Intellectual Integrity? How to be a public intellectual

Intellectual Integrity? How to be a public intellectual

9th—10th July 2013
University of York
CPD Suite / Ron Cooke Hub / Heslington East

Funded by the Research & Innovation Office, HRC, and Department of Philosophy

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To coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the University of York, The Integrity Project ( is collaborating with the board of studies for academic practice to organise a series of events on the theme Intellectual Integrity? How to be a public intellectual.  

These events explore the different ways in which the role of public intellectual can be enacted, both inside and outside the academy, and the different pressures, compromises, and opportunities that one aspiring to that role can expect to face. We will ask: what is it to be a public intellectual, and can one step into the role without compromising one’s integrity?

Intellectual Integrity? is a chance for new and established academics, public figures, post-grads, students, graduates and York residents to think about and discuss the risks and rewards of stepping outside the university or engaging in academic life as a public intellectual.

We welcome all interested parties. Any queries or enquiries can be directed to us through this website, or at the email addresses below.



12.30—2.30PM Integrity Through Literature
Derek Attridge, Alex Beaumont, Peter Lamarque
Amber Carpenter (convener)

This workshop explores the ways in which literature expresses, presents, or fails to have integrity. Participants will also consider the author as socially situated in ways that affect their ability to express integrity through their writing.

2.30—3PM TEA

3—5.30PM Public Intellectual, Personal Integrity
Fabian Geier, Matthew Kieran, Rafe McGregor
Rafe McGregor (convener)

This session explores the relation between being a public intellectual and possessing personal integrity. Should academics be expected to demonstrate virtues of character? What about intellectual integrity? If an academic fails to demonstrate integrity, does this justify the marginalisation of his or her work even if there is no trace of the personal failings in that work?  Case studies from the lives of philosophers and literary theorists suggest answers to these questions.

3pm: Silence as a Vice of Character
Mr Rafe McGregor, University of York

3.45pm: No Integrity in a World of Falsehood? T.W. Adorno as a Public Intellectual
Dr Fabian Geier, University of Bamberg

4.30pm: Public Intellectuals, Personal Temptations
Professor Matthew Kieran, University of Leeds


6.30—8PM Academics, Policy, and Politics
Tom Baldwin, Kate Pickett, Martin Smith
John Robinson (chair)

LOCATION NOTE: This session will take place in the Lakehouse, also on the new Heslington East Campus

This public lecture brings together York academics involved in shaping public policy. They will discuss the pressures, rewards, and challenges of bringing one’s academic research into political contexts. John Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.



10—12noon Why dissent/What dissent
Claire Westall, Chris Rogers (conveners)

This workshop will explore what, if any, forms of dissent can be offered within academic institutions and specifically by academics. What do we understand by ‘dissent’ and how might this be different from, part of, and/or similar to other modes of critique we deploy in our working lives—including our teaching. We hope that people will be as open and responsive as possible in order to share and debate how dissent, critique, and integrity may or may not interrelate within academia.


1—3PM Female public intellectuals: the risk of exposure
Sue Mendus, Sara Perry, Lorna-Jane Richardson, Carole Spary.
Audra Mitchell (convener)

This session explores the particular challenges and risks associated with being a female public intellectual, or attempting to create a public presence in an increasingly ‘exposed’ virtual sphere. It will be structured around a combination of brief panel discussions and ‘break-out’ groups.

3.15—4.45PM Does being an academic require compromising one’s integrity?
Sue Mendus
Rachael Wiseman (chair)

This talk draws a parallel between taking up public office and holding an academic role, and explores whether the latter, like the former, requires compromising one’s integrity.

5—6.15PM Defending Academic Freedom. A discussion with John Akker

Amber Carpenter & Rachael Wiseman (conveners)

John Akker, former executive secretary at the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), and founding Executive Director of the Network for Education & Academic rights—a global network to protect academic freedom—will discuss, among other things, the responsibility of UK academics to protect the freedom of academics under threat elsewhere.


We hope you can join us.

All the best,

Amber and Rachael

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