Democratic Affections: Film, Philosophy, and Religion in the Thought of Stanley Cavell

Event Date: 

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 12:00am to Friday, February 15, 2019 - 12:00am

Event Location: 

  • Wallis Annenberg Conference Room (SSMS 4315)
  • Humanities & Social Change Center (Robertson Gymnasium 1000A)

Event Contact: 

Co-organizers: Thomas Carlson (Religious Studies), Dominique Jullien (Comparative Literature / GCLR), Andrew Norris (Political Science)

Democratic Affections: Film, Philosophy, and Religion in the Thought of Stanley Cavell

Stanley Cavell

Organizers: Thomas Carlson (Religious Studies), Dominique Jullien (Comparative Literature and French), Andrew Norris (Political Science)

The death this year of Stanley Cavell brought to an end a unique and exceptionally rich life in philosophy, one that continues to inspire readers and colleagues throughout the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. In this two-day interdisciplinary symposium commemorating Cavell’s career, UCSB faculty from across the campus invite Cavell scholars from Europe and America to join in a discussion of his extraordinary contributions to our understanding of the affective dimensions of democratic life, particularly as these play out in film, religion, and what Cavell terms Emersonian Perfectionism. Along with the panels, there will be a screening at UCSB's Pollock Theater of the Hollywood classic The Lady Eve and an accompanying Q&A.

Thursday, February 14

Wallis Annenberg Conference Room (Social Sciences and Media Studies Building 4315)

8:45 Opening Remarks
John Majewski, UCSB, Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts

9:00 Session I
Andrew Norris, UCSB: “The Mood of the World”
Respondent: Eric Ritter, Philosophy, Vanderbilt

Espen Hammer, Temple University: “Moods and Experience in Cavell”
Respondent: Luke McCracken, Religious Studies, UCSB

11:00 Session II
William Rothman, University of Miami: “Pursuits of Happiness: Cavell in Transition”
Respondent: Chip Badley, English, UCSB

Russell Goodman, University of New Mexico: “Cavell and the Transcendentalists”
Respondent: Christopher Morales, Religious Studies, UCSB

1:00 Lunch for Participants

2:00 Session III
Kay Young, UCSB: “Listening to Cavell”
Respondent: Alex Lebrun, Philosophy, UCSB

Sandra Laugier, Paris I: “Cavell, Film, and Moral Education”
Respondent: Felicity Stone-Richards, Political Science, UCSB

Joshua Foa Dienstag, UCLA: “What is the Democratic Mood?”
Respondent: Caleb Miller, Political Science, UCSB

7:00 Screening
The Lady Eve, followed by a Q&A with Sandra Laugier and William Rothman
Pollock Theater, UCSB

Friday, February 15

Center for Humanities & Social Change (Robertson Gym 1000A)

9:00 Opening Remarks
David Cavell

9:30 Session IV
Tom Carlson, UCSB: “Religious Receptions and Democratic Futures: A Learning of the Heart from Emerson to Cavell”
Respondent: Samantha Copping Kang, Religious Studies, UCSB

Tyler Roberts, Grinnell College: “Walden as ‘Scripture’: Cavell, Religion and the Language of Criticism”
Respondent: Eva Braunstein, Religious Studies, UCSB

11:30 Session V
Pierre Fasula, Paris I: “The Expression of Passions and its Political Implications”
Respondent: Sherri Lynn Conklin, Philosophy, UCSB

Paola Marrati, Johns Hopkins University: “The Reasons of Emotions”
Respondent: Tim Snediker, Religious Studies, UCSB

UCSB Campus Map:

Co-sponsored by The Center for Humanities & Social Change, the College of Letters and Science, the Graduate Center for Literary Research, the Department of Philosophy, the Carsey Wolf Center, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Literature and the Mind Program, the Departments of Religious Studies, of Political Science, Film and Media Studies, French and Italian, and the Comparative Literature Program.

For conference details, please visit

For the screening event, please visit