2023 Conference

Our conference theme this year is Living as Humans in a Machine Age. We’ll gather in Madison, WI on October 20th and 21st for a lively time of talks, conversation, and food.

All registered attendees are welcome to attend our Friday evening conversation with Paul Kingsnorth and the full day of sessions on Saturday. Saturday lunch will be provided as well. You can see more information about the speakers at the speaker bio page.

Friday, October 20

  • 7:00 p.m. Paul Kingsnorth, “People, Place, Prayer”

Saturday, October 21

  • 9:00, Welcome
  • 9:15-10:15, Imagining Life Beyond the Machine
    • Eric Miller, “The Instructed Imagination”
    • Jason Peters, “Imagination: Not Whimsical but Fatal”
  • 10:30-11:45 Human Responses to Technology
    • Jeffrey Bilbro, “Making Do Amid the Wreckage of AI”
    • Cassandra Nelson
    • Tessa Carman, “The Joy of Tech Resistance” 
  • 12-1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00-2:15 Paul Kingsnorth Keynote Address, “The Blizzard of the World”
  • 2:30-3:45 Humane Politics
    • Adam Smith, “The Actual Landscape”
    • Mark Mitchell, “Politics in Babel”
    • John Murdock, “Back to the Future of the Religious Right”
  • 4:00-5:00 Living Outside the Machine
    • Ashley Colby, “Doomer Optimism: Life Adjacent to the Machine”
    • Bill Kauffman, “Off the Empire, On Wisconsin”

Adjourn to Smitty’s Study Pub at the Fluno Center


Conference Details


The conference is fully booked, so we’ve closed registration. Thanks to Plough for sponsoring the first 25 student registrations.


The Friday and Saturday talks will take place in the Plenary Room of Grainger Hall (Business School). The address is 975 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706.

At the conclusion of the conference on Saturday, we’ll gather at Smitty’s Study Pub.


The block of rooms we reserved at the Best Western has filled up, but there are several other nearby hotels, including Hampton Inn & Suites, DoubleTree by Hilton, AC Hotel by Marriott, The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, and Hilton Madison Monona Terrace.

Saturday on the Square

There is a large farmers’ market held each Saturday near where the conference will take place. You should have time to check it out or even get breakfast there before the conference begins.


For those sticking around Madison on the Sunday following the conference, John Murdock of the Brass Spittoon podcast is exploring the possibility of a trip to Aldo Leopold’s “shack” and/or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin.  Contact him directly (johnamurdock@gmail.com) if interested in this informal outing idea.  

We're grateful for the support of our co-sponsor, Plough.