Devon, PA.  I’m pleased to announce that FPR will be holding a panel discussion at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture’s Annual Conference — Summons to Freedom: Virtue, Sacrifice, and the Common Good — this coming weekend.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Center for Ethics and Culture, I recommend you investigate and register for the conference here; it stands out as one of those handful of academic programs that distinguish Notre Dame as a great Catholic university (a redundant term, but there you have it).  The conference runs from Thursday (November 12) through Saturday (November 14) at McKenna Hall, the Center for Continuing Education on Notre Dame Ave. in South Bend.

Our panel is titled Front Porch Republic: The Places of Virtue, and will comprise papers by Patrick Deneen (Democracy as Self-Government) , Jason Peters (The Limits of Place as Freedom:  A Reminder from Flannery O’Connor), and James Matthew Wilson (The Rock against Shakespeare: Stoicism and Community in T.S. Eliot).  It will take place on Saturday, and run from 3:15-4:30.  As the complete conference schedule suggests, this panel may be the least compelling of reasons to attend the conference, a minor light in a very crowded heaven; but we hope regular FPR readers in the heartland will feel most welcome to join us for an afternoon chat.

Mark T. Mitchell will also be speaking at the conference that same day, at 9:00 a.m. as part of the panel Wendell Berry: A Man for All Seasons.  Mark will join a distinguished group of speakers, including the nicest guy in the Great Lakes State, Michael Stevens, of Cornerstone University.

All of us at FPR would like to thank the Center for Ethics and Culture for welcoming and encouraging our participation so warmly.  We are delighted that the normally placeless academy can find not only some place but such a place for the discussion virtue, limits, and locality.

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James Matthew Wilson is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on subjects ranging from art, ethics, and politics, to meter and poetic form, from the importance of local culture to the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty. Wilson is also a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, and The American Conservative. He has published five books, including most recently, a collection of poems, Some Permanent Things and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (both Wiseblood Books, 2014). Raised in the Great Lakes State, baptised in the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, seasoned by summers on Lake Wawasee (Indiana), and educated under the Golden Dome, Wilson is scion of a family of Hoosiers dating back to the early nineteenth century, and an offspring of Southside Chicago Poles whose tavern kept the city wet through the Depression (and prohibition) years.  He now lives under the same sentence of reluctant exile as many another native son of the Midwest, but has dug himself in for good on the margins of the Main Line in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife, dangerous daughter, and saintly sons. For information on Wilson's scholarship and a selection of his published work, click here. See books written and recommended by James Matthew Wilson.


  1. I am very much looking forward to your panel! I am an ’07 grad of ND and will return this weekend for the conference to give a paper with my brother (at 9 a.m. on Friday and regarding FPR-related themes if anyone is interested).

    To any readers who are interested in attending: registration for the conference is closed as the conference is full, but you can still attend. Just show up to McKenna Hall, on Notre Dame Avenue.

  2. I have no idea how these conferences work, but for those of us who – alas! – can not attend, are the papers presented there generally published or otherwise made available?

  3. Tony, usually this particular conference has too many presenters to publish the papers. They sometimes post video of select talks online: just google “Center for Ethics & Culture” and you’ll find the website.

    But maybe the Front Porchers will post their talks afterwards?

  4. That’s a real possibility, Anamaria. I was going to post mine originally, but now I find that it’s going to become part of a larger research project, and so I probably will wait to publish it in a scholarly journal. That said, surely we’ll put something up to commemorate the occasion.

    Thanks for the interest, enthusiasm — and to Anamaria for letting us know about her panel, which will also include the distinguished political philosopher, David Thunder.

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