This international conference on "Public Intellectualism in Comparative Context: Different Countries, Different Disciplines," hosted by the NDIAS April 22-24, 2013 at the University of Notre Dame, focused on the roles played by public intellectuals—persons who exert a large influence in the contemporary society of their countries by virtue of their thought, writing, or speaking—in various countries around the world and in their different professional roles. Leading experts from multiple disciplines came together to approach this elusive topic of public intellectualism from different perspectives.
The conference included interdisciplinary discussion of ideas presented as well as less formal opportunities for scholarly discourse and interaction. Each session included a 40-minute presentation, a 20-minute commentary from another scholar in the field, followed by 40 minutes of questions and discussion of the presentation. This engaging and interdisciplinary approach differed from conferences in some disciplines, offering a unique opportunity to engage other scholars in ways that transcend disciplinary boundaries and providing participants new perspectives and ideas.