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Philosophy & Religion | Bishop Hurst Lecture Series

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
Spring 2015

"Civic Art of Remembrance and the Democratic Imagination"

Michele M. Moody-Adams

Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory

Columbia University

Friday, March 27, 2015
Butler Boardroom
1:00 p.m.


About Michele M. Moody Adams

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"

46. 2005 Debra B. Bergoffen, Professor of Philosophy, George Mason University, "From Genocide to Jusstice: Women's Bodies as a Legal Writing Pad"

45. 2004 John J. McDermott, University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Texas A & M University, "Living Without a Canopy of Ultimate Explanation"

44. 2003 Nancy Sherman, University Professor at Georgetown University and Former Distinguished Chair in Ethics, United States Naval Academy, "Stoicism and a Warrior's Anger"

43. 2002 Herman J Saatkamp, Indiana University, Purdue,“The New Genetics and Human Values

42. 2001 Shaun Casey, Wesley Theological Seminary,“The Just War Ethic, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Intervention

41. 2000 Petr Kolar, Charles IV University, Prague, “Academic Freedom in Times of Turmoil

40. 1999 Lucius Outlaw, Haverford, "On Race and Philosophy"

39. 1998 Hugo Adam Bedau, Tufts,"Anarchical Fallacies or Utilitarian Fantasies: Bentham's Critique of Human Rights"

38. 1997 Wesley Robbins, Indiana, "Pragmatism and Religious Freedom"

37. 1996 Rom Harré, Oxford, "Varieties of Relativism"

36. 1995 Amelie Rorty, Mt. Holyoke, "Rights: Educational Not Cultural"

35. 1994 David Crocker, Colorado State, "Consumption, Well-Being and Virtue"

34. 1993 Robert Sokolowski, Catholic University of America, "What is Philosophical Thinking?"

33. 1992 Thelma Lavine, George Mason, "American Philosophy and the Contradictions of Modernity"

32. 1991 Tom Beauchamp, Georgetown, "Why is the Topic of Animal Rights So Ticklish?"

31. 1989 Anthony Quinton, Oxford, "Alien Intelligences: Reflections on the Separation of Anglo-Saxon from Continental European Philosophies"

30. 1989 Joseph Margolis, Temple,"Explanation in the Human and Natural Sciences"

29. 1988 Antony Flew, Reading, "The Logic of Mortality"

28. 1987 G.E.M. Anscombe, Cambridge, "A Reputation Ruined by a Comma"

27. 1986 Basil Mitchell, Oxford, "The Enforcement of Morals"

26. 1985 Jacques Taminiaux, Louvain, "Art and Truth in Schopenhaur and Nietzsche"

25. 1982 John Lachs, Vanderbilt, "Mediation and Psychic Distance: Alienation Reconsidered"

24. 1981 Stanley Rosen, Pennsylvania State, "Philosophy and Revolution: Pre-Socratic Origins"

23. 1980 Michael Novak, Syracuse, "The Philosophy of Democratic Capitalism"

22. 1978 Albert Hofstadter, New School for Social Research, "The Courage for Truth"

21. 1976 Basil Mitchell, Oxford,"The Philosophical and Religious Dimensions of Ethics" and "Is Religious Ethics Necessary or Possible?"

20. 1974 R.M. Hare, Oxford, "Abortion"

19. 1974 Dieter Henrich, Columbia, "Autonomous Negation: A Key to Hegel's Science of Logic"

18. 1972 Stephan Körner, Yale, "The Structure and Function of Metaphysical Propositions"

17. 1972 Alasdair MacIntyre, Brandeis, "The Sources of Unpredictability in Human Affairs"

16. 1971 J.N. Findlay, Yale, "The Critical Predicament"

15. 1970 W.H. Walsh, Edinburgh, "Social and Personal Factors in Morality"

14. 1968 P.F. Strawson, Oxford, "Imagination and Perception"

13. 1968 Norman Malcolm, Cornell, Title Unknown

12. 1967 William Muehl, Yale, "Politics of the New Left"

11. 1966 Isaiah Berlin, Oxford, "Is Philosophy a Province of Knowledge?"

10. 1966 Willfred Sellars, Pittsburgh, "Science and Ethics: A Study in First Principles"

9. 1965 Paul Weiss, Yale, "Philosophy of Art and the Modern Machine Age"

8. 1964 Ernst Nagel, Columbia, "Determinism and Human Action"

7. 1963 Brand Blanchard, Yale, "The Sane and the Eccentric in Present-Day Thought"

6. 1962 Justus Buchler, Columbia,"Reflections on a Theory of Meaning"

5. 1961 A.J. Ayer, Oxford, "The Concept of a Person"

4. 1961 George Schrader, Yale, "Ethics and Existence"

3. 1960 Maurice Mandelbaum, Johns Hopkins, "Historicism: A Key to the Nineteenth Century"

2. 1959 Richard Brandt, Swarthmore, "Ethical Relativism"

1. 1958 Walter Kaufmann, Princeton, “The Significance of Martin Buber"