The Humility Gap: How can we be open minded about matters of gender, race and historic injustice?
Open mindedness is generally perceived as a positive trait, but how can we be open minded in discussions around gender, race and histories of injustice; debates which often tap into deep emotions, closely guarded identities and experiences of oppression?
The Oxford Character Project’s new ‘Humility Gap’ project seeks to engage academics, students and thought leaders in a wide-ranging conversation around these issues with a particular emphasis on the virtue of intellectual humility. Through events, podcasts and publications we hope to explore the difficulties of practicing intellectual humility as we present our identities, experiences or emotions as evidence in public discourse. Questions will include: How do historic expectations of female humility affect the ways women relate to the virtue of intellectual humility? Can intellectual humility be a liberating and empowering practice? and How can histories of injustice be discussed in openminded ways?
The project will draw on contributions from a wide range of academics, think tanks, politicians and media contributors. It is funded by a fellowship from the University of Connecticut’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life project. For more information contact Dr Bethan Willis.
The Oxford Character Project was founded in 2014 by an Anglican charity, with the support of senior academics from across the University of Oxford. Its academic work seeks to draw on perspectives from history, literature, education, philosophy, theology, and the social sciences. The project's events and student programmes seek to foster open engagement with students and academics from various moral, cultural, and religious traditions, in keeping with the diversity represented in the university community.
The project seeks to help talented students develop key virtues of character which will prepare them to be the wise thinkers and good leaders the world so desperately needs. Its research explores virtues and themes that are essential for personal formation and moral leadership, including institutional incentives and biases, the relationship between leading and following, the place of failure, the nature of service and vocation, and the virtues of honesty, wisdom, gratitude, and humility. Practical programmes draw together cohorts of students to develop qualities of life and leadership in diverse and open learning communities.