Dr. Bowker presented his paper on the political psychology of courage, entitled “Courage and the Self: Overcoming the Dilemma of Manliness and Justice, which is the Dilemma of Private and Public Virtue,” at the annual conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), the largest annual political science conference in the US.

The most interesting dilemma of courage, Bowker argues, arises from the tension between familiar discourses of courage that privilege self-sacrifice and even self-destruction, on one hand, and the possibility that courage may be more usefully applied to projects that cultivate and protect the integrity of the self, on the other. This tension may be dissolved in various ways, but both the tension and attempts at its dissolution reveal our interest in linking courage with the recuperation of the innocence (i.e., pure goodness) of a self or a group. On the contrary, Bowker claims, the most important kind of courage is the courage to reject such fantasies as components of psychologically regressive orientations to the world that pit innocence against evil, survival against annihilation, and so on. We may choose to risk our bodies, our jobs, our reputations, or even our lives for the sake of something we hold dear, but what is courageous is the capacity to act with integrity in spite of the fact that innocence cannot be preserved or resurrected, even by facing extraordinary danger or undertaking great sacrifice.

Dr. Bowker also Chaired two Paper Symposia and delivered two Discussant Presentations on disproportional incarceration, the militarization of police forces, and the (mis)representation of self and other. In addition, he led a “Junior Scholar Symposium” on the topic of “Time, History, and Politics” as a senior researcher advising younger scholars about their work.

Through MPSA, Dr. Bowker serves as faculty mentor to young scholars and Ph.D. students from around the world. At this year’s conference he held two mentoring sessions for new mentees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The New School for Social Research, Cairo University, and Korea University.

  • : Medaille College

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