Wednesday, August 21, 2013

UNO Tocqueville Project Unveils Speakers for Fall Philosophy Lecture Series

A leading expert on black women's politics arrives on campus at the University of New Orleans next month to serve as the first speaker for in a new series of philosophy lectures.

Together with Salmon Shomade, assistant professor of political science at UNO, Tulane University Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa V. Harris-Perry will lead a panel discussion entitled "Liberty, Security and The Limits of State Action" at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4 in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 236.

The talk will focus on security, privacy and the appropriate levels of government, said UNO Assistant Professor of Philosophy Chris Surprenant. The talk is free and open to the public and serves as the first in a series of seven lectures to be delivered on campus this fall. The lecture series is designed to promote scholarship and discourse in moral and political thought – and will draw speakers from around the nation.

Surprenant, who is founder and director of the Alexis de Tocqueville Project on Democratic Ideals and Institutions, now known as the Tocqueville Project in Law, Liberty and Morality, started the lecture series last fall. The "Lectures on Liberty" series began with a bang and brought to campus a global finance leader,economists, ethicists and a national expert on the role of incarceration in society.

This fall, first on the list to speak is Harris-Perry, who hosts MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry" and is a professor of political science at Tulane University.

Harris-Perry previously served on the faculties of the University of Chicago and Princeton University and serves as the director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project. She is author of the book Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.

Sister Citizen "argues that persistent harmful stereotypes profoundly shape black women's politics, contribute to policies that treat them unfairly, and make it difficult for black women to assert their rights in the political arena," according to her website.

The nonprofit non-politically affiliated Tocqueville Project, founded last year by Surprenant, leads research on issues in moral and political thought, holds public lectures on topics central to the study of democratic ideals and institutions and organizes reading and discussion groups focusing on issues core to its mission, according to the organization's website.

The fall "Lectures on Liberty" series promises thought-provoking and compelling speakers.

Key issues the Tocqueville Project will address include: "The Welfare State" (More government, or less? What does the Constitution say? What is best for America?), "Why Beauty Matters" (What is beauty? What is its role in art, architecture, and music? Why does it matter?), "Religious Liberty & Public Education" (Who decides what is taught in our public schools, parents or the state?).

Another five speakers will also come to campus for the Philosophy Department's Fall 2013 Seminars in Ethics and Public Affairs.


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