Adult Children of Divorce: Recovering Origins

April 12, 2012

Mission of the Symposium:

Recently much has been written about the effects of divorce on children by children of divorce themselves, who now, as adults, are questioning the conventional opinion that children are better served by a so-called “good divorce” than a bad marriage. In light of their direct experience, they have begun to identify the central problem inherited by children of divorce (irrespective of the “quality” of their parents’ parting), namely, that of living in the horizon of a broken origin.

In view of this new situation, the Center, which is dedicated to the judgment of cultural phenomena as they affect the most vulnerable, wishes to take stock of the effects of divorce on children in the upcoming Symposium. In its engagement with this issue, the Center endeavors not only to understand the sociological evidence bearing on children and divorce but also to probe the most fundamental questions the problem raises, such as the relation between human identity and the horizon of an enduring love, as well as that between freedom, happiness and fidelity. These questions, asked especially by the children of divorce themselves, will animate the work of the Symposium. The Symposium is directed to educators, pastors, psychologists, counselors, youth directors, and more generally to anyone interested in the welfare of children and families.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, April 12

Introduction and Keynote Address 7:00pm-8:30pm

Carl Anderson

Rev. Antonio LópezMemory, Childhood and the Task of Being

Friday, April 13

Breaking the Silence on the “Good Divorce” – the Heart of the Matter (moderator: Mary Shivanandan) 9:00am-10:30am

Elizabeth MarquardtCaught Between Two Worlds

Lisa Lickona - The Homelessness of Divorce

Break 10:30-10:45

Sociological Research on Divorce: on those who divorce and on their children (moderator: Michael Hanby) 10:45am-12:15pm

W. Bradford WilcoxThe Long Arm of Divorce: The Long-term Social and Cultural Consequences of Divorce in America

Rev. Paul SullinsThe Short End of Divorce: Personal Effects of Divorce (and Remarriage After Divorce) on Children

Lunch 12:30pm-2:00pm

Pursuing Happiness in the Breaking of Vows: Does Divorce make people happier? (moderator: Margaret Laracy) 2:00pm – 3:45pm

Maggie GallagherDoes Divorce Make People Happy? Reflections on Data, Theology, and Personal Experience

Sr. Maximillia UmMarrying and Un-Marrying in the Pursuit of Happiness

Marcella Colbert - A Counter-cultural path to Fulfillment: Finding Happiness in Fidelity to Marriage Vows After a Civil Divorce

Courtship and the Divorce Culture (moderator: Margaret McCarthy) 4:00pm-5:45pm

Kay HymowitzCourtship in the Wake of Divorce

Gintautas Vaitoska - Killed by the Dragon: The Implications for Marriage (and Divorce) of Dating Patterns and Relations Between the Sexes in Western Culture

Elizabeth KantorCourtship before the Divorce Culture: The Road to “Permanent Happiness” in Jane Austen

Saturday, April 14

Gender Identity in a Broken Home (moderator: Andrew Sodergren) 9:00am-10:00am

Richard Fitzgibbons - The Traumatic Effects of Divorce on Masculine and Feminine Development in Children and Teenagers

Fatherhood in the Fragmented Family (moderator: David S. Crawford) 10:00am – 11:30am

David BlankenhornDivorce and the Experience of Fatherhood

Vicki ThornThe Biological Implications of an Absent Father

Break 11:30am - 11:45am

Divorce and the Social Fabric (moderator: Jeanne Schindler) 11:45am - 1:15pm

Nathan W. SchlueterMore than Mere Will: The Ground of Fidelity in the Thought of Wendell Berry

Ryan C. MacPhersonThe History of No-Fault Divorce: An Odd-Couple Marriage Between the Political Left and Right

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