OSUN Ambassadors form a small, diverse, and carefully selected cohort who will together explore some of the central themes of the conference, attend the conference events in person on the Bard campus in New York, and participate in discussions with one another and with conference speakers and other attendees.
Travel and accommodation costs will be fully sponsored by OSUN’s Hannah Arendt Humanities Network. Faculty of any rank, as well as advanced college students, graduate students, and independent scholars are welcome to apply; there are no geographical restrictions. We expect to select 10 ambassadors, aiming for representation from a diversity of interests, academic standings, and regions of origin.
OSUN Ambassadors will meet as a group at least twice via Zoom in the weeks prior to the conference for structured discussions. We will also convene on the Bard campus just before the start of the conference for a final discussion and a shared meal. OSUN Ambassadors will be expected to read a small selection of texts in advance of each meeting to prepare for the discussions.
The group will be convened and led by Thomas Bartscherer, the Peter Sourian Senior Lecturer in the Humanities at Bard College and a Senior Fellow at the Arendt Center.
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle observes that “without friends, no one would choose to live, even if he possessed all other goods,” while also noting that “friendships hold cities together.” Both the personal and the political dimensions of friendship, and the complicated relationship between the two, will be under discussion during this conference. In the spirit of Hannah Arendt—who was said to have a “genius for friendship” and who wrote perceptively about what she called “the political relevance of friendship”—the conference will convene speakers from a range of fields both within and outside of academia and will seek to bring historical and theoretical insights to bear on pressing contemporary social and political concerns. Among the questions we will be considering:
What is friendship? And why is it so meaningful?
Is there a crisis of friendship today? And if so, why?
How do the politics of identity and the culture of individualism affect the formation of personal and political friendships?
How can we nurture the intimate and public friendships that allow us to flourish?
Epistolary friendships are an old tradition. What is the possibility of long-distance epistolary friendships in the internet age?
Does social media make possible new types of friendships?
You can read more about the conference here.