The Academy of Philosophy and Letters will have its annual conference in Baltimore on June 7-9 on the theme “Cheerfulness Keeps Breaking In: Light in the Darkness.” Sharp readers will recognize the phrase as one of Russell Kirk’s, and Annette will be one of our speakers. Keynote speakers are James Kurth and David Schindler. Also speaking will be stalwarts such as Walter McDougall, Claes Ryn, Robert Young, Winston Elliott and others. Mark Mitchell, Peter Haworth, and yours truly will be representing the Porch. The full line-up:

Cheerfulness Keeps Breaking In:

Light in the Darkness

Annual Meeting of the

Academy of Philosophy and Letters

June 7-9, 2013

This year’s panels will continue the round table format that was introduced last year. Panelists will offer introductions, which will be followed by discussion among the panelists and members of the audience.


5:00-6:00 PM.  Registration

6:00-7:00 PM.  Reception/Cash bar

7:00-9:00 PM.  Dinner


Speaker:  James Kurth, Swarthmore College, “The Great Debacle of Pseudo-Conservatism: Lessons Learned”

9:00-11:00 PM.  Hospitality Suite hosted by The Imaginative Conservative. 


8:00-8:30 AM.  Late registration

8:30-10:30 AM.  PANEL/ROUND TABLE 1. Commentary on James Kurth’s Analysis of Pseudo-Conservatism

 Chair: Lowell Gustafson, Villanova University

Brian Mitchell, The Academy of Philosophy and Letters

David Jordan, The University of Virginia

Claes Ryn, The Catholic University of America

Walter McDougall, The University of Pennsylvania 

James Kurth, Swarthmore College

10:30-10:45 AM. Break/Refreshments

10:45 AM -12:45 PM.  PANEL/ROUND TABLE 2.  A Moral and Cultural Counter-Offensive

Chair: Richard Gamble, Hillsdale College

Joseph Baldacchino, The National Humanities Institute

Richard Bishirjian, Yorktown University

Jeff Cain, American Philanthropic

Annette Kirk, Russell Kirk Center

Bill Wichterman, Wedgwood Circle

12:45-1:00 PM.  Break

1:00-2:30 PM.  Luncheon: 

Chair: Jeff Polet, Hope College

Speaker: David Schindler, John Paul II Institute, “Christianity and the State of the Culture”

2:30-3:30 PM.  Break

3:30-5:30.  PANEL/ROUND TABLE 3: Independent Scholarly Journals 

Chair: Ryan Holston, Virginia Military Institute

Joseph Baldacchino, Humanitas 

Bruce Frohnen, Political Science Reviewer

Peter Haworth, Anamnesis

Robert Young, Modern Age

5:30-6:30 PM.  Break

6:30-7:30 PM.  Reception/Cash bar

7:30-9:00 PM.  Dinner

Chair: William Byrne, St. John’s University

A dinner conversation about Christianity and the state of the culture with

Chris Manion, Richard Gamble, and others.

9:00-11:00 PM. Hospitality Suite, hosted by The Imaginative Conservative


9:00-10:00 AM.  Breakfast meeting of the membership (members only)

10:00 AM-noon.  PANEL/ROUND TABLE 4.  Reaching the Thoughtful Public

Chair: Brian Mitchell, Academy of Philosophy and Letters

Winston Elliott, III, The Imaginative Conservative

John Henry, Committee for the Republic

Dan McCarthy, The American Conservative

Mark Mitchell, Front Porch Republic

John Vella, Crisis 

Conference dress code: coat and tie

Interested parties should contact me at I can give you information on the conference and hotels.

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Jeffrey Polet grew up in an immigrant household in the immigrant town of Holland MI. After twenty years of academic wandering he returned to Holland and now teaches political science at Hope College, where he also grudgingly serves as chair of the department, having unsuccessfully evaded all requests. In the interim, he continues to nurture quirky beliefs: Division III basketball is both athletically and morally superior to Division I; the Hope/Calvin rivalry is the greatest in sports; the lecture is still the best form of classroom instruction; never buy a car with less than 100,000 miles on it; putts will still lip out in heaven; bears are the incarnation of evil; Athens actually has something to do with Jerusalem; and Tombstone is a cinematic classic. His academic work has mirrored his peripatetic career. Originally trained at the Catholic University of America in German philosophy and hermeneutical theory, he has since gravitated to American Political Thought. He still occasionally writes about European thinkers such as Michel Foucault or the great Max Weber, but mostly is interested in the relationship between theological reflection and political formation in the American context. In the process of working on a book on John Marshall for The Johns Hopkins University Press, he became more sensitive to the ways in which centralized decision-making undid local communities and autonomy. He has also written on figures such as William James and the unjustly neglected Swedish novelist Paer Lagerkvist. A knee injury and arthritis eliminated daily basketball playing, and he now spends his excess energy annoying his saintly wife and their three children, two of whom are off to college. Expressions of sympathy for the one who remains can be posted in the comments section. He doesn’t care too much for movies, but thinks opera is indeed the Gesamtkuntswerk, that the music of Gustav Mahler is as close as human beings get to expressing the ineffable, that God listens to Mozart in his spare time, and that Bach is history’s greatest genius.