ALCF Conference Salon Series

2020 Conference Theme: Using the Past to Inform Our Future

This year, we have all been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and we’ve learned the importance of cultivating and maintaining connection with others. In this spirit, we invite you to join us for a series of informal, virtual (via Zoom) roundtable discussions we've affectionately named our "Salon Series."

We hope this will serve as an opportunity to connect or re-connect with fellow faculty from Lutheran colleges and universities while also stimulating new thoughts and ideas.

Please join us for one or several of the scheduled discussions. We'd love to see you!

We will also use these sessions as a way to gauge interest in a virtual "mini" ALCF conference in October. Even if you are unable to make any of the Salon Series sessions, please let us know if you are interested in presenting a talk, a "salon" discussion, or a workshop.

Register for Salon Series

To register for one of the following Salon Series sessions and receive a link to the Zoom session, please submit the ALCF Salon Series Registration form

For more information, please email

Salon Series Sessions

Salon Series: Session 1

Camus, the Plague, and Social Unrest

Moderated by Mary Kay Johnston

July 22, 2020, 7:30 p.m. (Central Time)

Please register by July 20 to reserve your place and receive an excerpt from Camus’ The Plague for discussion.

For our first session, join us as we discuss the social and psychological effects of epidemic on individuals and communities. We are currently living through a time of global pandemic, while at the same time witnessing widespread social and political unrest. What is the relationship between these events? Throughout the summer, mass protests have continuously occurred, including those against the lockdown and those for Black Lives Matter. Political response to the pandemic has been inconsistent across levels of government and across the nation. How can we take the lessons from history and literature to help us understand current events? How can these lessons give us perspective for the future? And, how can this drive our actions moving forward?

Register for Salon Series

Salon Series: Session 2

Pandemic Language and Reality

Moderated by Camelia Raghinaru

August 10, 2020, 7:30 p.m. (Central Time)

Please register by August 7 to reserve your place.

The article under discussion for this session is authored by Eduardo Mendieta and is titled, "Lexicon of a Pandemic: Language as a Virus."  Download it here.

Our second session discusses the way language shapes the reality of the pandemic. In this article Eduardo Mendieta draws a parallel between a virus as a biological entity and language itself as a "vector of other viruses" that can infect both our minds and our public existence. On the obverse, language can be a source of healing. Mendieta reflects on the uses of the following terms during the pandemic: "social distancing," "relief," "stimulus," "stabilization," "economic and financial time," "virus," "vector," "foreign," "disappear," "luck," "deep state," and "solidarity." These are some questions that the article poses for reflection: Are we "physically distancing," rather than "socially distancing," and is the latter a "more insidious and viral" expression than we might suspect? Are the terms "stimulus" and "stabilization" perhaps "cynical" ways to refer to what is turning into an economic depression worse than the 2008 financial collapse? Is the pandemic perhaps making it all too obvious that we need to address crippling student debt? Does the term "virus" indicate that we carry not just a biological viral entity, but also "rhetorical venom"? Also, what is the way forward?

Register for Salon Series

Salon Series: Session 3

Learning to Recognize and Step Outside Our Algorithmic World Views

Moderated by Mikail McIntosh-Doty, Director of Library Services, Concordia University Texas

September 9, 2020, 7:30 p.m. (Central Time)

Please register by September 4 to reserve your place.

Learning is supposed to focus on the journey as well as the destination. For a variety of reasons including cost reduction and enhanced efficiency, more and more information is gathered, organized, and presented using computer formulas known as algorithms. This is very true in the library world. At this salon, we’ll talk about algorithms in our lives (mostly online, but their efforts resonate far beyond their use as nerdy formulas) and why they are so effective and yet limiting. Some of what comes up when we talk about bias and prejudice relates directly to how algorithms are potentially flawed: Sometimes we’ve been told something is “objective” because it processes “big data.” However, what if that data was gathered with bias? How can an algorithm based on that data do anything but replicate that bias? We’ll look for ways to use algorithms effectively, but still remind ourselves to question their objectivity and accuracy.

Register for Salon Series

Propose a Session

Have an idea for a session of your own? Email to schedule a session.