“The Great American Storybook”: A Weekend Conference for College Students

March 24-26, 2023
South Bend, Indiana

The Great American Storybook

The Great American Storybook lives within the heart and minds of all Americans—past, present, and future. America—the land of opportunity, the home of the Free because of the Brave: what does it mean to be American? What has it meant in years past and how does that shape who we are today? Join us this March to discover and explore the chapters of ages past.

We will explore the 5 cities that made America, according to the thought of Russell Kirk. We will journey from Athens, Jerusalem, Rome, and London, and finally to Philadelphia, where the idea of America became a reality, planting itself in rich soil. The thought of the Founding Fathers who helped shape our country will be examined in light of their understanding of God and liberty, and the reflections of the great Alexis De’ Tocqueville will be thoroughly examined. The great American Frontier will be considered next, as we challenge ourselves not only to reflect on the physical Frontier of ages past, but the metaphorical Frontier that lays ahead. Finally, the life and writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder will also be considered as some of the greatest contributions to America’s cultural and literary history.

All undergraduate students are encouraged to apply now for an incredible weekend with some of America’s brightest, modern scholars, in South Bend, Indiana. We look forward to seeing you there!


Applications are now closed.

Bradley J. Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer is the co-founder of, and Senior Contributor at, The Imaginative Conservative. He is the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College and Fellow of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Dr. Birzer is author of In Defense of Andrew JacksonRussell Kirk: American ConservativeAmerican Cicero: The Life of Charles CarrollSanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher DawsonJ.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth, co-editor of The American Democrat and Other Political Writings by James Fenimore Cooper, and co-author of The American West.

Susan Hanssen
Susan Hanssen

Susan Hanssen received her graduate degree in history from Rice University in Houston, TX. She received her undergraduate degree in history from Boston University (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). During the summer of 2008 she was adjunct professor for the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation at Georgetown University. She was the 2010-2011 Garwood Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

R. J. Snell

R.J. Snell is Editor-in-Chief of Public Discourse and Director of Academic Programs at the Witherspoon Institute. Previously, he was for many years Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy Program at Eastern University and the Templeton Honors College, where he founded and directed the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good.

Vincent Phillip Muñoz

Vincent Phillip Muñoz is Tocqueville Associate Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He is the Founding Director of ND’s Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government. Dr. Muñoz writes and teaches across the fields of constitutional law, American politics, and political philosophy with a focus on religious liberty and the American Founding. An award-winning teacher and a popular lecturer, Dr. Muñoz has spoken at nearly 75 colleges and universities in the past several years. He received his B.A. at Claremont McKenna College, his M.A. at Boston College, and his Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate School.

Patrick J. Deneen

Patrick J. Deneen holds a B.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. He is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles and reviews and has delivered invited lectures around the world. Deneen was awarded the A.P.S.A.’s Leo Strauss Award for Best Dissertation in Political Theory in 1995, and an honorable mention for the A.P.S.A.’s Best First Book Award in 2000.  He has been awarded research fellowships from Princeton University, Earhart Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Virginia. His teaching and writing interests focus on the history of political thought, American political thought, liberalism, conservatism, and constitutionalism.