The Bishop John Fletcher Hurst Philosophy Lecture was initiated by the Department of Philosophy and Religion and named for the founder of American University, who was himself a philosopher. Offered annually in the spring, it brings to the American University campus some of the most distinguished thinkers from this country and abroad. As a result, our students have immediate contact with those shaping philosophical theory in many fields. The department has consistently invited lecturers who are working on the frontiers of contemporary thought and who are relevant to many other disciplines, including aesthetics, the social and natural sciences, history, literature, ethics and the philosophy of religion.
56th Annual Bishop Hurst Lecture
"Civic Art of Remembrance and the Democratic Imagination"
Michele M. Moody-Adams
Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory
Friday, March 27, 2015
Butler Boardroom 1:00 p.m.
About Michele M. Moody Adams
Michele Moody-Adams is the current Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory at
Columbia University, where she served as Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for
Undergraduate Education from 2009-2011. Before Columbia, she taught at Cornell University, where she
was Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Program on Ethics and Public Life.
She has also taught at Wellesley College, the University of Rochester and Indiana University, where she
served as an Associate Dean.
Moody-Adams has published articles on equality and social justice, moral psychology and the virtues,
and the philosophical implications of gender and race. She is also the author of a widely cited book on
moral relativism, Fieldwork in Familiar Places: Morality, Culture and Philosophy. Her current work
includes articles on academic freedom, equal educational opportunity, and democratic disagreement.
She is at work on a book tentatively entitled Renewing Democracy, on the political institutions and
political culture essential to achieving justice and promoting stability in multicultural democracies.
Moody-Adams has a B.A. from Wellesley College, a second B.A. from Oxford University, and earned her
M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University. She has been a British Marshall Scholar, an NEH
Fellow, and is a lifetime Honorary Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.
About "Civic Art of Remembrance and the Democratic Imagination"
The civic art of remembrance is any kind of public art or architecture that expresses a society's collective
memory of civic sacrifice and heroism, defining achievements of public figures, or large-scale trauma in
the national past. It includes monuments, memorials and museums, but also the verbal arts and even
the performing arts. The civic art of remembrance can play a constructive role in contemporary
democracies: helping to preserve democratic institutions, serving as a non-coercive catalyst for efforts
to remedy injustice, and enhancing the creation of an "open" collective identity. Political philosophy
must help us understand how the art of remembrance can shape the democratic imagination to foster
the kind of democratic solidarity and stability that remain compatible with openness to political
"outsiders." This paper is a contribution to that project.
List of Past Lectures
55. 2014 Roger T. Ames, University of Hawai'i, "Confucian Role Ethics: A Challenge to the Ideology of Individualism"
54. 2013 Beate Roessler, University of Amsterdam, "Changing Norms of Friendship: Social Relations in the Age of Social Network Sites"
53. 2012 Susan Brison, Dartmouth College,"The Embodied Self: Trauma, Narrative, and Personal Identity"
52. 2011 Ladelle McWhorter, University of Richmond, "Savages and Throwbacks: A Foucauldian Genealogy of Racism in the 20th Century"
51. 2010 Claudia Card, University of Wisconsin, Madison, "Evils and Inexcusable Wrongs"
50. 2009 Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research, “To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die”
49. 2008 Robert Bernasconi, University of Memphis, “The Policing of Race Mixing and the Birth of Biopower”
48. 2007 Nancy Tuana, Pennsylvania State University, "Witnessing Katrina: Feminist Contributions to Socially Responsible Science"
47. 2006 Alison M. Jaggar, University of Colorado, "The Poorest of the Poor: Justice and the Feminization of Global Poverty"