique and formulations of the digital world?
  • How might AI be used in the provision of liberal education?
  • How will matters of creative identity and aesthetic meaning be reconfigured when AI produces “art”?
  • Can we conceive of a future of non-human persons, demanding a place as full citizens?
  • For teachers, no more complaining about workload: How might AI be used in the delivery of a liberal education?

We seek abstracts for high quality papers on the conference’s theme, some of the questions we have suggested, and any topic related to ‘liberal education in the age of automation’. Please prepare your abstract of no longer than 300 words for blind-review by February 22, 2019. Send your abstracts, suitable for blind-review, to both Karim Dharamsi ( and David Clemis ( Decisions will be announced by March 1, 2019. Please include a separate cover page with

  • the title of your paper or panel 
  • Name of presenter(s) or panellists 
  • Institutional Affiliation (if any)
  • Contact details 

Please send documents in PDF or Word format.

Registration will be $250.00 Canadian. Registration, conference venue, and an announcement of keynotes are forthcoming. Our intention is to publish a selection of papers from this conference. 

Should you have any questions, please direct them to Karim Dharamsi ( 

Contact Info: 

Karim Dharamsi, Chair of General Education, Mount Royal University

Contact Email: