Jefferson Journal of Science and Culture Presents:

Forum for Interdisciplinary Dialogue on Aesthetic and Beauty - Conference Schedule

Saturday, November 2nd


Continental Breakfast



 Welcome and Introduction

Josie Lamp (Co-Editor in Chief)




Keynote Speaker #1: Talk Title TBD

Claire Raymond, Author and Professor at the University of Virginia

50 min talk + 15 min for questions


Coffee Break




Author Presentation #1 - Musical Aesthetics of the Natural World

Eli Stine and Christopher Luna-Mega (Zoom Presentation)

30 min talk + 10 min for questions


Catered Lunch by Roots





Author Presentation #2 - The Aesthetics of Interpersonal Attunement in Spiritual Care 

Michael Nilon (Zoom Presentation)

30 min talk + 10 min for questions





Author Presentation #3 - A Classical Framework for Assessing Beauty in the Fields of Science and Engineering    

Raymond Santucci (Pre-recorded lecture + 3-5 author provided discussion questions)

30 min talk + 5 min for discussion questions


Coffee Break





Keynote Speaker #2 - On Beautifying the Academy

Harvey Teres, Dean's Professor of the Public Humanities, Professor, English, Syracuse University

50 min talk + 15 min for questions



Poster Introductions

Yasmin Horner, Alice Deters


Reception / Poster Session and Coffee Break



Conference Closing

Robert Moulder (Co-Editor in Chief)


Transfer to External Dinner location



Dinner at Bashirs

Authors, editors and keynote speakers only


Speaker Bios:

Claire Raymond

Claire Raymond teaches as a lecturer for the program in Art History. She teaches courses focusing on aesthetic theory, history and theory of photography, visual culture, feminist theory, race, and cultural memory. Her doctorate is from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Raymond is the author of five books of scholarship. The Posthumous Voice in Women’s Writing (2006), Francesca Woodman and the Kantian Sublime (2010), Witnessing Sadism in Texts of the American South (2014), Francesca Woodman's Dark Gaze (2016, Women Photographers and Feminist Aesthetics (2017), 16 Ways of Looking at a Photograph (2019), and The Photographic Uncanny (2019); as well as six books of poetry and a chapbook of poetry, The Gleaners (2013), Museum of Snow (2013), Motels Where We Lived (2014), After Houses (2014), Television (2016), Tartessos and Other Cities (2016), State Fair Animals (2018), Substance of Fire: Gender and Race in the Classroom (2018), and Ransom Street (2019). Her concern in her scholarship, writing, and teaching, is in sounding out the silenced places of culture, and in better understanding and limning the ways that visual culture and fine art shape our public and private lives. She takes a formalist approach to every analysis, applying aesthetic theory to questions of culture. Her hobbies are long-distance running; and virtually any activity that involves spending time with her son!


Harvey Teres

Harvey Teres is Dean’s Professor for the Public Humanities in English at Syracuse

University. He is the author of the recently published Conversations about Beauty with

Ordinary Americans: Somebody Loves Us All (Common Ground, 2018), The Word on the

Street: Linking the Academy and the Common Reader (University of Michigan Press,

2011) and Renewing the Left: Politics, Imagination, and the New York Intellectuals

(Oxford University Press, 1996).


Professor Teres was born in the Bronx and raised in Los Angeles. He received his B.A.

from Cornell University, after which he spent six years working as a labor organizer in

the factories of Chicago. He then earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago, has

taught at Princeton University and, for the past twenty six years, at Syracuse University.

His fields of expertise include 20 th -century American literature and culture, and Jewish

American literature. His current teaching and scholarly priorities involve bridging the

gap between the academic humanities and surrounding communities. He is married to

Xueyi Chen, and has two daughters: Caitlin (35) and Julianne (16).


Author Talk Abstracts:

Musical Aesthetics of the Natural World: Two Modern Compositional Approaches

Eli Stine, Visiting Assistant Professor at Oberlin Conservatory (and past Jefferson Fellow) and Christopher Luna-Mega, Ph.D. candidate and Jefferson Fellow in Composition and Computer Technologies in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia

Throughout recorded human history, experiences and observations of the natural world have inspired the arts. Within the sonic arts, evocations of nature permeate a wide variety of acoustic and electronic composition strategies. These strategies artistically investigate diverse attributes of nature: tranquility, turbulence, abundance, scarcity, complexity, and purity, to name but a few. Within the 20th century, new technologies to understand these attributes, including media recording and scientific analysis, were developed. These technologies allow music composition strategies to go beyond mere evocation and to allow for the construction of musical works that engage explicit models of nature (what has been called ‘biologically inspired music’). This paper explores two such deployments of these ‘natural sound models’ within music and music generation systems created by the authors: an electroacoustic composition using data derived from multi-channel recordings of forest insects (Luna-Mega) and an electronic music generation system that extracts musical events from the different layers of natural soundscapes, in particular oyster reef soundscapes (Stine). Together these works engage a diverse array of extra-musical disciplines: environmental science, acoustic ecology, entomology, and computer science. The works are contextualized with a brief history of natural sound models from pre-antiquity to the present in addition to reflections on the uses of technology within these projects and the potential experiences of audiences listening to these works.


