2019 Conference

The Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures is organizing its seventeenth annual conference at James Madison University with the collaboration of the Departments of English, History, Justice Studies, Military Science, Philosophy and Religion, Political Science, and Sociology and Anthropology; the Schools of Music and Art and Art History; and with the support of the College of Arts and Letters. This conference will bring together scholars/researchers and students from a variety of disciplines to look at virtues like integrity, civility and grace, and their value throughout the history of humankind.

Immediately following his election, Kirk Cox, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, urged his fellow legislators to practice “integrity, civility and grace” in their service to the people of the commonwealth. These words resonate loudly in a world that seems to have forgotten not only how to exercise them, but even their very meaning. The entrepreneur and public speaker, Amy Reese Anderson, wrote: “If I could teach only one value to live by, it would be this: Success will come and go, but integrity is forever.” Warren Buffet, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said it best: “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.” We can point to abundant examples from ancient times to our own day of leaders with great integrity—or lack of it.

In an article titled “Civility and Freedom of Speech,” the Honorable William H. Rehnquist says: “The word civility, as we think of it today, suggests courtesy or politeness. It is something of a surprise, therefore, to learn from one of the unabridged dictionaries that the Latin word civilitas, the lineal ancestor of the word civility, means ‘the art of government.’ In these remarks, I hope to develop the idea that the kind of common decency which the present understanding of the word civility suggests is a good deal more important than would appear at first blush. I wish particularly to focus attention on what seems to be the virtue of civility in connection with the exercise of our traditionally valued freedom of speech and expression.”

Mr. Obama, at the funeral of Reverend Pinckney, one of the nine victims of the shooting in the church in Charleston, NC, spoke of grace. “Reverend Pinckney understood the power of God’s grace…. This whole week, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace. According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God – as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Grace.” But “grace” has a multitude of meanings: mercy, clemency, moving with grace, behaving with grace, charming grace, a day’s grace, gracing an event, saying grace, etc…

In addition, conference Sessions I and II will be “The World of Leonardo da Vinci” and “Leonardo da Vinci. The Man behind the Myth,” as 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of this quintessential Renaissance man.

We encourage interdisciplinary research that crosses the divide between the social and natural sciences, law enforcement, medicine, visual arts, literature and popular culture. We welcome artists, practitioners, performers, and those from other areas such as religion and law.

We are inviting faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, artists, community advocates, and independent scholars and researchers in fields such as English, foreign languages, history, art history, philosophy and religion, music, theatre and dance, political science, psychology, sociology, and the sciences to submit abstracts/proposals and convene panel discussions and/or workshops. We also encourage participants to organize and chair sessions.

Guidelines for Submitting Abstracts/Proposals

  1. Submit abstracts of about 300 words.
  2. Each abstract should include: title, author’s name, affiliation, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Proposals with multiple authorships should indicate the person to be contacted.
  3. The deadline for submission of abstracts/proposals is March 17, 2019.
  4. Send abstracts/proposals to: Dr. Giuliana Fazzion, Conference Program Director, Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Tel: (540) 568-6128; Fax: (540) 568-6904; E-mail:
  5. Proceedings: Abstract or full text of your paper(s) presented at the conference may also be published in the Proceedings. Upon receiving acceptance of your paper, please send a copy of your abstract or full paper to the Proceedings Editor, Dr. Stephany Plecker, Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, by no later than March 17, 2019. E-mail:

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