New Mellon-funded program led by UF Religion faculty, graduate students

The University of Florida (UF) Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere launched its Intersections Research-Into-Teaching Grants earlier this year, made possible with $400,000 in funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Awards of $30,000 were given to four Intersections Groups of UF faculty and staff working together across disciplines on researching and addressing major challenges.
One of these groups is “Ethics and the Public Sphere,” convened by Prof. Anna Peterson of the Department of Religion.
Responding to the complex moral challenges facing our society, this Intersections Group will examine contemporary ethical issues that dominate conversations in the public arena, such as gun control, climate change, freedom of speech, and reproductive rights. The group will devote special attention to the question of how these issues influence undergraduate students and develop a course for students to learn ethical thinking and reflect on moral challenges. In order to connect ethical decision-making to community service, the group will create a set of resources for students and teachers. The project’s ultimate goal is to enable students to think critically about ethical issues and to develop skills to be effective moral agents in their professional, personal, and public lives.
Members of the group include:
  • Convener: Anna Peterson, Professor, Religion
  • Co-convener: Jaime Ahlberg, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
  • Members:
    • Elaine Giles, Assistant Director, Brown Center for Leadership and Service
    • April Hines, Librarian, Journalism and Mass Communications
    • Kim Walsh-Childers, Professor, Journalism
    • Christopher Lomelin, Ph.D. student, Religion
    • Victoria Machado, Ph.D. candidate, Religion
Intersections Groups demonstrate the urgency for scholars to mobilize interdisciplinary collaboration with the humanities in order to respond to grand challenges,” says Prof. Barbara Mennel, Interim Director of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere. “Importantly, the Intersections Groups will translate scholarship into teaching to expose first-year students to the significance of the humanities in multiple thematic contexts.”
To learn more, visit the Ethics and the Public Sphere Intersections group’s new website.