The Aesthetics of Interpersonal Attunement in Spiritual Care: Resonating with Self and Other through Storytelling

Michael Nilon, Ph.D Candidate and Jefferson Fellow in Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This article explores how storytelling plays an integral role in interpersonal attunement, attachment, and spiritual caregiving. An interpersonal style of attuning to the experiences of others constitutes an ethical aesthetic of resonant harmonizing between the bodies, nervous systems, and minds of caregivers and patients. Neurobiological research has provided empirical scaffolding to rationally understand how attuned relations regulate the nervous systems of the relating persons. Compassionate caregiving in clinical chaplaincy practices relies on the cultivation of self-regulation capacities through meditation practices and bottom-up self-integration techniques on the part of caregivers. Compassionate caregivers then use their emotional equilibrium and empathic insights to open an interpersonal space for receiving the stories of patients, families, and other caregivers in clinical settings. Self-regulation and self-transcendence depend on the creation of physiological cues of safety and empathic understanding between persons and social groups that counteract the harms endemic to many late modern social institutions in which systemic violence often takes place. The lack of such physiological cues of safety not only undermines self-healing processes that storytelling enables but can lead to destructive negative reciprocities. This article concludes that attuned spiritual caregiving offers a more sustainable social response to suffering than the creation of silos for warehousing men and women whose exposure the complex trauma has led to chronic failure to self-regulate.


A Classical Framework for Assessing Beauty in the Fields of Science and Engineering    

Raymond Santucci, Assistant Research Professor at United States Naval Academy

Beauty is that which communicates itself clearly to the perceiver who is so pleased by what is perceived so as to inspire a movement of the will toward that beauty. Beauty is true and it is good, and it greatly enriches all aspects of human life. The sciences are no exception, as they too can be enriched by beauty. As science is concerned with the pursuit of truth for the good of all, it is only natural that beauty be a part of its patrimony. As such, beauty and science are assessed together in this article to find places of cooperative enrichment and benefit. An internally consistent framework is presented herein which defines what beauty is and how to critically assess it. This framework is classical in origin and is represented here to a modern audience. Once properly understood, this framework can be used to objectively discuss and analyze beauty, particularly within the context of scientific and engineering disciplines. Examples are given to demonstrate how beauty can be better implemented into the sciences with respect to figures, presentations, and products. The ultimate goal of the work is to encourage the critical discussion of beauty and to empower scientists to more beautifully present their research.


Poster Abstracts:


Yasmin Horner, Undergraduate Jefferson Scholar, Undecided Major

I’m a first year, and I’m undecided. It’s a bit scary, to not really know what you want to do, but at the same time, it’s kind of beautiful. I get to spend my days looking deep into subjects, extracting their essence, and deciding how happy it makes me. I’ve been speaking with people of all sorts of majors, asking them why they love what they do, to try to determine what I myself want to do. But in my journey, I realized how incredible it is to love a certain area of study. I wanted this poster to convey that sheer joy of loving a certain subject matter, and diversity of thought within each major. I have always believed that eyes are the window to the soul, so the poster is filled with nine blocks (five of real skin tones, four of skin tones that do not actually exist), each containing a set of eyes. Looking into the eyes, a viewer can see the subject area that the poster-person is passionate about, whether it be psychology, astronomy, etc. However, within each block, each eye represents a dichotomy. For example, in the art major block, one eye holds artwork from a more traditional art form, while the other eye holds art from a much more abstract and modern art style. Additionally, majors and interests so often blend together, so many blocks interact with each other, having aspects and characteristics that travel from one eye to another. Furthermore, a lot of the time people manifest their passions and interests in physical ways, so many of the blocks show the majors taking form outside of the eyes, rather than just in them. My goal was to show why people are fascinated with every subject matter, and why every major holds beauty and aesthetics. I also wanted to look at how each subject matter relates to our humanity, especially our ability to compartmentalize our existence, and how each discipline does that in a beautiful way.


Retracing Steps

Alice Deters, Undergraduate Jefferson Scholar, Architecture Major

Retracing Steps is a series of overlapping diagrams following an abstracted construction of the University of Virginia’s Lawn. The lines and dots that comprise each drawing are exact and clear, but drawings are collaged into systems and these systems are further combined to form the final composition. The poster, a collection of traces, discusses beauty as carefully prepared, involving construction lines we cannot see and moments of insistent overlap. Beauty is deep, barely there, premeditated, and chaotic. Beauty is evolutionary and transformative, mathematical and cultural. While the poster describes the Lawn in its various stages, it more readily characterizes the metamorphic and reframing processes that follow an ideal as it ages and grows. An idea reinvents itself throughout the realization process and in the years that follow edges closer and closer to the possibility of ruin. Whether this ruin is forgotten or exalted is a decision for the masses who surround its site — those who trace and retrace their steps passing through. As the drawings overrun one another, the site become more ambiguous, and the lines overlap into a labyrinth of barely decipherable forms. Beauty is various, it is confusing, it is mysterious. More than anything, Beauty and time are inseparable. Beauty is a product of where and when we, the population, consider it. Looking through the dots and lines that cover this page, which shapes will our values choose out of the cloud? What will connect, intersect, explode? Compounding the most simple units of sketching, Retracing Steps writes rules, breaks them, erases, writes over, and lets fade with time.