Cosmopolitanism Conference at Notre Dame

Cosmopolitanism Poster

The Notre Dame Gender Studies Program is holding a one-day conference on “Cosmopolitanism: Gender, Race, Class and the Quest for Global Justice” on Friday September 28th, 2007.  The conference will take place from 9am-noon and 2pm-5pm in McKenna Hall auditorium and is open to the public. 

The conference features Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah of the Princeton University Philosophy Department and Professor Martha C. Nussbaum of the University of Chicago Law School as keynote speakers.

From 9am-10am, there will be a breakfast reception in the atrium of McKenna Hall for all conference attendees.

At 10am, Appiah will give a lecture entitled, “Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers.” Professor Ruth Abbey of the Notre Dame Political Science Department will serve as the discussant for Appiah’s lecture. Professor Alvin B. Tillery, Jr. of the Rutgers University Political Science Department will facilitate audience discussion of Appiah’s lecture and Abbey’s remarks on it.  The morning session of the conference will conclude at 11:45pm.

At 2pm, Nussbaum will give a lecture entitled, “Can There Be a ‘Purified Patriotism’? A Cosmopolitan Argument.”  Professor Paul Weithman of the Notre Dame Philosophy Department will serve as the discussant for Nussbaum’s lecture.  Professor Neil Delaney of the Notre Dame Philosophy Department will facilitate audience discussion of Nussbaum’s lecture and Weithman’s remarks on it. 

From 3:45pm-5pm, there will be a reception for all conference attendees in the McKenna Hall atrium.

Appiah and Nussbaum are world-renowned philosophers and experts on cosmopolitanism.  Cosmopolitanism is a philosophical school of thought that traces its roots to ancient Stoicism as well as the Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant.  Cosmopolitan thinkers are concerned with issues of global peace and justice.  Specifically, cosmopolitan thinkers have asked to what extent human beings have obligations to help, or at least not harm, other living creatures regardless of nationality, gender, race, class, disability, species, or other identity traits.

Appiah’s book Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (W.W. Norton, 2006) won the Council on Foreign Relations’ sixth annual Arthur Ross Book Award for the best book published in the past two years on international relations.

Nussbuam’s lecture is based on her book Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (Belknap, 2006) and her 2002-2003 Tanner Lectures in Human Values.

Faculty and students are encouraged to attend and participate in the conference. Several undergraduate courses at Notre Dame are already linked to the conference, including Professor Ruth Abbey’s “Theories of Human Rights” seminar in Political Science, Professor Eileen Botting’s “Modern Political Thought” course in Political Science and Gender Studies, and Dr. Vassiliki Tsitsopoulou’s “Cultural Differences and Social Change” seminar in Anthropology and Gender Studies.  The first-year class of the Glynn Family Honors Program will also participate in the conference.  


Cosmopolitanism Press Release


Co-sponsors of the conference include the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts and Letters, the Provost’s Distinguished Women’s Lecturer Series, the Glynn Family Honors Program, and the Departments of Philosophy, Political Science, and Africana Studies.