Daniel Jacobson Named Benson Center Director, Inaugural Bruce D. Benson Endowed Professor of Philosophy
Daniel Jacobson, currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, will take up directorship of the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization beginning this fall. In addition to serving as the Benson Center director, Jacobson is the newly appointed Bruce D. Benson Endowed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The newly endowed professorship is named in honor of University of Colorado President Emeritus Bruce Benson, who retired in 2019 after 11 years at the helm. The professorship was made possible by generous gifts to the Bruce D. Benson Legacy Endowment Fund.
Daniel Jacobson works on a range of topics in ethics, moral psychology, aesthetics, and the moral and political philosophy of J. S. Mill. He has published extensively on issues concerning sentimentalism, the philosophy of emotion, and freedom of speech. Jacobson was Project Leader of The Science of Ethics, a three-year project funded by the John Templeton Foundation. His essay, “Utilitarianism without Consequentialism: The Case of John Stuart Mill,” was chosen by The Philosophers’ Annual as one of the ten best philosophy articles published in 2008. Jacobson is co-editor (with Justin D’Arms) of the volume, Moral Psychology and Human Agency: Philosophical Essays on the Science of Ethics (Oxford University Press). Jacobson and D’Arms are currently working on a collaborative book project, Rational Sentimentalism, and have published a series of articles developing their view.
Jacobson has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, and the Princeton University Center for Human Values. He founded and heads the Freedom and Flourishing Project, which is dedicated to exploring and developing the classical liberal tradition, defending freedom of speech, and increasing political diversity in academia.
Jacobson holds a PhD from the University of Michigan and a BA from Yale University.
A welcome event for Daniel Jacobson will take place this fall.
Faculty Grants Now Available
Research and Educational Initiatives
The Benson Center funds research and educational initiatives that contribute to critical reflection on the development of Western civilization. All CU Boulder faculty (including instructors) are eligible to apply. There are three award cycles per academic year.
The Benson Center recently awarded 10 faculty grants totaling $17,000 in nine disciplines in its Winter 2019/20 award cycle. To date during the current academic year, 23 grants have been awarded totaling just under $30,000. The final deadline for AY2019-20 is March 1, 2020. Please see the Benson Center website for application details and the list of recent awardees.
Team Teaching Grants
The Benson Center has received funding to support team teaching across the College of Arts and Sciences. In collaboration with the College, we’re seeking proposals for AY2020-21. They can be within a department, or across departments. Each participating faculty member will receive full credit for the course, and additional funds will be made available to bring in external visitors or otherwise improve the classroom experience. The main restrictions are that: it must be an undergraduate course, with preference for lower-level courses; the course should showcase how faculty who hold contrasting points of view can engage constructively on controversial topics; and the topic should be the subject of reasonably well-known controversy: specialized disputes within a discipline do not qualify. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, as funding permits. There is no deadline. Please see the website for more information.
Student Grant Applications due March 31, 2020
The Benson Center offers language and internship grants to undergraduate and graduate students.
Add a second language to your résumé or CV through a grant to study one of the many languages connected to the field of western civilization. Many students choose to use these language training grants abroad. These grants are typically awarded for study during the summer and are open to both graduate and undergraduate students.
Students may apply for a grant to subsidize any internship that relates to Western Civ, including law, government, public policy and education. Often, students find internships related to the professional practice of Western Civ in our nation's capital.
Some students may wish to use the Benson Center internship or language study grants as matching funding for a work-study award. These students must apply for summer work study funding through the CU student employment office (the application is typically released in March) and procure a work-study position/supervisor on campus. Participating students must complete both their summer work study and their internship or language study.
Benson Center internship grants are also available to support students in participating in the CU in D.C. program. For more information, contact CU in D.C.
How to Apply
The Benson Center partners with the CU Boulder Scholarship Application service to accept applications through a common platform, available at https://colorado.academicworks.com/. Through this platform, students will automatically be matched with scholarships for which they are eligible based on completion of a common application and information from their student profile. After logging into the platform with your Identikey and password, search for "western civilization" to find the language and internship grants.
Benson Center Summer Institute Invites Applications
The Benson Center invites scholars holding a PhD (or disciplinary equivalent) who are conducting research on some topic that falls within the scope of the Center’s 2020-21 theme, Community or Disunity?, to apply for a four-week Summer Institute in Boulder, to take place June 29-July 24, 2020. Participants will receive a $5000 honorarium, office space and library privileges. The honorarium is intended to cover all travel and business expenses. Participants are expected to be in residence in Boulder for all four weeks of the Institute, and to participate in the daily life of the program, which will include both collaborative seminars and social activities. Application review will begin March 15. For more information and how to apply, please see the website.
Sabbatical Fellowships Available
The Benson Center invites applications for sabbatical researchers to serve as Fellows in Residence. Faculty in fields or with sabbatical projects related to the mission of the Center are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to those whose work closely aligns with the Center's AY2020-21 Community or Disunity? theme. Sabbatical Fellows will be appointed as Visiting Research Professors, given office space and University of Colorado privileges. Where possible, applicants should make every effort to bring their own funding to remain in residence. If such support is not possible, candidates with part-time support can apply for additional support from the Benson Center to match the home institution’s contribution. Fellowship applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information and to apply, please see the website.
Ruy Teixeira to Speak February 3, 2020 on American Politics: Is a Better Future Possible?
With American politics sharply polarized and the 2020 election coming up, which will surely just enhance that polarization, many Americans wonder whether American politics will ever improve. Is bitter conflict and unproductive governance our inescapable future? Or could we be in a transitional period to a significantly better future? At 5:30 p.m. in Hale RM 230, Ruy Teixeira will examine underlying demographic, economic and political trends, both nationally and in states like California, to examine these possibilities. Please register for this event via Eventbrite.
Conservative Thought and Policy Guest Speaker Series
The Benson Center promotes critical reflection on the distinctive traditions and political perspectives that characterize Western civilization. It encourages residents of Colorado and the United States to more fully understand and appreciate their past, their future and a free and creative American society within an international environment. Conservative Thought and Policy guest speakers bring a unique perspective as guests of the Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy program. This year’s series, The American National Character Project, expands on the Benson Center’s 2019-20 theme, American Identities. This series is sponsored by the Ryan Foundation.
Please visit our website to view videos of past lectures and register for upcoming lectures. The Spring 2020 Conservative Thought and Policy Guest Speaker Series features:
- Ruy Teixeira | February 3, 2020, Hale 230, 5:30 p.m.
- Danielle Allen | February 18, 2020, Hale 270, 5:30 p.m.
- Stephen Cambone | February 25, 2020, Hale 230, 5:30 p.m.
- Daniel Mahoney | March 10, 2020, Hale 230, 5:30 p.m.
- Yuval Levin | March 31, 2020, Hale 230, 5:30 p.m.
- William B. Allen | April 13, 2020, Hale 230, 5:30 p.m.
Senior Scholar in Residence John Doody Presents "Eight Men Out" Screening and Discussion
In partnership with the Boulder Public Library's Doris' Sunday Matinees series, the Benson Center will screen the film Eight Men Out on Sunday, April 5 at 1 p.m. in the Boulder Public Library's Canyon Theater, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue. Eight Men Out is a retelling of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox Scandal. Directed by John Sayles (1988), it features John Cusack and D. B. Sweeney. The film will be introduced by Benson Center Senior Scholar in Residence John (Jack) Doody, who will lead a discussion after the screening. Doody holds the Robert M. Birmingham Chair in Humanities at Villanova University. Free and open to the public. No Eventbrite registration is needed or accepted for this event. Ballpark snacks will accompany the screening.