Living with Others: Conscience, Coercion, and Freedom

January 25, 2019 - January 26, 2019
Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis
Umrath Lounge
Saint Louis 63105
United States


Washington University in St. Louis

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An essential part of society and civilization is living with others. But living with others brings with it challenges to the freedom of individuals. What is freedom? How can political and social life be arranged so as to promote it? To what extent are freedom and coercion antithetical? Does society involve not just coercing what we do but what we think as well? What are the central threats to liberty of conscience, and how might they be overcome? What should we do when societal norms come into conflict with an individual’s conscience?

Join us for this two-day conference that brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from across the St. Louis community to address these urgent and complex questions on the precarious project of living with others. Speakers include: 

Keynote: Neil Roberts (Williams College)

      "How to Live Free in an Age of Pessimism"

Elizabeth Sweeny Block (SLU, Theological Studies)

      “Our Consciences Are Not Clean: Moral Agency and Responsibility in a Broken World” 

Amy Gais (WUSTL, Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry)


Anna F. Bialek (WUSTL, Religious Studies)

      "Domination and Inclination: Adriana Cavarero and the Problem of Domination in Care” 

Matthew Babb (WUSTL, Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry)

      "Of Words and Power: The Coerciveness of Language"

Torrie Hester (SLU, History)

      “Property of Others: Immigrant Arbitrations and Alien Land Laws, 1880-1930”

Adriano Udani (UMSL, Political Science) 

      “The Proximity and Visibility of Immigrant Detention in the United States”

Elizabeth Borgwardt (WUSTL, History)


Jeffrey McCune Jr. (WUSTL, WG&S Studies, A&AA Studies)

      "Black-Femme Disobedience: Re-Reading the Story of Gender"

Rachel Greenwald Smith (SLU, English)

      “On Compromise: Literature After Democracy”

Jonathan Gingerich (WUSTL, Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry)

      "Liberal Equality, Neutrality, and Culture"



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