Screening Virtue

Icon_ScreeningVirtueThis project aims to investigate how film and television can enhance our understanding of virtues and character development by conceptualizing the distinctiveness of screen fiction. Its significance is the creation of new knowledge in film and television studies as well as in ethical theory, using an innovative interdisciplinary approach. The expected outcomes include novel methods for both the philosophical understanding of virtues and the in-depth analysis of screen fiction. Its key benefit, as well as advancing understanding in these areas, is to inform the development of educational programs for cultivating character through collaborations with Australian schools.


Screening Virtue, Screening Vice – What can films and television shows teach us about virtues and vices?’

This one-day workshop at The University of Notre Dame Australia in Sydney will explore the philosophical, cinematic and educational aspects of exploring virtue through fictional film and television programmes.

  • When: 7-8 October 2021 (AEST) – Via Zoom
  • Keynote Speaker: Prof Joseph Kupfer (Iowa State University)

Fictional films and television programs can entertain, uplift, distract and educate us, but could they also help to make us better people? This workshop is part of an ongoing research project that aims to bring together moral philosophy with film and television studies in order to demonstrate how fictional film and television can help us deepen and expand our understanding of the virtues and how they can be cultivated.

This workshop is part of a collaborative project between researchers in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Institute for Ethics and Society at The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Thursday, 7 October (hybrid or zoom session – depending on Public Health advice)

  • 2pm Welcome
  • 2.15-3.00pm Sylvie Magerstaedt and John Lippitt – Great Detective versus humble policeman – intellectual virtues and social vices in Endeavour (2012-) VIEW RECORDING HERE
  • 3.15-4pm Lucia Oriana – Exploring a protagonist’s ‘virtue exhibition’ and the jurisprudence of international law that can lead to a virtuous life in Official Secrets (2019)

Friday, 8 October (Zoom session)

  • 10-11am Keynote: Joseph Kupfer – The Calamity of Vanity in Young Adult
  • 11.15-12.00 James Franklin – How to Sell the Virtue of Restraint: Casablanca
  • 12-1pm LUNCH BREAK
  • 1-1.45 Samuel Kaldas – Rooting for the Devil: Breaking Bad and the Philosophical Value of Vicious Protagonists
  • 2-2.45pm Susan Hopkins and Geoff Parkes – From Showgirls to Hustlers: What can Films about Strippers teach us about Virtue and Vice in Neoliberal times
  • 2.50-3.35 Robert Sinnerbrink – Truth, Performance, and the Close-Up: Paradoxical Candour in Errol Morris’s ‘Interrotron’ Interviews

Concluding words

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